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Secret of Platform 13 / Island of the Aunts

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  10,819 Ratings  ·  656 Reviews
A forgotten door on an abandoned railway platform is the entrance to a magical kingdom--an island where humans live happily with feys, mermaids, ogres, and other wonderful creatures. Carefully hidden from the world, the Island is only accessible when the door opens for nine days every nine years. A lot can go wrong in nine days. When the beastly Mrs. Trottle kidnaps the pr ...more
Paperback, 511 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Puffin (first published January 1st 1994)
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(showing 1-30)
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Cait • A Page with a View
Oh, wow. This was published before Harry Potter... but tell me if some of these plot elements sound vaguely familiar:

There's a passage under Platform 13 at King's Cross station in London that opens for a short time every 9 years. It leads to the mist-shrouded island of Avalon where all sorts of magical creatures live. Their baby prince is taken through the passage and kidnapped by a rich, horrid woman who just wants a baby. The boy is lost until the passage opens again 9 years later.

An ogre, a f
...more
Ferdy
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-book
A really fun, simple and magical read. It reminded me a lot of Harry Potter, what with platform 13 being like platform 9 and 3/4's, and Raymond/Ben were just like Dudley/Harry, and Mrs Trottle was sort of like Mrs Dursley.
Carly Green
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This book has magic flowing throughout every word- I can't stress enough how much I love it. I still have the old copy from when I was very small, with my name shakily written on the inside cover. When we were asked at school what we thought heaven would be like, I simply read out Ibbotson's description of 'the island', an island with curving beaches, mermaids, hags and the all-important mistmakers. It manages to include everything a child would need to know about being good and kind, about how ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
One of my kids brought this book home from the school library several years ago and (true to form) I swiped it when they were done and read it.* I think younger Harry Potter fans would enjoy this book. As in the HP books, there's a platform at London's Kings Cross Station that leads to a different, magical world.** This magical porthole opens only once every nine years, for a nine-day period. Nine years ago, the baby prince of this magical land was kidnapped while visiting our world. And now tha ...more
Cassandra
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vom Bahnsteig 13, des bekannten Bahnhofs Kings Cross, führt alle neun Jahre ein Weg zu der Insel Gügel. Es ist ein wundervolles Land angefüllt mit Nixen, Hexen, Riesen und anderen Wesen, die uns sonst nur in Märchen und Fantasybüchern begegnen. Regiert wird die Insel von einem liebenswerten Königspaar, dass nach Jahren ein kleiner Prinz geboren wird. Leider währt die Freude nicht lange, da der Prinz in London entführt wird und der Zugang zum Gügel sich erst in neun Jahren wieder öffnet...

Diese G
...more
Arielle Walker
I haven't read this since I was very, very small, and an adult re-read didn't disappoint. I can definitely see moments referenced in Harry Potter - the bratty, spoiled child in a delicious incident with a Knickerbocker Glory, to say the least - but as the Ibbotson herself has said she would "like to shake [J.K Rowling] by the hand. I think we all borrow from each other as writers." I can hardly take umbrage. Both books are fantastic, both authors equally so.
Mo
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Meredith
I have a 7 year old granddaughter who is a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I think she would love this book. She (Meredith) has a birthday next month, and this will definately be one of her gifts.

Note: The parallels between The Secret of Platform 13 and Harry Potter are inescapable. This book actually was published 3 years before the first Harry Potter book. I appreciate the fact that it is not nearly as dark as the Harry Potter series.
Jess
Nov 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Dahl, Rowling
Shelves: juv, fantasy
Chapter book - fantasy
For grades 2-7

An ogre, a wizard, a fey and a hag are sent to our world to rescue a young prince who was stolen as a baby in this humorous, low-fantasy adventure.

Every nine years, for nine days, a doorway is open between our world and the Island, which is inhabited by all manner of fantastical creatures; when four of these magical people come through to rescue their prince, the mix-ups and adventure that ensue are more than enough to keep any young fantasy fan entertained. I
...more
LH Johnson
Oh, oh, oh, my love for Eva Ibbotson utterly continues.

The Secret of Platform 13 is furiously magical and madly inventive. It's the story of a hidden island, wrapped away from the 'everyday' by magic and mists (mists made, fyi, by the *most* amazing creation ever - mistmakers, seal-like creatures who produce mist every time they hear beautiful music). The island is accessible through a secret door on Platform 13, Kings Cross which opens briefly every nine years.

The island is desperately missin
...more
Meaghan
These are third grade student reviews!

MAEVE
This surprisingly twisty turny tale is about a fey, a magnificent wizard, a magical garden lady, and last, a floating eyeball (or an Ogre if you would be so kind.) They all live on an island in peace until someone no one knows steels the baby prince and everyone is dreadfully sad. This is when the story really begins…
No one except the rescuers know what’s in the world of London. The King and Queen make the rescuers set out to find their long lost son. O
...more
Jori Richardson
I was browsing through a thrift store, and when I saw this short little children's book, I decided to read it right on the spot.
I remember seeing this book everywhere when I was a younger teenager, but for some reason I never ended up reading it. It was probably during the years that I refused to read anything but historical fiction and classics (which, I must admit, still sounds loosely similar to how things are today).

But anyways.

In "The Secret of Platform 13," there is an Island somewhere (no
...more
Namratha
My foray into the crazy world of Eva Ibbotson continues!

Platform 13 at London Station has remained shut since a very long time. But any attempts to make renovations always....always get botched up. The reason being that Platform 13 hides a "gump" : an opening to a secret, utopian island. It is a blissful place, ruled by a well-loved King and Queen and plays home to all kinds of humans, animals and magical creatures. However the gump opens once in nine years for nine hours only. So anyone who wan
...more
Jess Hancock
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My year 4 bookclub chose this as their second read.
To be honest when I first started reading I didn't know how on earth I was going to help them draw anything from the story. It was slow starting, a little confusing, slightly vague, but then suddenly the pace changes and it turns into a wonderful little mystical adventure story.
I did enjoy the story and liked that I could draw references to books and movies such as; Harry Potter, Prince Caspian, flushed Away and Janes Bond.
At book club, the t
...more
Kristin
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Wow...I'll never look at knitting needles the same way again. Thanks a lot, Soft Parts Doreen.

Seriously, though, why isn't this book a well-known classic? It was so charming and funny and addicting. It was like Roald Dahl with a bit of Narnia and Harry Potter thrown in. I loved the writing style, the characters, the plot, everything! What is it with the British and their children's books? They write kids' classics better than anyone else.

Every time I read a new middle grade, I'm hoping that it
...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
This isn't the best of Eva Ibbotson's books, but is still a relatively charming story about magical creatures from another world searching for a lost prince in our world. I like most of Ibbotson's books. My only issue with her writing is that every single one of her books includes some problem involving bratty children, and this book is no exception. If you've read some of her better books, such as Which Witch? and Island of the Aunts, this one probably won't impress you as much.
Deshana Desai
I was expecting loads from this book. It is one of those books recommended as a relief to those going through severe Harry Potter withdrawal. I expected magic and being left in wonder and amazement (the effect magic usually has on a reader). But it thoroughly failed to meet expectations. The magical gump, caves, mermaids, a ragtag group of individuals for the most important quest, 'stealing' a baby; all these were examples of elements that didn't work.

The world building was too cautious - it fe
...more
Ida Jia
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is full of humor and heart. It is written in a whimsical tone not unlike that of Howl's Moving Castle, but this book is written for a younger group of readers. The characters are somewhat archetypal, but they are still very intriguing, and I adored Odge and Ben. I wish the island was explored more in the story, because I would love to travel there through the gump, experience its mythological wonders, and befriend the kind and humble islanders. I want to meet the mistmakers especially ...more
Jane Potter
I remember loving this novel when I was a kid. It was one of the first fantasy novels I ever read. And I was excited to reread it.

The story is easy to get into and fun to read. I love the simplicity of the plot and the fun fantasy elements in the characters and their interactions. it's pretty easy to figure out where the story is going but that wasn't a surprise for a children's novel.

Ben is so easy to love and root for. Raymond was so ridiculous I had to laugh at him over and over. And I love
...more
vaugnfreech
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw a copy of this at Booksale some years ago. The title is catchy enough: The Secret of Platform 13. Which sounds like, Platform 9 3/4. Harry Potter rip off? I didn't mind.

Then I saw a bargain copy lately, back to back books by Eva Ibbotson for only 55 Php. Cool enough. Two books: The Secret of Platform 13 and Island of the Aunts. I started reading The Secret of Platform 13 as soon as possible. I was inspired when I saw the publishing year: 1994. Harry Potter was first published 1997. So the
...more
Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
Read this years ago and loved it and just now re-read it for a grad class and loved it still.

Eva Ibbotson introduces her readers to an island that is essentially a sanctuary for those that have gotten tired of the busy, stinking reality of real life. There are banshees, giants, warlocks, nymphs--anything you could ever possibly think of being in any kind of fairy tale you have ever read. The Island can be gotten to from the normal human world every nine years through special mounds called "gumps
...more
TRAM School
This book is really good! I do not want to spoil this book, but I'll tell two of the main characters- Cornelius and Raymond Trottle. This book is not realistic - because there are wizards and magical creatures in it - but it is fun to read. I would suggest this book for young readers ages like 5,6,7- so on.

M (8yrs)
Amalie
There’s a Gump in every country, a special grassy mound with a hidden door which leads to a magical world. In Great Britain, this place is hidden under the platform 13 at Kings Cross Station, opened once every nine years and guarded by the Ghosts of the Gump.

The three nurses of the new-born Prince of the land: Violet, Lily and Rose step into the other side taking the baby with them to visit their old world. During this short visit Mrs. Trottle, a rich wicked lady steals the Prince and disappear
...more
Laurel S
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson is a book about a motley crew of rescuers who find that their mission to save their prince will not be so easy after all. The first chapter is about a prince that was born on a magic island hidden in mist. In a secret cove there is this kind of door called a "gump" that opens for a short time before closing again for 9 years. The little prince is lost on the other side of the gump in London and is stuck there for 9 years. The next time the gump opens the ...more
Brianna Mathes
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
In a magical kingdom, a King and Queen are blessed with a baby. They decide they have too many things to do and hire 3 nanny's. The nanny's start to get homesick and ask to take the baby to platform 13 and go back to where they grew up, London, England.The King and Queen finally aprove of their idea. While the nanny's are in london getting fish and chips, someone snatches the baby. The nanny's travel back to the kingdom with the bad news. The King and Queen and everyone in the kingdom became de ...more
Lee Nespor
Definitely some similarities to Harry Potter - certain fundamental elements are there, the biggest being Kings Cross Platform 13, but where as Ibbotson handles the passage to magic in a CS Lewis manner (cloakroom doorway into another world), Rowling places it all firmly within our world and keeps it there. There is also the main character similarity - poor orphan boy living with mean adults who ignore him while adoring their spoiled son. Definitely rings some bells, but again not unique. You cou ...more
Lisa
On the other side of Platform 13 in London, lies a magical world, full of magical creatures and ruled by a wonderful king and queen. When they have their first baby, the baby's three nannies take the baby with them on the other side - they were homesick for London, and just wanted to take a peak at home. While they are there, the baby is stolen, and they are forced to return with the terrible news. But the entrance to this magical land is only open every nine years for only nine days.

With the e
...more
Olivia
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was very thrilling and I really enjoyed it!

It's about this secret island that nobody in the human world knows about. There are lots of different magical creatures and people and they are ruled over the human king and queen. The queen has a beautiful baby and has three nannies to look after him. The nannies take him to the human world and the prince gets kidnapped.
Years pass until the tunnel between both world opens. Four very different people - chose by the king and queen - who live
...more
Johnny Bennett
Eva Ibbotson writes this tale about The Secret of Platform 13. This fairly well written novel follows rescuers through a portal between the magical world and the real world in an attempt to retrieve a stolen child.
This book fails for two primary reasons, while being well written, it somehow wasn't engaging. There is no concern for if the characters live or die. Do they succeed or not? Doesn't matter. Couldn't care less. Problem number two was predictability. From the introduction of a character
...more
Jenny
Dec 21, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Although I figured out the ending near the beginning, I still really enjoyed this book by Ibbotson. It's a fun fantasy about a magical Island. People can only travel to/from this island once every nine years when a door opens on Platform 13 of the subway station in London. And nine years before, the prince's nannie had taken him through the door to buy some fish and chips and he was kidnapped. The king and queen have been waiting nine long years to send a team to rescue him, but when the team me ...more
Geneva
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't be sure if I read this as a child or not. It's certainly very much the sort of book I read as a child, and the title was very familiar, but the story didn't ring any bells. In any case, if I didn't read this when I was young, I should have, because it's exactly the sort of book I would have loved. It's got magic, adventure, and, best of all, the kid doesn't start whining about wanting to go back to the real world as soon as he gets into the world of magic. This book was great and if I ha ...more
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Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy.

Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, Ibbotson's family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in edu
...more
More about Eva Ibbotson...

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“It's true that adventures are good for people even when they are very young. Adventures can get in a person's blood even if he doesn't remember having them. ” 1649 likes
“Though there were so many unusual creatures on the Island, the royal family was entirely human and always had been. They were royal in the proper sense – not greedy, not covered in jewels, but brave and fair. They saw themselves as servants of the people which is how all good rulers should think of themselves, but often don’t.” 0 likes
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