The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (say that five times fast)

Title: the girl who circumnavigatedThe 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



11 thoughts on “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (say that five times fast)

  1. I won this! I’m excited to read it, but because I own it and it’s not an ARC with like a due date, or a library book, it always gets pushed to the bottom of my pile. I need to fix that!! I like really magical books and goodness knows I need tips. I’m trying to write and MG book, but, everyone dies all over the place and it doesn’t feel very MG. Help. So yes! I’m going to read this one! (Also, isn’t the title the best?!!)

    • I know what you mean! I have books I bought LAST YEAR that I haven’t read yet. Review books always come first, and I’m always so excited to read them. Hopefully in the school holidays I’ll get the TBR to not breed so much. Also, I’m sure your MG is fantastic. 😀

  2. Awww this sounds like a fantastic MG book 🙂 I’m so glad you really liked it! AND I REALLY REALLY REALLY LIKE THAT GIF OF EMMA HEHEHEHHEE.
    Good Luck with your assessments/exams<3 You'll do amazingly!!

  3. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Stacking the Shelves and Not Much Else | The Loony Teen Writer

  4. My sister and I got the series for Christmas, she took one look at it, said “The cover is weird,” and let me keep it. I, personally, love the cover. So it’s mine now. Heehee. I’m stealing that GIF of Emma.

  5. This is one of my absolute favourite books. If it was food, I would call it scrumptious, but “magical” fits the bill too. 🙂

    Good luck with your exams and assignments!

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