Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: May 2011
ISBN: 9780312649616
Source: Review copy provided by publicist

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

When September decides to leave behind her dull life of cleaning teacups and a boring dog to fly with the Green Wind on a Leopard of Small Breezes, she is ready for adventure.  Landing in fairyland, things don't quite go as she expected, though she makes friends in a wyvern that's half-library and a water djinn.  On a reluctant quest to get back a spoon from the Marquess, she little expects all of the strange beasts she meets or the growing up she does.

Things I Liked:
This was such a fun, quirky, odd little story of Fairyland as you've never seen it before.  The strangeness and the humor are the greatest draw for the story.  I liked how nothing was expected and everything was new - it just has that unique charm that many classic fairy stories have, but seems indefinable to me.  For those who love the oddity of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, this will be an instant winner.  It also had a depth to the story that I wasn't expecting in such silly trappings.  Some fun quotes (I really love the second one):

One: There is a department in Fairyland entirely devoted to spiriting off young boys and girls (mostly orphans, but we have become more liberal in this late age), so that we may  have a ready supply of a certain kind of story to tell when winter comes and there is nothing to do but drink fennel beer and peer at the hearth.  Two: See above.  Three: Dry, brown places are prime real estate for children who want to escape them.  It's much harder to find wastrels in New York City to fly about on a Leopard.  After all, they have the Metropolitan Museum to occupy them.  Four: I am not being very nice at all.  See how I lie to you and make you do things my way?  That is so you will be ready to live in Fairyland, where this sort of thing is considered the height of manners. p 13-14
Stories have a way of changing faces.  They are unruling things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers.  That is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble. p 36
Things I Didn't Like:
I didn't much care for the narrator, but I fell in love with September and especially Ell and Saturday.  At times, I thought things were a little too random and a lot of minor characters came and went (rather like a story with a quest where the main character meets people who help them along the way and then disappear).  Still, it was sweet, a bit creepy, and lots of fun to read.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

s-factor: none 

mrg-factor: none 

v-factor: -> 
some serious injuries and such

Overall rating: ****

Would you have loved this as a child? I think I prefered quirky books more as a kid than I do now.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I have this one on my TBR list and I'm looking forward to it for a quick fun read. I hope it fulfills my expectations. The second quote was fun!

  2. This is in my pile to read too. Near the bottom, but still there... I was interested to read what you thought about the book. Thanks for the review.

  3. Jenny, it should be both fun and quick!

    Aimee, I don't think there's a rush to read it right away :)

  4. I read this with my daughter who's 11. She liked it way more than I did.

  5. carol, I think that's as it should be for kid's lit.


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