Book Review, Books!, Middle Grade March, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente

Hey all, Dani here.

It’s Thursday! And I’m in for a long shift at work today, so that should be a fun time. Anyway, I am finally able to bring you all my first review for my Middle Grade March reading. It is a book that I have thought about picking up several times over the last few years, but I just kept putting it off.

So I finally went on to the Libby app from my library, and was able to very easily borrow a digital copy and start reading. I’m actually really enjoying the Libby app. It’s pretty easy to use, and many of the functions and controls while reading are similar to that of other e-reading apps such as NOOK or Kindle. Okay, I should also point out that this post is definitely not sponsored by Libby. They probably have no idea that I’m talking about how much I’m liking their app, but I figured I would share the bookish information with all of you in case your library has teamed up with Libby for all your e-book and audiobook borrowing needs. Though I haven’t actually tried an audiobook through Libby yet; perhaps I should try that sometime.

Anyway, let’s just go ahead and jump into today’s review.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland

Book Details

Format: e-book

Pages: 246

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 142992313X (ISBN13: 9781429923132)


Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This book was cute and magical and whimsical and a fantastical portal fantasy adventure tale, and I’m so glad I read it. Yes, I’ve read plenty of wildly fantastical adult fantasy, and YA fantasy, but I think there is a special level of wild whimsy that can only be achieved with books targeting younger readers. You know, those types of readers who can so very easily suspend their disbelief and go running through the wilds of their imagination.

That’s what I really love about reading middle grade books. It doesn’t matter that I’m almost 32 years old, and these books are aimed at typically 8-12 year olds. I read for the stories, I read for the journeys of the characters, I read to escape the dull monotony of my day-to-day world.

September is a very precocious protagonist, and her friends A-through-L and Saturday were both really cool, and all the other characters who appeared were each fantastically unique in their own ways. There were so many oddball creatures in this story. You could easily follow each of them in mannerism and dialogue, which was really cool. I enjoyed the riddles and puzzles, and even following September’s whimsical yet logical mind.

When I really got into the book, I just kept flipping the pages, faster and faster, wanting to devour it and fully immerse myself into the story. I wanted to see how the adventure would conclude. I wanted to see if September would end up helping the friends she made along the way, and I wanted to know if she would stay in Fairyland or go home to Nebraska.

I definitely plan to read the rest of the series. And these are probably books I’ll buy for my niece in a few years. She’ll be turning 3 this year, so she’s not quite ready for these just yet.

Where to Get a Copy

You can grab your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore through IndieBound.

You can also check with your local library.

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