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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

By Catherynne M Valente, Ana Juan (Illustrated by)

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Format: Hardcover, 247 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 01 May 2011
"One of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century."--Time magazine, on the Fairyland series

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.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when author Catherynne M. Valente first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Fiction title for 2011.

About the Author

CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, and is best-known for her urban speculative fiction, including Palimpsest (winner of the 2010 Lambda Award), and The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden. This, her first novel for young readers, was posted online in 2009 and won the Andre Norton Award--the first book to ever win before traditional publication. Cat Valente lives on an island off the coast of Maine with her partner, two dogs, and an enormous cat.

ANA JUAN is a world-renowned illustrator known in this country for her wonderful covers for the New Yorker magazine, as well as the children's books The Night Eater, and Frida, written by Jonah Winter. She lives in Spain.


"A glorious balancing act between modernism and the Victorian Fairy Tale, done with heart and wisdom." --Neil Gaiman, Newbery Award-winning author of The Graveyard Book

"September is a clever, fun, stronghearted addition to the ranks of bold, adventurous girls. Valente's subversive storytelling is sheer magic." --Tamora Pierce, author of The Immortals series

"A mad, toothsome romp of a fairy tale--full of oddments, whimsy, and joy." --Holly Black, author of the Spiderwick Chronicles

"When I saw that this book reminds me simultaneously of E. Nesbit, James Thurber, and the late Eva Ibbotson, I don't mean to take anything away from its astonishing originality. It's a charmer from the first page, managing the remarkable parlay of being at once ridiculously funny and surprisingly suspenseful. Catherynne Valente is a find, at any age!" --Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn

"This is a kind of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by way of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland--it's the sort of book one doesn't want to end." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[Fairyland creates] a world as bizarre and enchanting as any Wonderland or Oz and a heroine as curious, resourceful and brave as any Alice or Dorothy. Complex, rich and memorable." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This book is quite simply a gold mine." --Booklist, starred review

"Amusing, wrenching, and thought-provoking." --The Horn Book

Gr 4-7-Twelve-year-old September is bored and lonely. There's not much excitement in Omaha during WWII, so when the Green Wind appears at her window and invites her to explore Fairyland, the girl jumps at the chance. The idea of a fun-filled adventure soon turns tragic when September realizes that the quirky and fanciful residents of Fairyland are cruelly ruled by the mad Marquess. September accepts the challenge to rescue the inhabitants and soon learns that only she can save Fairyland. Catherynne Valente's novel (Feiwel & Friends, 2011) features many storytelling techniques and rich vocabulary that define a thoroughly enjoyable Victorian tale. There are just enough familiar elements, such as witches and djinns, to engage listeners, but also many creative and inventive creatures that bring the fantasy alive. The tale is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and is just as charming, peculiar, and absurd. Valente narrates with perfect pacing and pitch. Listeners who like complicated and fully detailed fantasies will find much to enjoy here.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

EAN: 9780312649616
ISBN: 0312649614
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Dimensions: 24.28 x 16.13 x 2.39 centimetres (0.45 kg)
Age Range: 5-9 years
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5 of 5 Stars! '

SUMMARY: One day, a bored girl named September is whisked off to Fairyland by the Green Wind and finds herself confronting the Marquess, an irritable, jaded young woman who is in need of something only September can retrieve. As September journeys through Fairyland, she finds that things are not all sunshine and lollipops, and she ends up making sacrifices, stumbling into life-threatening situations, and meeting many odd creatures.

MY THOUGHTS: Wow. If there's ever a word to describe Catherynne Valente's writing, it's luscious. It flows so gracefully, and has little nuances that make the reader smile, or giggle to herself, and it's probably of the best quality I've ever read in a young adult or middle grade novel. It's simply gorgeous. (I was so enthralled with the writing that I actually wanted to seek out someone to whom I could read--the book just begs to be read aloud.)

Fairyland reads just like a fairytale of old--it's understandable and enjoyable for children, but adolescents and adults will most appreciate its subtle complexity. Almost every chapter brings a new adventure or acquaintance for September, but the story still manages to remain continuous. September's travels are never boring, and neither are the odd characters she meets (my favorite of which is A-Through-L, a Wyvern-Library crossbreed).

September is a spunky, lovable protagonist who portrays characteristics that any young girl could look up to--she's brave but not egocentric, intelligent but not without naiveté, and very logical. September grows significantly throughout the novel, and it's a joy reading about her adventures.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making will enchant all readers, be they young or old. It has a timeless quality to it, and could easily be read over and over again. Highly recommended!

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