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A Look at Ana Juan's Illustrations for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
|Exeunt on a Leopard||The Wyverary|
|Thy Mother's Sword||One Hundred Years Old|
Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making: sweet fairytale, shot through with salty tears -- magic!
Feiwel & Friends has done the world an enormous service by putting The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente's extraordinary, award-winning, free web-novel, between covers. What's more, they've augmented it with Ana Juan's wonderful illustrations, one for every chapter.
Fairyland is a book that is both deeply in love with fairy tales and sharply critical of them: the story of September, a girl who flies from her dreary and sad life in Nebraska to Fairyland on the Green Wind. In Fairyland, she meets every sort of wonderful mythical beast (including a wyvern that's half library), eats the most wonderful and strange things, and has the most wonderful and extraordinary adventures and quests. And it really is wonderful: whimsical and lyrical and shot through with an imagination that simultaneously renders the traditional furniture of fairy tales fresh, and manages to make the author's own inventions seem as mythic as the first story told in the first cave in front of the first fire.
But Valente's fairytale broods and seethes, and it is not always such a nice place. For every velocipede herd thundering across the plain, ridden by a marvelous fairy in aviator's leathers and jodhpurs, there's a whipped blue water-djinn who bears the emotional scars of slavery. For every autumn kingdom filled with fiery sylvan alchemists, there is a political exile in the winter country, banished and sorrowing. For every brave sacrifice from September's companions, there's an abandoned soap golem that wishes the good queen would restore Fairyland to its glory.
And that's what makes Valente's work so truly fairytale fantastic: the sense that the magic sweetness is alloyed with a pinch of salty tears that makes it all so flavorful and complex, a wonder streaked with anxiety. So as September embarks on her quest to topple the evil Marquess who is bent on remaking Fairyland so that it is as dull and regimented as Omaha, Nebraska, we cheer her on, fear for her, and wonder, a little, if she might not be on the wrong side of the war.
Valente's lyrical fairytale is billed as a young adult novel, but like all the very best young adult novels, this is a book that can (and should be!) enjoyed by grown ups too.
“When I saw that this book reminds me simultaneously of E. Nesbit, James Thurber, and the late Eva Ibbotson, I don't mean to take anything awy from its astonishing originality. It's a charmer from the first page, managing the remarkable parlay of being at once ridiculously funny and surprisingly suspenseful. Catherynne Valente is a find, at any age!" -- Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn
"This book is quite simply a gold mine." -- Booklist, Starred Review
"Amusing, wrenching, and thought-provoking." -- The Horn Book
Fantastic fantasy!! Especially good for girls looking for heroic protagonists that resemble themselves.Published 2 days ago by Regina M. Cassady
The world of fairyland was strange and whimsical; it's told in a manner very similar to Wonderland. Each chapter was filled with colorful oddities each with it's own explanation... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
What a marvelous little book! Surprisingly complex and though provoking in a way I hadn't been expecting at all. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Abbey Fitting
This is most honestly my favorite book ever. I find the characters fun, the story involving, and the setting the perfect backdrop And Valente's writing style is absolutely... Read morePublished 15 days ago by MoCo Girl
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente is a wonderfully whimsical story reminiscent of classic children’s literature such as... Read morePublished 23 days ago by Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings
I just couldn't get into this book. I'm not sure if it was the writing style or the plot choices, but I felt disconnected.Published 25 days ago by Sally D. Bailey
September is a twelve year old girl who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. She lives an ordinary life, until one day when a Green Wind invites her on an adventure to help Fairyland. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Jamie W.
This book is awesome from start to finish! Oddly enough it doesn't have much of a plot.Published 1 month ago by Susan Bennett