cat's Reviews > The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own M... by Catherynne M. Valente
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Jan 20, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2012

2012 Book 3

The 11 year old and I would stop and repeat phrases out loud as we listened to this book because the prose was so magical. Consider the following:

“If I was special,” finished September, halfway between a whisper and a squeak. “In stories, when someone appears in a poof of green clouds and asks a girl to go away on an adventure, it’s because she’s special, because she’s smart and strong, and can solve riddles and fight with swords and give really good speeches, and…I don’t know that I’m any of those things. I don’t even know that I’m as ill-tempered as all that. I’m not dull or anything, I know about geography and chess and I can fix the boiler when my mother has to work, but what I mean to say is: maybe you meant to go to another girl’s house and let her ride on the Leopard. Maybe you didn’t mean me at all, because I’m not like storybook girls, I’m short and my father ran away with the army and I wouldn’t even be able to keep a dog from eating a bird.”

The Leopard turned her prodigious, spotted head and looked at September with large, solemn, yellow eyes.

“We came for you,” she growled. “Just you.”

And this one:

“When you are born, your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases and saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish and putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk, and crusty things, and dirt, and fear, and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in awhile, you have to scrub it up and get the works going, or else you’ll never be brave again. Unfortunately, there are not so many facilities in your world who provide the kind of services we do. So most people go around with grimy machinery, when all it would take is a bit of spit and polish to make them paladins once more.”

This book is the best, most creative, enchanting book that I have read with the 11 year old. We both adored it and can't wait to check out some of Cat Valente's other books!
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