Contented Reader

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente

Feiwel and Friends




It isn’t often that I wish for children of my own.  I don’t know whether you are aware of this or not, but children ooze out of every single orifice on their bodies, are often very loud, and it is generally impossible to reason with them.  But when I started to read this book, I was aware that this book just begs to be read aloud to a child, ideally at bedtime.  Valente’s language is so rich and effervescent that it seems designed to be spoken.  Every sentence is its own little comic jewel.

The heroine, September, is blown away to Fairyland by the friendly but dangerous Green Wind.  She hopes to have an adventure or two, in the spirit of a story, but when she embarks on her adventure to retrieve the lost Spoon of a witch, she finds that Fairyland has a big problem in the form of its oppressive Marquess, who deposed the merry Queen and rules Fairyland with an iron fist.  Will September be brave enough to overthrow the Marquess?

This book reminded me a little bit of Alice and Wonderland in its playfulness, and a little bit of Matilda in the strength of its main character.

If you have a daughter between 7 and 11 years old, you have a parental obligation to get this book and read it to her.  I might get a copy, to hold onto until my two-year-old niece is the right age for circumnavigating fairyland.


I am just a girl from Omaha.  I can only do a few things.  I can swim and read books and fix boilers if they are only a little broken.  Sometimes, I can make very rash decisions when really I ought to keep quiet and be a good girl.  If those are weapons you think might be useful, I will take them up and go after your Spoon.


Written by Contented Reader

September 29, 2011 at 6:42 am

Posted in Reviews


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