September is tired of being at home, washing the same pink-and-yellow cups and playing with the same small, amiable dog. So when a Green Wind (atop the back of a flying Leopard) offers her a trip to Fairyland, she accepts.
But Fairyland is in trouble, taken over by a Marquess who, although evil, wears a very fine hat. It’s up to September, a Wyvern called A-through-L, and an almost-human boy named Saturday to defeat the Marquess and free Fairyland from her tyranny.
My newest favorite book
I love a good fairy story, especially when it’s slightly off-center. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is just such a book, filled with odd characters, references to mythology and legend, and just enough evil and gruesomeness to make the reader realize that adventuring through Fairyland is, for humans, filled with peril.
September is a quirky little child, perfectly suited for Fairyland. She’s smart, despite her occasional blunders, and is quick to solve puzzles and make up her mind as to whether something is right or wrong. She’s kind-hearted and brave, and just the sort of person you’d want as a friend.
Author Cathrynne M. Valente manages to express morals and teach lessons without being heavy-handed, and modernizes some of the old fairy tale elements. Illustrator Ann Juan brings the characters to life through her pen and ink sketches, lending visual candy to the amazing world Valente creates.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland… is perfect reading for anyone 10 and up, and a great book to read aloud and/or together.
“All children are heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb tall trees and say shocking things and leap so very high that grow-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.)” (p. 4)