I confess I did not rate "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" very highly when I first read it some years ago in the original. I thought Rowling's writing, though inventive, rather disappointingly derivative, and I still find her style irritating at times. I reminded myself that this was probably to be expected from a book aimed primarily at children, and did not bother with the subsequent books, though I have enjoyed the films.
Now, years later, having been pestered and bullied into reading "Half Blood Prince" by my children. I find that, as they had been saying, JKR's writing has become, as one might expect, rather darker, rather more adult, and frankly quite grippingly exciting. I wanted to read all the books, but still needed a challenge to keep me engrossed.
Harrius Potter is exactly what the doctor ordered. My education in Latin finished at O-Level (for those non-English readers that's an OWL) some twenty-eight (gasp!) years ago, but because of my amazing teacher (thank you Mrs. Lear!) I had a deep love for the language, and have always found it very useful in understanding English, as a step-up to the comprehension of other Indo-European languages, and of course indispensable for a career in the medical world.
There are those who would say, it seems, that Peter Needham's translation is not "good Latin" or is too simple. I am unqualified to comment on the first observation, but as to the second, I'm finding it an absolute delight. It's not too easy for me, at least, and not over-difficult, however it is challenging enough for me to feel that I'm stretching myself and getting all those little grey cells buzzing. I'm thoroughly enjoying the book in a way that I did not enjoy it when reading it in English.
I would suggest that for any student of Latin at a moderately elementary level (years three to five, perhaps?) reading this translation would be valuable and rewarding. I've awarded it only four stars because I would have REALLY appreciated a glossary and perhaps an introduction from Peter Needham.
I imagine that there might be a few other rather people out there like me with rusty Latin whose idea of a fun way to pass a half-term holiday is translating "Harrius Potter et et Philosophi Lapis" back into English, as I have. My children think I am certifiably insane, but sunt sua quique vitia, et dies diem docet, if you'll pardon the cliche.