The detractions, in my opinion, are twofold. One the one hand, it's a story where a group of children get summoned to a school for wizards and an owl is a prominent character. I couldn't help but compare it immediately to Harry Potter. However, because this is aimed at a younger age group than the Harry Potter audience, perhaps this could dovetail nicely as a gateway to the HP series. The other aspect of this story that kept me from giving it a five star is that each character felt very stereotyped. The blonde girl is the beautiful, fashion-conscious brat until she learns her lesson. The less beautiful, boyish dressing brunette is the gamer girl. The boy in glasses is the smart nerd. And the handsome boy is the jock. In a book aimed at children, I would've appreciated seeing more diversity represented in both the ethnicities and the roles.
I did enjoy the story. I liked the action and the character arcs. If I chose to share this with my children, I would simply have a discussion with them about the lack of diversity and the stereotypes and use it as a teaching tool.