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

Catherynne M. Valente, Author, Ana Juan, Illustrator
Catherynne M. Valente, illus. by Ana Juan. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-64961-6
Reviewed on: 03/14/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4418-7764-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4418-7765-9
Paperback - 328 pages - 978-1-78033-981-8
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-986-6026-24-9
Paperback - 328 pages - 978-1-78033-833-0
Prebound-Glued - 247 pages - 978-0-606-26128-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-7565-8
Compact Disc - 6 pages - 978-1-4558-7564-1
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4558-1350-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4418-7762-8
Paperback - 247 pages - 978-1-250-01019-3
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-2313-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4418-7760-4
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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. (May)
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