Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Genre: MG fantasy
Length: 247 pages
Published by: Feiwel and Friends
Source: bought it!
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.
This is going to be a mini-review because aaaahhhhh essays and assessments and exams, oh my!
But seriously. This book is awesome. I know exactly the gif to use for it.
Why thank you, Emma.
I don’t read much MG, even though I absolutely love it. This is because 1) YA is amazing enough and 2) actually, I don’t have a second reason. I should read more MG!
This is middle grade at its most magical. It’s detailed and has a rich, vivid setting. The characters are fantastically original, but reminiscent of childhood favourites like Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz.
I’ll give you some examples.
The Green Wind – the character who spirits September away from her home.
September – our main character. She’s not your typical brave little lass; she cries frequently and is pretty ordinary, but she’s loyal towards her new friends. There are a bunch of situations where she could have just quit, but she decided to carry on.
A-Through-L, a Wyvern – not a dragon, a Wyvern. There are subtle differences, you see. A-Through-L is part-library, and knows everything there is to know, but only if it begins with the letters A-Through-L. THIS IS SO IMAGINATIVE AND AWESOME I LOVE IT.
The narrator – the narrator pops in from time to time and tells us what’s going on. The narrator is very helpful, actually.
The imagination in this book is incredible – so incredible I wish I had written it myself! It also has a really nice real-world application, which isn’t usual in these kinds of fairytales. I loved, too, that while Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz focus on characters wanting to get home, September wants to stay in Fairyland.
I think this might have been a five-star read if I was in a different mood. I still loved every bit of it, and am looking forward to reading the sequels – and probably re-reading this one once I have more time to enjoy it!
Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties