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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
Read it and ready to read the next book in this series.
I don't have children of my own, but I think this story would be delightful for both adults and children...especially read to children by their parents.
And if that enjoyment seeps through the page and into the reader's perceptions, then here is a book that they'll clearly enjoy reading.
If I.Q. were a measure of strength of imagination, Catherynne Valente would most certainly be the Albert Einstein of writers. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by dang_rover
Read this Princess Bride style to my five year old, a chapter a night. Our first real foray outside of the abysmal little golden book style of bedtime stories; save the sainted Dr. Read morePublished 3 days ago by BobDobbs
Wonderful and imaginative read that takes a page from the likes of Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. Recommended for older children and the family. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Farrin
Wow! I love this book! It is officially on my favorite books list!! Read more
This is not a book for children up to age 14; it is a book for everyone of every age. It should be translated into, and printed and recorded in, every language.Published 19 days ago by Mari Mari
Huh. I was not expecting this to be a postmodern fairy tale, but that's what I got. Excellent, unpredictable, and chock full of whimsy and introspection in equal measure. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Ross Newberry
Pat Rothfuss reviewed this book and said it was great. I heartily agree. The only thing better than reading this book is reading it to a child. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Jenn
l love this book it is so interesting. It is a book that when you are reading it you will never guess what is going to happen next. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer