Folklore is my favorite genre because it can be super small and specific to one group, or huge and universal. I love fairy ta...moreThis book was delightful!
Folklore is my favorite genre because it can be super small and specific to one group, or huge and universal. I love fairy tales, both new and retold. When a talented writer works with the motifs to create something new, I’m always thrilled that they’ve made it comfortable and familiar without writing a cliché. I’ve talked about this in other reviews, and it’s a thrill to see it done. Sometimes you get a book that follows the path and there’s no surprises. It might be a nice journey, but it doesn’t really impress you. Sometimes you get a book that tries something new and fails. But then you find a book that is wonderful all around, and Valente wrote one of those for us.
September is twelve years old and lives in Omaha. Her father is off fighting in the war and her mother is in the factories making planes to help with the war effort. September is bored, frustrated and angry. A Green Wind shows up and takes her away to Fairyland, letting her know that help is needed and that maybe she’ll be the girl to save them all.
Her introduction to Fairyland was really funny. She has to go through a TSA-like procedure to get a passport and cross over. I loved how Valente did this. It’s still a familiar story, but there’s a pause into the absurd before September can carry on.
Of course she’s going to meet characters along the way, take up quests, solve problems, and learn about herself. It wouldn’t be a fairy tale if she didn’t. She gains a wonderful companion, a Wyverary who knows everything A-Through-L. Like many characters in many tales, I wanted him to be real so we could hang out.
September learns that the good Queen has been missing for a very long time and the evil Marquess is now in control and wants to make life miserable for all of Fairyland’s residents. September, of course, must confront the Marquess, but before she can do so, she must follow the folklore path and learn more about Fairyland.
I loved the structure of this book so much. The nameless author has asides for the reader, and this almost always works for me, especially in kids’ books. I would get stupidly excited when I was young because I thought it was hilarious when the author broke the fourth wall to talk directly to me about what was happening in the book. Seeing it as an adult, it makes me feel like that giggling little kid again. Sometimes it can be annoying if the author tries too hard, but Valente uses it well and it adds to the story.
I liked the twists and reveals. There was one that I saw coming, but another one was a surprise. The book is targeted for a middle reader audience but it works on many levels. There are traditional themes, nods to female protagonists that have explored tales before September’s journey, modern ideas, and a little bit of information about Rosie the Riveter.
I’m happy there will be more in this series and I hope to see more with September and her mother, although I can’t wait to hear about A-Through-L’s adventures.
Super cute, super fun, and a wonderful take on the classic motifs.
Sally Watson is on a quest to have her books brought out from the dust and back into the hands of young readers. Check out her website to learn more a...moreSally Watson is on a quest to have her books brought out from the dust and back into the hands of young readers. Check out her website to learn more and be sure to read her bio. She’s badass.
Fourteen year old Linnet decides she’s had enough of her boring, upper-class life so she sets off to London to find family she’s never met so she can be presented to Queen Elizabeth herself.
Clearly it’s not a well thought out plan.
She doesn’t get far before her heels blister and she meets Sir Colin Collyngewood who ever so graciously offers her a ride the rest of the way to London. As he calmly present her with the facts of her ill-planned adventure, she is forced to admit she is in need of aid.
Unfortunately she doesn’t listen to him when he tells her he’s a liar and a rogue. She find herself in an Oliver Twist den of pickpockets and beggars while “Sir Colin” decides best how to use her.
There are plots to overthrow the Queen after all, and she could come in useful there, or perhaps he could hold her for ransom. In the meantime, she’s forced to live with the filthy poor and lower herself to breathe the same air.
Linnet is an interesting character. For most of the book I found myself rolling my eyes at how unbelievably stupid she was and yet I still liked her. I kept wondering why she hadn’t had her throat slit by the end of the first chapter, but of course Watson had much better plans for her. Linnet’s transition is slow, but it happens. You know it’s going to happen, but it’s still satisfying. Watson carefully creates a running monologue for Linnet as she is suddenly thrust into a world she knows nothing about. Although she’s always thought she’s made her own decisions, she realizes her entire life has been based on the small reality of her upper-class existence.
Watson’s books can be a challenge to find at the library, but I recommend hunting for them or buying a copy. I hope her girls make their way back into bookshelves. Anyone who is a fan of Anne of Green Gables would enjoy this.(less)
This should be called The Most Depressing Fairy Tales Ever Written And If You Are The Least Little Bit Sad You Will Want To Jump Off A Bridge by Oscar...moreThis should be called The Most Depressing Fairy Tales Ever Written And If You Are The Least Little Bit Sad You Will Want To Jump Off A Bridge by Oscar Wilde.
I liked the reverse psychology angle - most stories have a negative character that doesn't learn a thing while the good character dies an awful death. We wouldn't want to be like that, would we children?
But man...I needed to watch a Lifetime or Hallmark movie where everything is puppies and rainbows to wash away the misery.(less)
Super cute! Sabrina and Daphne Grimm have been living in an orphanage and shuffled around from family to family. The grandmother, who they were told i...moreSuper cute! Sabrina and Daphne Grimm have been living in an orphanage and shuffled around from family to family. The grandmother, who they were told is dead, shows up to claim them and things start to get more and more confusing for the two girls. Granny Relda calmly explains that fairy tales are real, they’re all related to the famous Brothers Grimm and it’s up to them to solve crimes in their town and keep all the characters in line.
I would have LOVED this book and probably the entire series as a young’un because the book was massive and had chapters. I can see a lot of hardcore young readers tearing these up.