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HH pictures1Author: Eva Ibbotson |
Release Date: June 12th, 2001|
Publisher: Puffin Books
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery| Pages: 231

Way back in January, I resolved to re-read some of my favorite MG classics. Almost 8 months into the year, and I have now read one.
This is why I never make New Year’s resolutions.
However, I am so excited I re-read this book because I had forgotten how great it was! And, since I’m taking an MG Lit class this Fall, I think I might have found a way to re-read all my favs!

I picked a copy of this book off of my shelf. I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.


Every nine years for nine days, a forgotten door on a train station platform opens to a magical kingdom. The island is only accessible to humans for a short time, and those willing to see it–but in those nine days, a lot can go wrong too.
When Mrs. Trottle kidnaps the prince of the Island, it’s up to a mismatched crew to save him. But an ogre, fey, giant, and wizard in London? The world is up for a surprise!

5 Reasons Why This Book is Marvelous!

  1. It’s a fantasy!  Crazy creatures, magic, fairies, and ogres all traipsing around in the real world! I love fantasy–I’m pretty sure it’s the one genre I never get tired of talking about. And though Narnia is the world that brought me to love fantasy, I’m pretty sure this story helped me along when I was a kid. There’s just something of escape in fantasy that makes me giddy inside, and I love it when stories like The Secret of Platform 13 feature fantastical elements in the real world. It makes my imagination that much more realistic!
  2. For an MG read, this is a quick one. I read it in the course of two days, just because I was busy–but when I sat down to read I didn’t want to stop! But beyond being a quick read, I think it’s a great story for a read-aloud. Looking for a good bedtime story with adventure and chapters that leave you hanging overnight? This is definitely it! It’s one of those stories that can be read before bedtime because nightmares will not insure! And I feel like it will encourage imaginations, and story-filled dreams for kids.
  3. I almost, almost, feel like this is a foreshadowing to Harry Potter–only in the fact that there is a secret train platform at King’s Cross that lets humans escape to a magical world! I think, actually, that idea was sort of shoved in Rowling’s face as plagiarism when HP was published, but Ibbotson said of the situation that “we all borrow from each other as writers.” And I think that’s true. Sure, there are similarities between stories–but for one fabulous book to borrow an idea from another, I guess I don’t see it as true plagiarism because the worlds and platforms ARE different, but instead flattery and inspiration. And, for an imaginative kid, it can help connect the two worlds and make play time that much more fun!
  4. Underneath the fantasy story, there are so many fabulous lessons in this book. Several of the characters go through personal conflicts, and learning about who they really are inside. I think discovering ourselves though characters is sometimes the best way for readers to deal with their own inner conflicts. Even if some of the characters, such as Odge the Hag, are imaginary in essence, they are relate-able. Both her and Ben are fabulous kids–they struggle but they overcome their struggles. Ibbotson infuses human feelings and conflict in them in a way that readers will not only imagine themselves as fantastical people, but work through their own issues as the characters discover who they truly are.
  5. As a re-read, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the story. I remember loving it as a kid, but as an older fantasy story, I wondered if I would be disappointed because it wasn’t Harry Potter or other fantastical stories of today. But really, The Secret of Platform 13 reminded me of why I love fantasy. The imagination–the world building– the fantastical elements–and magic–are all things I loved as a kid and imagined in my own world. This story brought me back to my childhood, and encourages me to still create worlds. Perhaps someday, I’ll be referencing Ms. Ibbotson as my inspiration. Because without her world and her secret platform, I wouldn’t be the fantasy lover I am today.

must-readBook Talk: Have you ever read The Secret of Platform 13? If so, what do you think about it? What are some of your other favorite MG fantasy novels?

Hopeful reading!