Sunday, August 5, 2012

Eva Ibbotson...An Inspiration to Children to Wander Away in Airports and Train Stations Looking for Magical Worlds with Cute Animals

So I was just sitting around tonight when I realized just how absolutely terrible I have been about actually doing anything with this blog. I did not promise anybody intrigue and awesomeness but I did promise that I am about the most absent-minded person in the world who will forget to post or that she even started a blog. However, I do feel like I have some excuse as I just moved the small portion of my life that wasn't already in Texas as well as my lovely little car halfway across the country from Virginia to Texas. To those of you who haven't taken a roadtrip of these epic proportions, it is not an easy thing to do especially when you have a comforter sitting in your backseat which blocks off the entirety of your passenger side window. To those of you who have done a roadtrip of that length (1800 miles) or more (think coast to coast)- I salute you. Unless there is a zombie apocalypse or Heath gets a job offer we absolutely can't refuse somewhere far far away (i.e. outside of Texas), my ass, pardon my french, will not do that trip again for anything other than fun. You know, the kind of fun where one does a road trip to tour the country. I will do this so long as I have access to central heating and air conditioning while sleeping and electricity. These are the ways to bribe me on a road trip. The promise of a tent and the earth...I swear to you a hotel/house/inn/anything with four walls, indoor plumbing, and a floor are better- at least to me.
But I shall stop my rambling here. I have no delusions that my babbling is interesting to anybody besides me, Heath (who finds it more amusing than anything else), and my parents and grandparents who don't seem to care that I tend to talk in circles and are pretty much excited in general that their far-away (grand) daughter has remembered the she does indeed have a phone and, why yes, their phones numbers are indeed in that phone. But I, like many before me, want to use this as a forum for my own book, movies, music reviews with the occasional recipe thrown in for a different taste. So think of this really as a kind of combination of the essence of Amazon reviews with some Julie/Julia Project chucked in for laughs. However, I do dessert- I cannot cook to save mine or Heath's life but I can bake us all into a sugar-induced coma...People say write what you know.
Today's review shall be a kind of tester. It's by one of my favourite authors who I think is just fantastic. She's  no Lewis Carroll (whose absolutely wonderful works are the basis of this blog's name) and no J.K. Rowling (I will save that rambling lovefest for another day because I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan) or any other number of genre-changing or classical authors, she is spunky and fun. Although I am 22 years old, I still love a good children's book. The book for today is The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson. I read this book when I was 10, after it had been on the market for five years, and have read it several times since. A basic summary of the book (minus spoilers, I promise) is that, on Platform 13, there is a gump. A gump as defined by is a foolish and stupid person. This is not that type of gump. It is instead an opening, a type of portal, between regular London and a magical Island that opens once every nine years. On this Island, there is a royal family which has hired three identical nursemaids to take care of the tiny little Prince. Now, these nursemaids came from regular London years back and wanted to see just a peek of regular London through the gump. After much pleading, the Queen relents. They get to the gump and then, in an incredible example of poor judgement, go into regular London to get fish and chips, the oh so tasty food of their youth. Two of the sisters go in; one remains with the Prince on a bench outside of the shop. She falls asleep and a foul lady named Mrs. Trottle who is rich and wants a baby steals the little Prince. Nine years later, a rescue team of a gentle giant, a batty fey, a wizard who has a patch of green hair, and a young hag descend upon regular London to rescue the missing Prince. They go to the residence of the Trottles and find a perfectly nice young man named Ben in the garden. Minutes later, a screech breaks the peaceful early morning and they learn that this nice young man they assumed was the Prince is not; instead the Prince is a spoiled, chunky little brat named Raymond. And here I stop because to continue is to spoil and all I really want to do is entice.
This book is just so much fun. It has great character development- by the end of that book, you love the rescue team, you feel for the poor King and Queen, and you sincerely dislike the Trottles. It also has been compared to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in that the portal to another magical place is King's Cross Station. This comparison, however, I feel is completely unnecessary because it's like comparing apples and oranges. Eva Ibbotson created a world which, to be perfectly honest, I wish I could explore in real life. It's just such a beautiful sounding world that I feel it would be a better vacation spot than, say, Bora Bora. I mean, I can imagine the question of what the next day would be like- "do you want to go play with the mistmakers or go to see the Harpies and observe them from far, far away?" Just way too cool. From the start, you will be completely engaged with this book- it's clever and quirky and, by the end, you will want to read every single one of Eva Ibbotson's books in a single sitting (ps, she has far more than just this one). Also fans of Harry Potter and Diana Wynne Jones- you will love this book.
I do believe that completes my very first book review- which to be perfectly honest is more of a summary/review than I had anticipated. Also a lot longer than I had expected- but this is what happens when I'm not given word limits. Oops. Hope you enjoyed the sum-view and want to run out and read this very cute, very imaginative book. In the meantime, Harley Quinn, over and out.