Friday, June 1, 2012

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

by Catherynne M. Valente
Rated: PG

"You seem an ill-tempered and irascible enough child. How would you like to come away with me and ride upon the Leopard of Little Breezes and be delivered to the great sea, which borders Fairyland?" With those words on a gusty evening in May, the Green Wind offered the adventure of a lifetime to 12-year-old September. September, who was feeling more than a little tired of her routine life and even more tired of washing the pink and yellow teacups sitting in the sudsy sink, climbed out the window and onto the Leopard. What an amazing place Fairyland was - full of amazing creatures and stories. But it didn't take long before September realized that something was very wrong - and it all led back to the ruler of Fairyland, the Marquess. With her new friends, September must find a way to defeat the Marquess, set things right, and bring joy back to Fairyland.

Ms. Valente has a fluid and humorous writing style that kept me happily reading from beginning to end. The story is written in an odd mix of adult and child. The story is definitely a tween story but the vocabulary and some of the mythological references might be hard for them to understand. That mix was part of the charm for me, though, since I could read a book meant for tweens and still truly enjoy it myself. And I have no problem imagining my 11-year-old niece loving it when she reads it. The book has no curse words but it does have some adventure. In two spots, the book identifies September as being naked, although not at all in a sexual way. In the first, in order to find a city in Fairyland, she enters a bath house. A woman made of soap helps her bathe in several baths - one to shine up her courage, one to brush up her luck, etc. The second time, towards the end of the book, September has to make a raft in order to save her friends. She uses her coat to plug a leak and uses her dress to make a sail. She is alone on the raft except for a friendly lantern who saved her.

clean books, clean book reviews, books that are clean, clean books for tweens