Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

• Reading level: Young Adult
• Hardcover: 256 pages
• Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0312649614
• ISBN-13: 978-0312649616

Bibliophilic wyverns, enchanted woods, an evil Marquess, a magical talisman, dwarven customs agents, djinns, velocipedes--and that doesn't even take into account what's in the title of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. A fantastical tale that's somewhere between Lewis Carroll and Terry Pratchett, Cathrynne Valente's book follows twelve-year-old September, a girl from Omaha, Nebraska, who finds herself whisked away by a fast-talking gentleman called the Green Wind to the world of Fairyland where she has to retrieve a witch's spoon from the fickle Marquess. Still, Cathrynne Valente's imaginative cast of characters and spirited prose turn what could be a standard heroine-on-a-quest story into something on par with the best (and weirdest) classics. --Darryl Campbell

Precocious and bored, 12 year old September – and no smarty, she was not born in September – is whisked off by the Green Wind into Fairyland. She is cleared through customs – whoever heard of customs in Fairyland? – and is left to fend for herself. This charming and whimsical book is full of imagination and sass, making it hard to put down, even if I am 49 years old.

Being a lover of Young Adult fiction, this book will finally take you away from the vampires, werewolves and zombies that seem to be creeping up all around us. September is a vicious child with a wild imagination, but she is not fool-hearty and takes her time in making decisions. She is not a quitter and she never gives up.

Valente’s writing just flows off the page and I was lapping up every luscious word. She has a way of telling a story that puts her in the category with Neil Gaiman, J. K. Rowling, Brandon Mull and James Dasher. I can’t wait until my granddaughter is old enough so she will sit still for chapter book reading. She is going to love it.

I recommend this book highly, especially to the middle-school crowd. Elementary and middle school teachers are going to love this book and librarians are already giving it rave review. The book was written with an obvious sequel in mind, which I can’t wait to read, and I hope it turns into a series and not just a trilogy. September is a girl I want to learn more and more about and Valente will show it to all those who read.

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