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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a…

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (2009)

by Catherynne M. Valente

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Girl Who (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,7472093,149 (4.11)292
  1. 171
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (aarti, calmclam)
  2. 160
    Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (kaledrina, Crumble_Tumble)
    Crumble_Tumble: Both of these fantasy tales are a bit out there, a little crazy, a little hard to undestand. But once you get it, it's amazing. I LOVE these kinds of books
  3. 140
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman (aarti, Jannes, rakerman)
    Jannes: Gaiman might be inspired by Dunsany and Mirrlees while Valente leans slightly more toward Carroll and Baum, but both of them are modern authors tackling the classic fairytale, both are great stylists, and both books are highly enjoyable.
    rakerman: Stardust is also a modern fairy tale, but I found it to be a much stronger book. The flow of chapter by chapter standalone encounters in The Girl was light and entertaining but for me had a weaker narrative flow than in Stardust.
  4. 102
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (foggidawn)
  5. 81
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman (foggidawn)
  6. 72
    Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (lorax)
    lorax: Both are beautifully written fairy tales about young people traveling to another world, readable by kids but with much for adults to enjoy.
  7. 50
    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (ErisofDiscord)
  8. 50
    Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente (Jannes)
    Jannes: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland was first concieved in Palimpsest as one of the protaginists' favourite book. Then it sort got a life of it's own, so to speak. Palimpsest is probably not for children, though.
  9. 30
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (clfisha)
    clfisha: Its not a fairytale but if your looking for more inventive, rich and dark YA try this.
  10. 30
    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (MyriadBooks)
  11. 30
    At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald (rakerman)
    rakerman: Wind spirits play an important role in both The Girl and At the Back of the North Wind. The books both have aspects of wonder and sorrow, with a similar idea of a child taken away into a magical land.
  12. 30
    Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog by Ysabeau S. Wilce (macsbrains)
  13. 20
    Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (baseballbabe)
  14. 10
    The Nex by Tim Pratt (TomWaitsTables)
  15. 10
    Dragonfly by Frederic S. Durbin (jessinfl)
  16. 10
    Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi (aethercowboy)
  17. 00
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (g33kgrrl)
  18. 11
    Abarat by Clive Barker (Anonymous user)
  19. 00
    Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie (amanda4242)
  20. 00
    The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker (PhoenixFalls)

(see all 27 recommendations)


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» See also 292 mentions

English (207)  German (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (209)
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
I had to do a hard swallow to keep getting crying when I finished this book, mostly because I was sad to say goodbye to the marvelous friends Valente had introduced me to. Much like our heroine September, though, I expect to return in the spring. ( )
  inescapableabby | Nov 28, 2018 |
First book completed during the 24 in 48 readathon!
I honestly wish I could give this 6 stars, no 7 stars, no 8!! Seriously, this is an instant new all-time-fave and I don't even know if I will be able to articulate why because I am still all starry eyed. But I will try. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairlyand in a Ship of Her Own Making is, on the surface, a very familiar story. A seemingly ordinary girl, who readers know immediately is anything but ordinary, is whisked away by a mysterious figure to a strange new land. She meets all kinds of interesting new folks, gets up to all kinds of adventures, and is -as we've come expect- burdened with a weight near too heavy for such a young "ordinary" girl to bear. But of course, Readers know she is anything but ordinary and that she will rise up to the task magnificently. This is of course, however, all of the surface. So there you have (some of) the plot. As for the characters and setting- I simply couldn't get enough. Of any of them. Or any of it. In this way I couldn't help but relate to the story's "villian", but I won't say any more on that. This felt, to me, like little bits of Howl's Moving Castle, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz books, and The Chronicles of Narnia all rolled up and yet still entirely unique. I can't wait to get to the next book in the series. ( )
  EliseLaForge | Nov 20, 2018 |
This is one of those books that gets right down to the core of me, where there's a kid that wants to stumble through a wardrobe and find herself up to her ears in magic. I love the way Fairyland feels like home, and I already know that I love CMV's writing. All that's left is to read the sequels, honestly, because I'm not ready to leave this particular world. ( )
  courtney.osteen | Nov 7, 2018 |
The Phantom Tollbooth for a new generation - darker and more eccentric, but every bit as sincere. It took me awhile to warm up to it but in the end I was sold on the whimsy and the heart of it.
  aratiel | Sep 5, 2018 |
This is a very nice little book, filled with Faery and language that is exceedingly ornate but never quite pretentious. And it's a modern fairy tale at that - September didn't grow too close to my heart (maybe I'm too old for that), but the narrator did, and maybe that is good enough. ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
I won’t lie. Some folks do NOT like this book, and I can understand why that is. For me, though, this is just one of the smarter juxtapositions of the fantastical with the tongue-twisted. Here you have an author who clearly enjoys writing. And if that enjoyment seeps through the page and into the reader’s perceptions, then here is a book that they’ll clearly enjoy reading. A true original and like nothing you’ve really ever seen before.
added by PhoenixFalls | editSchool Library Journal (Jun 1, 2011)
Told by an omniscient narrator who directly engages readers, the densely textured text deftly mixes and matches familiar fairytale elements, creating 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.
added by melonbrawl | editKirkus Reviews (Apr 1, 2011)
The book's appeal is crystal clear from the outset: this is a kind of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by way of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, made vivid by Juan's Tenniel-inflected illustrations.
added by PhoenixFalls | editPublisher's Weekly (Mar 14, 2011)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Valente, Catherynne M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Juan, AnaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For all those who walked this strange road with me,
and held out their hands when I faltered.
This is a ship of our own making.
First words
Chapter 1

Exeunt on a Leopard
In Which a Girl Named September Is Spirited Off by Means of a Leopard, Learns the Rules of Fairyland, and Solves a Puzzle

Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents' house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog.

One ought not judge: All children are heartless. They have not grown up yet, which is why they can climb tall trees and say shocking things and leap so very high that grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one.

Hats have power. They can change you into someone else.

When one is traveling, everything looks brighter and lovelier. That does not mean it is brighter and lovelier; it just means that sweet, kindly home suffers in comparison to tarted-up foreign places with all their jewels on.

Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.
In September's world, many things began with pan. Pandemic, Pangaea, Panacea, Panoply. These 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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
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 the author 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.

[retrieved from Amazon, 8/2/2012]
Haiku summary
Fairyland has rules.
Magical, but uncaring.
Like laws of physics.


No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

Twelve-year-old September's ordinary life in Omaha turns to adventure when a Green Wind takes her to Fairyland to retrieve a talisman the new and fickle Marquess wants from the enchanted woods.

» see all 7 descriptions

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