The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (2011)

“You see, the future is a kind of stew, a soup, a vichyssoise of the present and the past. That’s how you get the future: You mix up everything you did today with everything you did yesterday and all the days before and everything anyone you ever met did and anyone they ever met, too. And salt, and lizard and pearl and umbrellas and typewriters and a lot of things I’m not at liberty to tell you, because I took vows, and a witch’s vows have teeth. Magic is a funny like that. It’s not a linear thinker. The point is if you mash it all up together and you have a big enough pot and you’re very good at witchcraft, you can wind up with a cauldron full of tomorrow” (p 32-33).

girl-who-circumnavigated-fairyland-coverOne day, while washing dishes, September is swept away to Fairyland by a Green Wind. Traveling via Leopard, she passes to the space between our world and Fairyland where she must use her wit to enter.

Once there, September uses her knowledge of fictional characters who were whisked away to special places to guide her, taking in her topsy-turvy experience with calm. Once she secures a quest, she sets off to confront the Marquee, claim a Spoon and set Fairyland right.

Along the way, she meets many sagacious characters including a wyvern, three witches, a gollum made of soap, and a Pooka.

In my opinion, this is an adult book that happens to feature a twelve-year-old character. Though it is under 300 pages, it requires a lot of attention, being cleverly written.

Also, September is fond of big words:

In September’s world, many things began with the word pan. Pandemic, Pangaea, Panacea, Panopoly. Those were all big words, to be sure, but as has been said, September read often and liked it best when words did not pretend to be simple but put on their full armor and rode out with colors flying (p 51).

I recommend this to folks who have enjoyed Alice in Wonderland or Lois Lowry’s The Willoughbys. It is a fantastic book. Read Fuse #8’s review or the Kirkus review.

Advance reader copy | Feiwel & Friends | May 10, 2011 | 256 pages | ISBN: 978-0312649616 | Ages 12 and up | $16.99


One thought on “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (2011)

  1. Pingback: Mock Newbery 2012 | wordstocking

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