Friday, December 23, 2011

Review of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
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 the author first posted it online. 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.

As soon as I heard the title of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, I knew right away that it would be going on my to-buy list. Plus, this awesome book trailer came along.

So, I pre-ordered a copy of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland and it hung around my shelves for a few months. I wound up sharing the book trailer with some of my friends at school, and we decided to read Valente’s novel as a selection for our book club. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making charmed and awed me, and is slated to join the canon of children’s literature.

At first, I struggled to get into The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, because it initially felt too much like Valente was trying to write the next Alice In Wonderland. However, once I got further in, I discovered where Valente’s true strength as an author lies: in world building. I loved reading about all of the places and creatures that Valente created.

September is a great main character. She’s adventurous and confident, but I never felt that either of these traits were so strong that they were unbelievable. Plus, September’s story is enjoyable. It’s well-paced and Valente ties the threads of her plot and world together nicely at the end.

At the end of the day, The Girl Who Circumnavigated In A Ship Of Her Own Making surpassed my expectations. I would happily pass this book onto any reader I know. I highly suggest curling up with this book and a mug of hot tea as soon as you can get your hands on a copy.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.


  1. So glad you loved it! I love it when books are better than expected! This is a book I've been wanting to read for a while too! Because that title is just amazing! Seriously one of the greatest! :) I need to get my hands on a copy of this one soon!! :)

  2. Content wise this story is suitable for all ages. However, there are many, many BIG words in there...I haven't used my Kindle's dictionary this much since The Count of Monte Cristo! I would only turn my kids lose on this book if I knew the challenging vocabulary exercise wouldn't discourage them.

    Gretta Hewson
    Sleep Aid Gaba



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