Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente is a book I would recommend to a reader who is looking for something different. It’s an original story that’s not original at all; it twists your fairy tales and the stories you already know and combines them into a world that explains these stories. For me it took a while to read it. I think that the pace differs from the usual children’s story, but it did not mean that I disliked it. Typically slow books make me stop halfway, but this tale interested me enough to continue reading it. If I had to come up with a comparative author, it might by Lemony Snicket, but only because of his originality. The narrator of this book isn’t September, but a hidden one who reminds the reader what stories like this is supposed to do and I appreciated that quality.

September is a heroine like no other. She does what she thinks is best and doesn’t consider herself a hero (my favorite type of hero). She makes interesting friends and questions her surroundings. She’s a girl you want your daughters to emulate. While she does cry, she knows why she’s crying. She cares more about her friends, but also her parents and figures out which one needs her the most. A-Through-L is a clever dragon that you’ll immediately love and Saturday is such a peculiar boy (with an off-handed comment at the end that gets you excited for book #2) that you can’t help but want to hear more from. I started this book with doubts. I had picked it up before, but the artwork didn’t capture my attention to be honest and the title was so long it looked like something I wouldn’t be interested in. Despite that, my boss recommended it to me, so I read it. I’m very glad I did and think I’ll be reading the next one.

Would I recommend this to children; its declared audience? I’m not sure actually. If they loved the oddity of Lemony Snicket, maybe so. There are words that will make you look it up in the dictionary, but later on, the narrator reminds the reader that September likes long words. I think it’s a book for a Middle School age kid who loves to do nothing more than to read.


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