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HARRY POTTER: Book hits shelves, counters at 12:01 a.m. Saturday

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Seven-year-old Ryan Wilson appeared spellbound watching Paul Esterline, a professional magician, link two metal rings together.

"It's better than watching the rain fall," said Wilson, one of several participants in a Harry Potter Party at the McDonough Public Library on Wednesday.

Wilson is excited about the back-to-back releases of the latest Harry Potter book and film. He says he can't wait to see the new Harry Potter movie. So far, he has seen all the other Harry Potter movies.

This weekend, he may get to read his first Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." It will be released nationwide at 12:01 a.m., Saturday.

In the last several weeks, the book's release has created a worldwide buzz among Harry Potter fans. It is the seventh and, reportedly, the last book in the Harry Potter series.

Over the years, the books have garnered a fan base of millions of children and adults alike. Parent, Kathy Pillatzki, of Hampton, says she recently saw the latest film, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and enjoyed it.

"I've enjoyed the movies, because they are true to the books," said Pillatzki, who has ,so far, read every book in the series. "I think it's great to see kids this excited about a book."

She plans to attend the book release party at the Books-A-Million bookstore, located at 774 Jonesboro Road in McDonough. The festivities will begin at 9 p.m., and continue through midnight today.

Pillatzki says she will attend with her two daughters, 11 and 16. She says her eldest, who was about 10 years old at the time the first book became popular, has not yet grown out of the Harry Potter series.

"I think they're very creative and challenge children's reading skills," Pillatzki said. "We read it aloud at home at night. We read for entertainment instead of watching T.V."

In Clayton County, the Barnes & Noble Bookstore will host a book release party beginning at 6 p.m., today. Then, customers can register for wristbands that represent the order in which they can purchase their books. The party will continue until midnight.

The bookstore, located at 1939 Mt. Zion Road in Morrow, received several phone calls Wednesday from interested customers, said Barbara Bird, communication relations manager for Barnes & Noble bookseller.

"It's a lot of people," Bird said.