Monday, May 27, 2013

I've been hearing about "The Secret of Platform 13," by Eva Ibbotson, for years, so this weekend, I finally decided to give it a try. This book is set both in London and on an enchanted island. The two are connected by a secret passage that only opens every 9 years. The book has a typical fairy tale-like beginning: the good-hearted king and queen long to have a child, and finally, the queen gives birth to a sweet-tempered baby boy. However, on an excursion to London with his nursemaids, the boy is stolen by an evil, rich woman who is determined to pass him off as her own baby. As the portal between the Island and London has shut, the king and queen must wait 9 long years to see their child again.

The meat of the story involves the somewhat rag-tag group of rescuers that the king and queen send to bring back their son: a one-eyed ogre, a young hag, an elderly wizard, and a fey. They do manage to find the Prince, now named Raymond, but unfortunately, he is horribly spoiled and rude. Here is one of my favorite passages, which reminds me of Mrs. Dursley and Dudley from Harry Potter. =)

"Raymond continued to scream.

'Tell Mama; tell your Mummy, my pinkyboo,' begged Mrs. Trottle.

'I've got a pain in my tummy,' yelled Raymond. 'I'm ill.'

Mrs. Trottle pulled back the covers on Raymond's huge bed with its padded headboard and the built-in switches for his television set, his two computers, and his electric trains.
'Where does it hurt, my pettikins? Which bit?'

'Everywhere,' screeched Raymond. 'All over!'

Since Raymond had eaten an entire box of chocolates the night before, this was not suprising, but Mrs. Trottle looked worried."

I definitely enjoyed this story, and recommend it to all fantasy book lovers!

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