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


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - Ana Juan, Catherynne M. ValenteThere was so much to love here! Before we get started, here’s the back cover information:

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.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when author Catherynne M. Valente first posted it online as a serialized novel. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

  • The narrative style is just perfect. It was done similar to the way the Great Gatsby is narrated except that the tone was much more upbeat and playful. The tone was more like Flynn Ryder telling his kids the story about how he met Rapunzel in Tangled.
  • The beginning is set during WWII and that’s central to September’s outlook on life, and some other aspects of her character.
  • The story felt like the first time I saw Alice in Wonderland. Everything was strange and wonderful and made sense in it’s own way. It was also full of little bits of wisdom the way that Alice in Wonderland is. I have to read the original one day…
  • Heartlessness and growing a heart is dealt with in an interesting way here.
  • She says yes to adventure, she doesn’t just happen upon it.

I’m probably going to read this to (or with) my son one day when he’s into chapter books. I personally believe in saying yes to adventure and wanting to find obstacles to overcome, rather than waiting for things to happen to you.

I got my copy from Scribd but it is also available for purchase from Amazon and  the Book Depository.

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