The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
by Catherynne M. Valente
Cover Artist: Ana Juan
Review by Gayle Surrette
Feiwel & Friends Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312649616
Date: 10 May 2011 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
While The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is marketed as a book for young readers, the story itself is as layered and lyrical as any adult reader could possibly want. A mixture of fairy tales, Wizard of Oz, adventure, whimsy, and powerful imagery, The Girl Who… is a delight, balancing the dark and light of fairyland.
September longs to escape her humdrum life in Omaha. Her mother works in a factory and her father is in the service, fighting a war far away. September is quite independent and able – she can even fix things and is good with tools just like her mother. Fairyland is not as she expected but she quickly learns that she's going to have to have her wits around her to make it in this land.
Having longed for adventure, September finds herself in the center of one. She's determined to be the hero of her story. Many will see her as heartless in her abandonment of her home, but throughout the adventure, September acts with kindness and honor. She shows strength and fortitude even when making choices that could harm herself or those she's come to care for in this world.
There's illusions to various fairy tales and settings and actions that tickle the mind with memories of other children's stories but this is all September's adventure. Pulled in from the very beginning when she meets the Green Wind to the very end of the adventure when we really don't know which way things will turn out, readers will be totally enthralled by the tale. After all, there are wyvaries, golems of soap, migrating velocipedes, witches, fabric cities, changelings, rescues, betrayals, confusions, and wandering keys; what more could a reader want.
Recommended for all age groups – including adults. For young children you may want to read the book first because some situations could be very scary for some children.