The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Genre: MG Fantasy
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.
I picked this book up for exactly one reason: it has a very long title. This title is fun to say, and if you use it enough while talking about this book, people get a bit annoyed, which is quite amusing. And I talked about this book a lot, because I loved it a lot.
7 Things About The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
1) There is a wonderful heroine in this book. You all know how much I like heroines who are kind, and September is kind. She’s responsible, and tries her best in every situation, even though she constantly fails or runs into difficulties. Also, she grows so much throughout the book! She becomes more courageous and more selfless. I cared so much about her and her quest.
2) The writing was beautiful. The style kind of reminded me of The Phantom Tollbooth, but just the tiniest bit. This was so much better! I thought the writing as a whole was just gorgeous, but there were some lines that were just lovely. Here are just a few of my favorites. (Otherwise, this post would be a million words long.)
Readers will always insist on adventures, and though you can have grief without adventures, you cannot have adventures without grief.
All stories must end so, with the next tale winking out of the corners of the last pages, promising more, promising moonlight and dancing and revels, if only you will come back when spring comes again.
As all mothers know, children travel faster than kisses.
Autumn has a hungry heart – September is the beginning of death.
I have all the books I could need, and what more could I need than books? I shall only engage in commerce if books are the coin.
3) Parts of this book are, admittedly, a little weird. There were some parts I LOVED, like the chapters in the Autumn woods, which had stunning visual writings, all the parts with the Marquess, and the scene with the Soap Golem. Then there were others that were kind of strange, like the part with the velocipede “cow” herd. This book never stops moving from place to place and scene to scene, and you might like some parts and dislike others. Everything combined in such a lovely way, though, and I like how all the parts of the adventure flowed together.
5) There are all sorts of delightful characters! There is a wyverary, which is a wyvern with a library for a father. That was genius. There is a soap golem who is so sweet. And there is a Maquess, who is the villain.
All little girls are terrible… The Marquess, at least, has a very fine hat.
I LOVED the Marquess. She is quite a complex character, and definitely more than she at first appears to be!
Basically, I loved all the characters and their interactions with each other.
6) Even though this is technically a children’s book, I think adults will enjoy it even more. I definitely loved this book much more than I would have as a child. I loved how there is this quiet theme about growing up. I loved all the quotes that talk about readers. There is something for every age in this book, which is kind of hard to find!
7) The world and adventures of this book are so fun! I’ve already talked a little about all the characters. There are also a ton of different places, and lots of mini adventures as well as a big one, and the whole thing is just so creative and unique.
You should read this book. At least read it so you can annoy people with the title.
Are there any books you like more now than you once did? Or vice versa? Do you like fairy tales? What is the longest title ever from a book you’ve read?