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CriticasGrade 4-6–Beyond the busy streets of London lies a hidden world, an island in which witches, trolls, cyclopes, and wizards live together harmoniously under the rule of a noble king and queen. Only those who are familiar with its gateway, a platform in a London train station, may enter or leave this island. It opens every nine years for nine days, and anyone who wishes to cross it, from either world, is welcome. The joyous birth of a new prince coincides with the opening of the gateway. When the queen gives her permission for three servants to return to London with the prince for a few days, the baby is stolen. The queen and the rest of the island grieve his loss and must wait for nine years before they can reenter London. When the porthole does open once again, a curious rescue party is organized to return the prince to his homeland. This is an exciting story with a magical setting. Any book with a magic passageway is sure to pique the interest of the readers in this age group. Ibbotson's descriptive words make the unique characters come to life, especially young Odge, the witch who turns out to be the heroine. An excellent fantasy, filled with rich content and a fabulous story line.
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—I. Mirthala Garza, Blackshear Elementary, Austin, TX