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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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HALL OF FAMEon 22 April 2002
Because years before Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was written, Eva Ibbotson thought up the same story. At platform 13 of King's Cross there's the opening to a magical world of witches, hags, giants and creatures called mistmakers which puff out mist when they hear music, so keeping their island refuge secret. The King and Queen of the island have a little prince born to them, but when his three nannies take him through the gump to enjoy fish-and-chips, he gets kidnapped by the rich and horrible Mrs. Trottle. Nine years must pass before the little Prince can be rescued. But when the rescue party (consisting of a wizard, a gardening witch, and ogre and a little hag, Odge) arrive in our world they find Raymond Trottle a gross spoilt bully. Only the despised odd-job boy, who is as nice as Raymond is nasty, will help them....
A gloriously funny quest with an ending that brings tears to the eyes. We particularly enjoyed the Mrs. Thatcher-style harpies who knock out enemies with their disgusting handbags.
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on 6 April 2002
this was my absolute favourite book when i was younger and i still read it now. i believed totally that there were such things as gumps, doors leading to other worlds, and i always hoped that i would find the one hidden on platform 13 so that i could live on the island and see the mistmakers. i was enthralled as i read the adventures of Odge Gribble and her magical friends who go through the gump to find the long lost prince who was stolen 9 years before. it is a completely original, funny, magical and heartwarming story and i highly recommend it.
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VINE VOICEon 22 April 2004
Years before J K Rowling invented Platform nine and three quarters, IvaI bbotsen created her wonderful book: ‘The Secret of Platform 13,’ about asecret portal beneath a railway station leading to a mystical island kingdom far, far away. Unfortunately, this portal (or gump) only opens briefly once every nine years … and last time it opened the king and queen’s newborn baby was stolen. Now the royal family send four islanders to rescue their son: An elderly wizard, a magical fey, an invisible ogre and a young hag. Unfortunately, the now nine-year-old prince doesn’t want to be rescued.
The writing is a sheer delight, describing the fantastical characters with such charm that they are easy to visualise and become utterly believable.This book is perfect for 8 – 9 year-olds to read on their own – or would make a great bedtime story read nightly to 6 – 7 year-olds. It’s exciting, magical, mysterious … but best of all, there’s nothing too frightening and plenty to make you laugh out loud!
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VINE VOICEon 6 May 2004
Years before J K Rowling invented Platform nine and three quarters, Iva Ibbotsen created her wonderful book: 'The Secret of Platform 13,' about a secret portal beneath a railway station leading to a mystical island kingdom far, far away. Unfortunately, this portal (or gump) only opens briefly once every nine years ... and last time it opened the king and queen's newborn baby was stolen. Now the royal family send four islanders to rescue their son: An elderly wizard, a magical fey, an invisible ogre and a young hag. Unfortunately, the now nine-year-old prince doesn't want to be rescued.
The writing is a sheer delight, describing the fantastical characters with such charm that they are easy to visualise and become utterly believable. This book is perfect for 8 - 9 year-olds to read on their own - or would make a great bedtime story read nightly to 6 - 7 year-olds. It's exciting, magical, mysterious ... but best of all, there's nothing too frightening and plenty to make you laugh out loud!
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on 15 July 2001
A gump is a hidden door opening every 9 years, leading to another world, and there's one on platform 13 at Kings Cross Station...and this one leads to a island full of weird and wacky creatures, determined to rescue their prince stolen 9 years before. But the prince has become a difficult and horrible boy, and the rescue won't be easy! Ogres, wizards, hags and ghosts all play their part in the rescue. A not-to-be missed book, is easy to like because of its' delightful characters, and great storyline! I couldn't put it down, and then couldn't wait to read it again! (So I did!)All children fascinated by Harry Potter will love this too!
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VINE VOICEon 19 March 2006
This book is a great choice for any young reader. Before Potter found his platform to Hogwarts, there existed another hidden platform close by, one that leads to an island teeming with fantastic creatures and magical beings, who for the most part live happily together.
The thing is, the doorway to the island only opens for nine days every nine years, and almost nine years ago, the baby prince was kidnapped by an obnoxious but wealthy woman. The time has finally come again for the portal (or gump) to open, and a SWAT team of magical folk has been assembled for the search and rescue mission.
This relatively simple expedition gets very complicated when they find that the prince doesn't live up to expectations, and isn't willing to return to the island. Fast moving, sometimes funny and always imaginative, you won't want to put this one down, even though you can figure out the plot "twist" very early on.
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on 16 July 2010
the secret of platform 13 was about a baby prince being taken by his 3 nanny's through from the most mystical island to the streets of london, every nine years the gump opens to get through, for nine days.......... the baby prince was stolen by a rich lady and her husband, she really wanted a baby of her own and there was no baby's she could adopt...........
after the gump closed it was a sad nine years and rescuers had been chosen to go and steal back the prince from his fake mother, would it work or would they have to have more help?
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on 14 February 2012
Some say this was the original Harry Potter. (But even if it was the Harry Potter series of reading that we now know, Love and enjoy has given the Children and Adults of the modern world the Joy of starting or re-starting reading books with a good story line).

but after reading This little book you could get the feeling that maybe the Lovely and talented Miss Rowling just maybe may have read this little book when she was a small child, and enjoyed it so much that it buried its self in her Sub-conscience. probably not , but its a nice whimsical thought.

but all i know my neice did seem to have enjoyed it and so did I :-)
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on 12 February 2016
As the blurb suggests the book follows The Secret of Platform 13, this secret being that, on a mystical Island, (we’re never quite given the details where) where humans and magical creatures live harmoniously there is a portal that only opens every nine years, that leads to the London Underground. One day, two nurses are taking the infant Prince out for a walk and are tempted into the portal; letting the Prince out of their sight for a minute the terrible Mrs Trottle snatches the baby for her own. A rescue mission is arranged for nine years later to try to find the lost Prince and bring him back to his home; but is it too late?

So what’s good about this book? I loved the fantastical feel of the writing – this book was actual written before the Harry Potter series and I really feel that this was the book that set me up for my utter adoration for Rowling and her magical books. I loved the inclusion of the feys, witches, trolls, hags, mermaids and wizards; there really is a mismatch of different mystical beings each with their own personalities, special characteristics and additions to the plot-line.

The plot follows the rescue mission lead by a hag named Odge, a giant, a fey and a wizard. For the nine days where the portal is open they try their best to find and bring home the prince but to no avail as there seems to be a confusion as to who is the real prince? Odge here begins to take center stage and she really comes into her own as she struggles to find out who the real prince is. Is it the spoiled son Trottles or the sweet kind-hearted Grandson. Here we see the group of misfits struggle to decide and with time racing they must make a decision.

In terms of the writing style it’s got enough description to be interesting and exciting but not so much to bog the reading speed down too much. The book is marketed at children between the ages of 9-12 and that allows for the book to take a slightly darker tone but it’s an enjoyable and funny tale – think a little like Lemony Snicket but a little lighter. Yes the plot is a bit predictable and looking at the reviews many have panned this book for that, but for a younger reader it doesn’t need to be constantly held a secret, as this could cause the reader to become confused and disengaged, so for me it’s right on the mark.

Overall this is a fun book with an intriguing tale – with strong characters, lots of magic and mystery it is the perfect fantasy book for younger readers to get their teeth into. A little predictable but funny, light and exciting with the use of time – a lovely little fantasy read.
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on 25 November 2001
Its a really good book about 3 charecters who set off on a funny journey to save their prince. The mythical creatures are entertaining, including: ghosts, hags, harpies, and ogers. I would give it 10/10 and first out of a list of good books, 5 + stars
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