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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a…
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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Catherynne M. Valente, Ana Juan (Illustrator)

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1,6861504,238 (4.19)249
Member:PhysiCaRollMops
Title:The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Authors:Catherynne M. Valente
Other authors:Ana Juan (Illustrator)
Info:Square Fish (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (2009)

  1. 130
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (aarti, calmclam)
  2. 110
    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.
  3. 110
    Alice's Adventures 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
  4. 82
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (foggidawn)
  5. 61
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman (foggidawn)
  6. 30
    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (ErisofDiscord)
  7. 30
    Palimpsest by Catherynne 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.
  8. 42
    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.
  9. 20
    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. 20
    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (MyriadBooks)
  11. 20
    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. 10
    Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (baseballbabe)
  13. 10
    Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce (macsbrains)
  14. 10
    The Nex by Tim Pratt (one-horse.library)
  15. 00
    The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker (PhoenixFalls)
  16. 00
    The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu (AlexDraven)
  17. 11
    Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (MickyFine)
  18. 00
    Dragonfly by Frederic S. Durbin (jessinfl)
  19. 00
    The Habitation of the Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente (LBV123)
  20. 00
    The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy (kaledrina)

(see all 24 recommendations)

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» See also 249 mentions

English (148)  German (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
I am reading this as slowly as I possibly can. Savouring each paragraph, loving the freah hit to my imagination, feeling like a child again: wacthing a new world emerge in my head. There are herds of migrating bicycles, snarky good advice and lots of little things to chuckle at.
I can't wait for my children to be old enough to discover this for themselves. ( )
  littlel | Dec 8, 2014 |
This is such a fantastic book, the title alone made me desperate to read it and the rest of the series too!

Synopsis:

The story follows a young girl named September as she lives her every day boring life but is swept away into fairyland. She meets wonderful new creatures and embarks on an adventure. But the leader of fairyland – the marquess is not all that she seems. The marquess demands September collect a magical object for her deep in the woods, or the marquess will do terrible things to the new friends she has made. And so, September journeys on to find the talisman and save the residents of fairyland.

Review:

This book appeared on my Goodreads timeline, with someone else having just started reading it. On hearing the title “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making” I instantly had to find out more. It’s a beautiful title with an especially beautiful cover, in fact all the books in the series – there’s currently two more and another few on the way! – have incredibly clever titles and beautiful covers. Beautiful is perhaps the best way to describe Catherynne M Valente’s work. The language is lovely, and the illustrations – drawn by Ana Juan – that grace the chapter pages just make it an incredibly wonderful read. It’s intelligent without being heavy reading, the writing is clever without being overly pretentious. I flew through the book in a matter of days as I just could not get enough.

The book is aimed at children/young adults but it’s perfect for anyone of any age who enjoys a good read. It’s light hearted, the characters are beautifully imagined. My personal favourite being the wyverary A-through-L. A creature that is part wyvern and part library. The book has a very Alice in Wonderland feel to it, as well as sometimes reminding me of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, perhaps with regards to the narrator that occasionally pops his head in.

The story is in essence, a coming of age story, but it’s told in a highly imaginative, original way. It can be funny, silly and clever all in a single page. I definitely recommend this one for anyone who might be looking for something on the lighter side, or someone who’s just looking for something a bit different. ( )
  ColeReadsBooks | Oct 2, 2014 |
This isn't the kind of book that I'd normally pick--fantasy is definitely not a genre that I like, but some friends were reading this book and recommended it highly. Despite my misgivings, this turned out to be really good. Comparisons to The Phantom Tollbooth and Alice in Wonderland are not far off, though there's something I still like better about the Phantom Tollbooth. I had to push myself through the first few chapters, which veered towards just plain silly at times. I'm glad to report that this book got better the more I read--some real conflicts develop, a mission evolves, and the glue that holds the story together starts becoming more obvious. The end, though, really is quite spectacular and contains a genuine plot twist. This all said, its obvious that the author loves to write--she plays with words and phrases in a really lovely an delightful way. Fans of drier and more factual prose might find this style annoying, but I think it added to the book's overall flavor. September is a nice enough heroine who became more likable as the book went on, but I didn't feel any incredibly strong emotional attachment to her. The other characters are enjoyable, but don't seem to have quite enough character flaws to make them more interesting. The Marquess is one of the most complex villains I've run across lately and the book holds together largely because of her personal story. Overall, I thought this was a lovely book and I'd encourage even non-fans of fantasy novels to give it an honest chance. ( )
  lisamunro | Sep 24, 2014 |
I actually had kind of a hard time reading this book. Not because it wasn't totally wonderful -- it was -- but my expectations were ridiculously sky high. First of all, Valente's The Orphan's Tales in the Night Garden is one of my favorite books. Secondly, I'd heard many lovely things about this novel. Finally, I was excited about the idea of Valente writing fairy tales for children/teens. All of which is wonderful, but then when I finally started reading, I couldn't manage to stay in the stream of the story, I kept surfacing to take measurements -- "Is this as awesome as I was expecting it to be?" "Could Jefferson appreciate and ove this when he read it?"

That was problematic. Because otherwise this book was charming. There were a number of absolutely lovely turns of phrase -- quotes I had to write down immediately, conversations I had to read aloud to my husband, and amazingly delightful inventions -- like the wyverary, which is what is born when a wyvern and a library love each other very much...

Had I read this book without such expectations, I feel sure I would have been blown away. Valente is bold and fierce, but can also be almost unbearably tender. The number of times she managed to upend my expectations was impressive, but what was more so was that all these surprise turns worked -- they were cohesive and felt true.

When Jefferson comes home from Grandma's, we will have to have a conversation about this book. Also, there's a sequel. That's going to have to be mine. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
Wow! I love this book! It is officially on my favorite books list!! If you love Alice in Wonderland (or even didn’t like I did) you will adore this book. It is similar to Alice in Wonderland and has that same peculiarity about it, but I found the characters and the story much more enjoyable. It has all the makings of a great fairy-tale!

I have to admit that I had a hard time beginning the novel since it was really strange and was filled with nonsense, which is what I didn’t like about other books written like this. This book is just filled with things that are very weird; almost too strange for me. However, I stuck with it for a couple of chapters and became hooked! I loved the story and how it moved at just the right speed after the first couple chapters. There were some peculiar and amazing things that happened to September that will keep you interested until the very end. It was also hilarious in some parts too! I found myself laughing when I read about A-Through-L, and the Velocipedes. I think even people who find that they really like Alice in Wonderland may just like this even more.

I adored all the characters in this story! Who wouldn’t love to have A-Through-L as a traveling companion? He is a hilarious wyverary; half library, half wyvern who loves books, wants to become a librarian, and believes his father to be a library! He also knows lots of things but only if they start with A-L. So funny! There are many more enjoyable characters throughout the story that are just as silly as this wyverary and you will love them all! I thought the characters were very well developed and interesting, and I can’t say that I have any complaints about them. Amazing set of characters in an amazingly engrossing story!

There wasn’t an overabundance of detail throughout the story. It focused more on the characters rather than the setting, but there was still plenty of information to paint a picture. For a young adult novel (or even children) it was perfectly detailed in my opinion. Also, since there are more books in this series I am sure we will learn even more about the world of Fairyland and its inhabitants.

I thought the novel was beautifully written, and easy to understand. There were also some parts of the story that children wont understand (don’t need too) that are funny for adults. This story just begs to be read aloud! Oh! I can’t forget to mention that the drawings which begin each chapter are beautifully done as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story and felt that it is a perfect book for any child (even though its a young adult novel) who enjoys fantasy stories. I could go on and on about how each character was amazing and tell you all about them, but I think one was enough. The joy I got out of reading the book was discovering all these characters for myself. If you love fantasy stories and feel like reading something a little strange and funny, then you will most definitely enjoy this book! I can’t wait to read the other books in this series! Don’t worry though because this book can easily stand alone.

( )
  AshleyMiller | Sep 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 148 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
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.

Quotations
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.

(Carnophile)

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(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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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