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The Secret of Platform 13 Hardcover – June 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525459294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525459293
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 5.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,580,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This modern-day fairy tale featuring a group of endearing mythical creatures (and some less palatable Brits) follows four dwellers of a magical island journeying to London in search of their kidnapped prince. The appointed rescuers?Cornelius the Wizard (who "could divide twenty-three-thousand-seven-hundred-and-forty-one by six-and-three-quarters in the time it took a cat to sneeze"); Hans, a one-eyed giant ogre; Gurkintrude, an "agricultural" fairy or "growth goddess"; and Odge, a half-grown hag?have only nine days to complete their mission. After that, the hidden door to their world (located on Platform 13 inside a subway station) will be closed for another nine years. It will take readers less time than the quartet of seekers to realize a mix-up in the prince's true identity. The boy with royal blood is not the obnoxious, portly Raymond Trottle, but rather the Trottles' lowly (and lovable) servant, Ben. While predictability hampers the story's suspense, Ibbotson's dry wit, well-drawn characters and the unraveling-to-tying-up of loose threads provide plenty of amusement. This is light weight entertainment for fantasy buffs. Ages 9-12.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6?The door between our world and the enchanted Island is only open for nine days every nine years. Unfortunately, in the last minutes before it closes in 1983, the baby prince of the Island is kidnapped by a nasty woman named Trottle. For nine long years, the king and queen pine and plan for his rescue. Which of the magical creatures of their land should be sent to rescue their lost child? Finally, the team is chosen: Cor, an ancient wizard; Gurkie, a lovable agricultural fairy; Hans, a one-eyed giant; and Odge, a resourceful young hag. Guided by the ghosts who guard our end of the portal (called a gump), the team sets out to rescue little Raymond Trottle. While they are charmed by the kitchen boy, Ben, they are horrified by the piggish Raymond, who does not cooperate with their plans. The plucky group, with the help of Ben and the few magical creatures they find in London, tries to cajole and then, desperate, tries to steal Raymond before the gump closes. Ibbotson's lively fantasy is full of fun with its Dahl-like, but less mean-spirited, humor. Children will enjoy the magical creatures, including the cuddly mistmakers who emit fog when they hear music. The author's odd characters are endearing?poor Odge is something of a failure as a hag, but a rousing success as a friend. Certainly readers won't be surprised to discover that kindly Ben is the lost prince, but they will be delighted by the adventure.?Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

If you love fantasy as I do, you will enjoy this book.
"laurabook"
The majority of the plot twists are fairly predictable, but that doesn't diminish the enjoyment of the book.
Amazon Customer
If you love books such as Harry Potter and/or The Chronicles of Narnia, you'll love this book.
Jesse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By K. Denny on June 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was written years before Harry ever wound up on a publisher's desk, and it should not be viewed in comparison to J.K. Rowling's books. The value of Platform 13 comes in the delightful opportunities for imagination and discussion when an adult and a child read it together. We used this book for a mother/daughter group and had wonderfully creative time addressing points in Ms. Ibbotson's book. What atmosphere is the best place for a gump, and where would be the best place to find a gump in this country? If YOUR child was stolen, who would you send to rescue him or her - Odge and her friends or the harpies? (Moms had a surprising answer for this one.) Is it true that "when children behave badly it is nearly always the fault of those who bring them up"? Other quotes that sparked spirited debate included, "when you have worked and worked for something, it is almost impossible to believe that you can fail", and "it doesn't matter what your home is like - it's that it's yours that matters". This is an ingeniously creative fantasy for pre-teens, and for those adults who can still see magic in the art of storytelling. If you open your mind and your imagination you'll love this book for what it offers, and not find it necessary to make comparisons. Oh yes, if you're all grown up, don't forget to check out the harpie with a handbag, who bears a curious resemblance to a former prime minister...
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sheila L. Beaumont VINE VOICE on August 13, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Platform 13 of King's Cross Railway Station has a doorway that leads to a magical island harmoniously inhabited by a diverse assortment of beings, including humans, hags, feys, mermaids, and furry little creatures called mistmakers. The kingdom's prince was kidnapped as an infant during a visit to London. Nine years later, when the portal between worlds reopens, four rescuers -- Cornelius, an elderly wizard who used to be a university professor in our world; Odge, a young and remarkably unhaglike hag; Gurkintrude, a fey who is sort of a goddess of agricultural plenty; and Hans, a kindly one-eyed ogre from the Alps who yodels and tends goats -- are sent by the king and queen to bring him home. The story is full of eccentric characters, mostly likable, a few definitely not: sundry ghosts who help the rescuers; Melisande, a water nymph who wants it known that she has feet and is not a mermaid; the hilariously obnoxious Mrs. Trottle and her equally unpleasant son; some horrifically amusing and ghastly harpies who have permanent waves and carry handbags; and Ben, a delightful kitchen boy of unknown parentage. The whole thing is very humorous, lively and imaginative, and fans of Diana Wynne Jones and J.K. Rowling most likely will enjoy it immensely. Also well worth reading are Ms. Ibbotson's extremely funny ghost books, obtainable in British paperback editions.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Connor Shivers on October 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book has plenty of good, solid fantasy. It mainly takes place on a magical island which you can access for nine days every nine years through a portal in an abandoned train station(the portal is called a gump,for future reference). The island is ruled by a King and Queen, who have a son a while into their reign. Unfortunately, the Prince's nannies decide to take him to the portal so they can glimpse the outside world they came from. They go out into the nearby city after a fish and chips smell comes that reminds them of their childhood. While outside, the child is kidnapped, which the nannies don't discover until just as the gump is closing. Nine years later, a rescue party is sent to bring back the Prince quickly, the members being a wizard, a giant(who is made invisible for security purposes), and a fey, a human who has a magical knack for growing plants. At the last minute, a hag is allowed to go as well. I've left out a lot, but the plot is so complex and interesting that you'll have to read the book yourself. Just for the record, though, this is definitely one of my Top Ten Favorite Books.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
A lot of the reviews of this book say that it's just a Harry Potter wannabe. NEWSFLASH!!!! This book came out 3 YEARS BEFORE SORCERER'S STONE!!!!! Check the copyright dates!! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out in 1997, while Island of the Aunts came out in 1994. If anyone was copying anyone else, it was J.K. Rowling copying Eva Ibbotson. This is a wonderful book, by the way.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Julia Cain on May 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Well, I'm eighteen years old, and I still was enthralled by this book. It moves quickly, and the action is good. I figured out the ending well before the end of the book, but then, I'm six years older than the top of the suggested reading ages. Regarding it being compared to Harry Potter.....I love Harry, and would never insult the Potter books, but this one is less scary. I mean, in Harry Potter, there's he-who-cannot-be-named, and the dementors and such, whereas here, the scariest thing is a woman with some REALLY sharp knitting needles. Neither book is better than the other. They are different, but both fabulous...Read them BOTH!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Anyone who read Harry Potter should love the secret of Platform 13. It takes place in England. To be more specific, it takes place in London. The book is about a secret island hidden behind a gump, a secret door that only opens for nine days every nine years. There are many wild creatures on the Island, along with ordinary humans. The main charactors are an ogre named Hans, an old Wizard named Cor(short for Cornelius), a fey named Gurkie, a hag named Odge, and Ben, a regular human. Hans, Cor, Gurkie and Odge set off to find the long lost son of the King and Queen. To find out what happens next, you'll have to read The Secret of Platform 13. I really liked this book
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