The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
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.
Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland… on Goodreads
Catherine M. Valente‘s website
YABC’s average rating is 2.83
September is a twelve year old girl from Omaha that is swept away on an adventure one day by Green Wind upon a leopard. Her mother has joined the workforce while her father has gone off to war. September finds out that Fairyland is ruled by the Marquess who has placed a number of restrictions and laws to govern Fairyland. Along her adventure, September meets a wide range of quirky characters.
Ultimately, we didn’t have very much to say about this book except that it would probably appeal to Alice in Wonderland fans. It’s a mashup of several famous children’s classics. Alice plus Narnia plus Phantom Tollbooth plus Oz plus Mary Poppins equals weird love child that is The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. The title is awesome and there were pockets of nice writing, but some of us felt that the diction was a tad strange both for the fluidity of the action and perhaps for middle school kids. It also employs the iceberg effect–the writing style that buries lots of meaning underneath the meat of the story–not that it’s bad, but the execution of this effect just did not seem to work for many of us. The storytelling is in the tradition of the classics mentioned above, so perhaps readers who enjoy a pot of new vocabulary and wacky adventures and lots and lots of nonsense with a dash of perplexity, might actually enjoy this… and I’m sure there’s lots of readers like that out there.