The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  14,621 ratings  ·  2,954 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends
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4th out of 874 books — 579 voters
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I walked into the bookstore in a bit of a mood.

Wait, that's my Midwestern nature talking. We tend to understate. The truth is I walked into the bookstore furious at the world. I can't remember why. I am prone to dark moods, and when I'm in the middle of one, I tend to rumble through the world like an angry old-testament god.

I went directly to the Sci-Fi Fantasy section. That's where I live for the most part. That's where I go when the world gets to be too much for me.

I looked at the titles. I...more
WINNER: BESTest, BRILLIANTest, most EXCELLENTest, YA Novel in HistorYA!!!

I know, I know, that comes as a bit of a shocker, what with Potter, Percy and those Hunger Gamers running from all those Sparkly Emos and bumping into Bartimaeus hiding inside His Dark Materials waiting for some Giver of an Abhorsen to find their Wrinkle in Time to send them all back to Wonderland. Not to mention that AMAZO Genesis I read earlier this year (sorry I couldn't work it in above).

However, despite all of those...more

My favorite thing about this book is, of course, Wyverary A-Through-L. What's a wyverary, you ask? Well, when a wyvern and a library love each other very very much......blush... you know the spiel.

But do I sense some skepticism, my cynical friends? Do you maybe insist on thinking there is an infinitely more prosaic explanation for the existence of Wyverary, an alphabetizing-loving fire-breathing half-library? Let him rebuke your doubt...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
This 5* review has been moved to Shelf Inflicted.

It's superb, jaw-dropping writing. I'll be very surprised if this isn't a lot of people's favorite childhood read in the year 2040. (Which I hope to be around to see.)
Oct 12, 2011 Catie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catie by: Crowinator
I am generally one for simple, blunt truth. My brain doesn’t like to decipher complex and ornate metaphors and I hate reading through layer upon layer of language. I’m usually just waiting for the author to get to the point. But then, something like this comes along and just makes me question everything that I thought I knew about myself. The writing here is highly imaginative and odd and funny and a bit absurd. It’s descriptive and clever and maybe occasionally just a bit fussy. But, all this s...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Dec 04, 2013 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of wardrobes, YA fans
The first two pages and I'm in love.

It's going on the "must buy" list, as well as the "must give" list.

The Girl sets all fairy tale conventions on their heads while managing to retain the spirit and charm of the best. In the tradition of the door-in-the-hedge fantasy, the trip through the closet into Fairyland is inventive and whimsical. Valente perhaps pokes fun at times, but always gently: "you will either perish most painfully or be forced to sit through a very tedious tea service with sever...more
mark monday
growing up, i loved the Oz books (the Baum ones, at least). i read all of them multiple times - i think there are 14 or so - and have enjoyed rereading them here and there as an adult. i love how the fancifulness and frequent absurdity of Baum's creations are anchored down by prosaic reality. i love their no-nonsense child heroines (and occasional heroes) - precocious but never precious, cute but never cutesy-poo. i love the transparency of Baum's prose, the layering of meaning and metaphor, the...more
Well devil if I know what to do with it.

Never complain that you are bored, ladies and gentlemen. Say such a thing and you might find that the universe has a couple tricks up its sleeve. Let's say, for example, that a certain children's librarian was getting bored with the state of fantasy today. Maybe she read too many Narnia rip-offs where a group of siblings is plunged into an alternate world to defeat a big bad blah blah blah. Maybe she read too many quest novels where plucky young girls have...more
The Holy Terror
Feb 19, 2012 The Holy Terror rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Wendy Darling, fans of Liesl & Po and children's books with deeper meanings
It's hard to express in words just how lovely this book is, well, in my words that is; Valente's words are beyond magical.
She certainly did not see Death stand on her tip-toes and blow a kiss after her, a kiss that rushed through all the frosted leaves of the autumnal forest but could not quite catch a child running as fast as she could. As all mothers know, children travel faster than kisses. The speed of kisses is, in fact, what Doctor Fallow would call a cosmic constant. The speed of children
This book just wasn't for me. The writing style is so different, so whimsical, so fancy, that I can tell the author had a lot of fun stretching her vocabulary to the utmost and rolling around and playing in it till it came out in wonderfully wrapped paragraphs and pages. But I just didn't like it. There are so much things I had to remember, keep track of, and all that stuff that I just got so lost and became disinterested.

Don't get me wrong, the world building is creative and all sorts of fabulo...more
May 30, 2012 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who can think young
Recommended to Jim by: Catie and Nataliya
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”
― Albert Einstein

In the normal scheme of things, I would have read this “children’s book”* first, as my introduction to the amazing writing of Catherynne Valente. But because this physical book...more

Consider this fair warning: I'm writing a squee review ,
as I think Catherynne Valente is the "bee's knees" when it comes to funny, modern, beautifully written fairytales that can appeal to children and adults in equal measure. Compared to The Orphan Tales , the adventures of the girl September in Fairyland are straightforward and easier to follow, without the frequent jumps from one storyteller to another, while maintaining the emotional intensity and the lyrical prose that first attracted m...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Reading Catherynne M. Valente is a unique experience. Her writing is full of magic and imagination. It doesn't always make 'sense', but it feels right. The child in me who never grew up, who loves fairy tales, lands of magic, mythical creatures, and folklore, ate up this story like the most scrumptious dessert. I listened to this on audio, and at first, I wasn't sure how well it would work. There are a lot of concepts, and they don't tie together in a straightforward fashion at first glance. If...more
Feb 14, 2013 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mark by: mark monday
For some weird reason I read a few pages towards the end of this book when i had only just started to read it's beginning. I have no idea why i did because i never normally do but in a strange way this seems, having read the whole thing now, to have been the right thing. I knew the denouement of the story as a result and was in a position to see a fuller picture to a certain extent but at the same time I did not know what i knew. (I went to the Donald Rumsfeld school of reviewing)

Once I reached...more
The Library Lady
There is an audience for this sort of thing among the sort of fully grown women who grew up reading George MacDonald, Frank Baum, James Barrie and all the other sentimental, precious fiction of an earlier era. And perhaps some of today's 21st century girls will grow up to be part of that audience.

Sorry fans, this is too derivative and too damn "twee" for me, and once more I am pissed off at librarians and other reviewers who review for the child in themselves rather than for the child actually s...more
T.D. Whittle
I bought this book as a gift for my very young nieces, only to realise that I had misjudged the appropriate readership by about six years. So, I decided to read it myself, and I loved it. It's brimming with the same lush imagery and sensual delights that one finds in Valente's adult novels, amidst all the Fairyland glimmer, glamour, and ghastliness specific to this children's tale.

In both Valente's adult novels and this one, her imagined worlds are equal parts terrifying and beautiful, with acc...more
Also posted on my blog: i'mbookedindefinitely

“Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw

I love reading, and I want my future children, and my future children’s children to love it too. I cannot however, just as any form or object of love, force them to love it too, what I can do however is guide them in learning to love it, by helping them sort through the millions of books out there, directing them to the good ones, to the really really goo...more
I love when I finish a book smiling.
I don't know if you recall my oohing and ahhing and general freaking-outing over the trailer for this book when it popped up last year. For realsies, I lost my mind over it. I still sometimes just watch it on repeat until I've had my fill of the quirky, artistic gloriously creative fantasticness that is this trailer (and the song!!). And now that I've read the book, I like the song from the trailer EVEN MORE. I didn't think that was possible, but it's so perfe...more

I have not encountered a YA fantasy novel this good since I read the classic tales as a child. Those being the The Chronicles of Narnia,The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Watership Down, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Phantom Tollbooth and Charlotte's Web to name a few. That's pretty much most of them with the exception of say The Story of Doctor Dolittle, The Jungle Book or Stuart Little for instance but this story has little similarity to those. No instead this...more
Apr 17, 2014 Hershey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every single human being residing on Earth
Remember the first time you read a book?

Remember the feeling of reading your first book?

Remember how much you loved that first book you read?

Remember how you wished you'd get all those feelings back while reading other books?

It is completely safe to say that I got them back, all those diverse feelings of reading one's first book. I got them back while reading this book and I felt like a small child giggling with joy. This book just restored all the happiness and sweetness I so dearly miss these...more
Lisa Vegan
Nothing less than 5 stars for this gem.

It’s really really hard for me to write a review because I was inundated with so much to say about every page, every line.

This is a wonderful and completely ingenious new fairy tale.

I was chortling from page 1 and 2 and... It’s wickedly funny, and unusually smart. There is something brilliant, funny, touching, quotable on nearly every page.

I appreciated the lack of sentimentality and yet the ability to keep me emotionally engaged.

I’d been a tad worried as I...more
I am not sure how to rate this one, but my heart wants to give it five stars, so I will. This will not be a book for everyone -- a lot of it depends on being able to find delight in the idiosyncratic narrative (which is very keen on wordplay and intricate, layered sentences) even when it grows a bit tiresome -- but it really grew on me by the early-middle of the book. The omniscient narrator tells the story directly to you, the reader, and has such an intimate, confidential tone that eventually,...more
This is an absolutely lovely fairy tale, full of whimsical beasts and clever wordplay, and also possibly clever beasts and whimsical wordplay. The protagonist is a spitfire of a little girl, making and breaking the rules of Fairyland according to her own logic. It was particularly interesting to read this on the heels of The Book of Lost Things. Both are new stories for adults familiar with the old ones (old stories, not Cthulu). Both feature youthful protagonists with parents who are being spre...more
It was always sort of a black mark on my Personal Reading List that I had somehow managed to evade The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, and now I am bemoaning all those wasted days when I could have had it in my life, because my God but this was a super entertaining novel.

So September, a totally ordinary girl with a bit of a temper, living in the middle of BFN Omaha during World War II, gets the change to hop on the back of a flying leopard and race away with the G...more
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
I've been trying hard to put off this review, or rather, trying hard to think how to rate and review it - it's been very difficult for me. I think that the only thing I can do is say it outright - this is a truly fantastic book, but it's just something that I just couldn't get away with. If I had to rate my enjoyment of this book, it'd be around 2 stars, but if I had to rate the quality of the book, I can honestly say that it'd probably be around 4 or 5 stars.

This book is set in Fairyland and it...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

September’s father has gone off to war and her mother works all day building airplane engines while September stays home and washes the china teacups. Life in Omaha is disappointingly dull for such an imaginative and adventurous (and heartless!) 12-year old girl... until the day September looks out the kitchen window to see the Green Wind perched on his flying leopard and beckoning her to Fairyland.

There are many wonders to see in Fairyland: witches, werew...more
It was challenging enough for me to sort out my feelings about September and her adventures while I was tagging along through the pages of this book, let alone to articulate them now as I try to write a review. For the first few chapters, I was totally in love. Valente's writing style is stunning; poetic, inventive, gorgeous. Indeed, throughout the novel, I came across a number of passages that just really "got" me, be they poignant or humorous, descriptive or didactic. (See below for an excerpt...more
Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers:


First Impressions:

Ana: I will try my best to be coherent about this book and not to break out the caps lock too much but it will be hard because OH MY GOD. This is the book that rescued me from a horrible reading slump; it is the book that made me realise that Cat Valente is an AWESOME writer (which I already suspected but this settled the matter); it is a book that is so beautifully written and full of inc...more

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS Y-A list.

I think I’ll always have a soft-spot for imaginative young-adult speculative fiction and as the good people at Locus did such a grand job with picking their Sci-Fi winners, I’ll trust them to single out some special y-a books too.

Before I rea...more
Mar 25, 2010 Wealhtheow rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Oz
Valente is extraordinarily good at tales. She can play with them like a cats-cradle, so that a girl may be Peter Pan and an engineer and a tree all at once, and her adversary may be a princess and a wicked witch and several ages all at the same time. This is mostly the story of September, a little girl who travels to Fairyland and has extraordinary adventures there. Valente's language is beautifully baroque, with lots of word play, yet never loses its clarity. I loved this story, and can't wait...more
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Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and cam...more
More about Catherynne M. Valente...
Deathless (Deathless, #1) The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland, #2) In the Night Garden (The Orphan's Tales, #1) Palimpsest In the Cities of Coin and Spice (The Orphan's Tales, #2)

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“She sounds like someone who spends a lot of time in libraries, which are the best sorts of people.” 442 likes
“It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.” 346 likes
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