Saturday, April 15, 2017

Book Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

This is a wildly imaginative middle-grade long chapter book set in Fairyland, which most 9-12-year-old kids would love. September is a girl from Omaha in an orange dress who goes to fairyland. Her father is off at war and her mother is off making airplanes and she is mostly home alone, bored, and fairyland will prove much more interesting. She befriends the Green Wind, a flying tiger, a Wyvern whose father is a library, and a blue boy named Saturday. She has to defeat the wicked Marquess who has taken over fairyland and imposed rules that means the Wyvern (like a dragon but not) has to walk everywhere because he's not allowed to fly, making their journey much more difficult. (At one point they travel by September managing to catch a wild bicycle in a herd of wild bicycles travelling to their mating ground.) She needs to return a witch's spoon, rescue some imprisoned friends, and all along the way a magical key is trying to catch up with her. She meets a girl made of soap, loses her shadow, and gains a heart. Wild adventures ensue.

I think at this age, when I read every single Wizard of Oz book, I would have just adored September. It's a longer and harder book than a lot of books for kids this age (like the Oz books), really allowing a child to get fully lost and immersed in fairyland, as it this is not an easy book to zip through in a couple of hours. Like all fairytales the book is deceptively superficial but of course it's all a metaphor for the angst September is experiencing with her father off fighting and her mother rarely home. It probably isn't a good book for a struggling reader, but for a reader who needs a challenge, it's perfect. It isn't overly difficult, but it isn't at all a simple book either. But very enjoyable and a great escape.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I checked this book out of the library.

This book is published by Macmillan, my employer.

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