Sunday, January 05, 2014


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, Catherynne Valente, Feiwel and Friends, 2011, 245 pp

Here is another book I read for the title. Who could resist a book with "circumnavigated" in the title? Also for the cover because it has a red dragon on it, not to mention a blurb from Neil Gaiman.

The story is fantasy for middle-grade readers. September had just turned twelve and had grown bored of her life when the Green Wind, dressed all in green, appeared at her window and said, 

"You seem an ill-tempered and irascible enough child. How would you like to come away with me and ride upon the Leopard of Little Breezes and be delivered to the great sea, which borders Fairyland?"

"Oh yes!" breathed September.

So she goes and gets a red dragon with his wings in lockdown as a best friend. Warned not to eat fairy food she is hungry for much of the book. She has to learn who to trust and who to fear. Soon enough, she becomes a champion for justice and does indeed make her own ship in order to fulfill a promise while she rescues her friends from an evil Marquess.

It is all wonderful with never a boring paragraph. September is a complex, rarely well-behaved girl who struggles with her temper, with disobedience and selfishness, and who suffers due to loyalty. Moralizing is absent except when September truly attempts to reign in behaviors that are preventing her from her quest to restore Fairyland to better days.

Ms Valente has restored the fairytale to all its gruesome glory. There are sequels.

(The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making is available in paperback on the shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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