Believathon 2 – Beyond Platform 13

Having set off from the Poacher’s Pocket with Lemony Snicket’s Bad Beginning and travelled along the Yellow Brick Road with Diana Wynne-Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, then through the Hundred Acre Wood with Polly Ho-Yen‘s The Boy in the Tower, I reached The Brolly Rail on which I read Eva Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13.

I left The Brolly Rail at the final destination on my quest – The Book-Keeper’s Stronghold where I needed to read the next book in a series. Since I’d just finished The Secret of Platform 13 and had Sibeal Pounder’s follow up on my tbr shelf, I plumped for that.

Beyond Platform 13 by Sibeal Pounder, based on The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson, illustrated by Beatriz Castro

Sibeal Pounder has written this sequel to Eva Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13, which has also been re-released with matching cover and illustrations from Beatriz Castro.

Before we get into the book, let me say that Sibeal has done an absolutely fantastic job in keeping the feel, tone and voice of the original book. It’s just as lively, fast-paced and fun as the first.

With even more weird and wonderful creatures – from pearly mermaids and ghost rats to swamp and flower fairies to the mist-makers, hags and harpies – this book has it all! From the delightful to the disgusting, there’s a world of imaginative beings and happenings to immerse yourself in.

We return to The Island (the kids are judt calling it Mist these days) to find the harpies have overthrown the monarchy and are banishing almost all other creatures, sending them back through The Gump (a portal to our world).

This time it’s not the Gump on platform 13 that’s opened but one in Vienna and we see Lina – a firm believer in magic – swept off to save the day by Odge Gribble who has mistaken her for the Mistmaker Master.

With only a couple if days before the Gump closes, can Odge, Lina, Prince Ben and their friends defeat the harpies and save the island?

As with the original story, this is a quick moving, madcap caper full of misunderstandings, mix ups, double crossings and lucky escapes. There are lots of laughs, likeable characters and the message about needing diversity and equality is not lost either.

Beatriz Castro’s expressive illustrations suit the text brilliantly, with a lightness of touch and a helping of humour they are perfectly matched.

An enjoyable book that early MG readers will love, I will be recommending both the original and this fitting sequel enthusiastically when I return to work.

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