Harry Potter: The kids have their say

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The Independent Culture

Daniel Cunningham, 10, from Old Meldrum, near Aberdeen

"I have wanted to read it ever since we finished the fourth one. So far we've read 27 pages. Dad has been reading it to us at night but we do other things in the day ... It is very exciting so far because of the Dementors [soul-sucking guards of Azkaban prison]. Ron Weasley is my favourite because he has the same colour hair as us, ginger. I think Hagrid will be killed off - everyone at school thinks that."

Michael Cunningham, Daniel's twin brother

"I think it is good because it is all new. The Dementors come in at the beginning and Harry is in the wizard world as much as all the other ones. We want to know who dies. I think it will be Hagrid or Dumbledore. I would prefer it if it was Hagrid because I like him least. We were really excited when we went to get the book. We thought if we were not quick enough they might sell out but there were a lot left."

Emily Cooke, eight, from Saffron Walden, Essex

"I have read the first 12 chapters already. I went with my dad at midnight to get it and there was a long queue. I had a wizard's hat on and Dad offered to put on a robe but I said no. I think there has been a lot of excitement about it because it is the first book since the film. I was excited because I didn't know whether it was going to be good or bad. I think it will be the best so far. It jumps straight into strange surprises and there are a lot more funny things happening. I think it is going to be Hermione [who is killed off] because her parents are Muggles. I will be sad because they make a good team."

Leo Kirby, 10, from Holloway, north London

"I had 20p and bought one raffle ticket [at the school fair] and won it. I was just quite surprised. It is very exciting as J K Rowling describes the places very well and it gets into the story very quickly. I don't know who is going to be killed off. I think it might be Hagrid. He lives next to the woods so he might be killed by one of the wolves or spiders."

Reoghan Walsh, nine, from Herne Hill, south London

"I have read up to the fifth chapter and it is different from the other books. I have not been able to put it down. Harry is older and has more responsible problems, not stupid problems. He is really angry and I like the fact he is older.I think Dumbledore will be the one killed off because everyone hates him at the moment."

Jack Walsh, Reoghan's 15-year-old brother.

"I am a bit quicker than my sister and have read to chapter 11 or 12. I did think about reading the last page to tease her but decided against it. This one is excellent. It's a lot more adult as Harry's growing up."