Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Book Plug: Catherynne M. Valente - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
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  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair (7 Jun 2012)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1780338333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780338330
  • Gather up your courage and your wishes; grab a little pinch of luck - and prepare to be swept away, in a ship of your own making, to a land unlike any other.
    September is a twelve-year-old girl, Somewhat Grown and Somewhat Heartless, and she longs for adventure. So when a Green Wind and a Leopard of Little Breezes invite her to Fairyland - well, of course, she accepts (mightn't you?).

    When she gets there, she finds a land crushed by the iron rule of a villainous Marquess - she soon discovers that she alone holds the key to restoring order. Having read enough books to know what a girl with a quest must do, September sets out to Fix Things.

    As September forges her way through Fairyland, with a book-loving dragon and a boy named Saturday by her side, she makes many friends and mistakes, losing her shadow, her shoes and her way. But she finds adventure, courage, a rather special Spoon, and a lot more besides . . .



  • Originally published in serialized form online (where it became the first e-book to win the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy), this glittering confection is Valente's first work for young readers. 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. An omniscient narrator relates the absurd Fairyland adventures of 12-year-old September from Omaha, Neb. Valente seems more interested in crafting the individual episodes, and her narrator's moral observations thereon, than in September's overall quest to retrieve a witch's spoon from the terrible marquess of Fairyland. Homages abound--an echo of Tolkien here, a cameo by Lord Dunsany there, and a nod for Hayao Miyazaki, too, all without feeling derivative. It's an allusive playground for adults, but even though young readers won't catch every reference, those who thrill to lovingly wrought tales of fantasy and adventure (think McCaughrean or DiCamillo) will be enchanted. And though the pace is lackadaisical, it's just as well--it's the sort of book one doesn't want to end. Ages 10–14. 

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