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

Published 7th June 2012 by Corsair (previously an ebook)

Winner of the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011.

Imaginative and witty, complex and memorable, this is a fantastical fairyland full of magical characters. In true fairy story style young September is whisked off by the Green Wind and the Leopard of Little Breezes to visit Fairyland. Along the way she meets a host of quirky friends including ‘A through L’ the book loving wyverary (a wyvern who’s father was a library), the half-a-whole twins Neither and Nor and the 112 year old orange lantern who speaks in golden looped writing. 

Wondering from time to time if she is on a good adventure, or not, September encounters the villainous Marquess and is ordered on a mission to retrieve a special sword. Meanwhile a forgotten key is having it’s own adventure…

The ideas and imagination of the story are captivating and the characters linger in my mind long after reading, but there was something about this that didn’t quite gel for me. I felt it was perhaps trying too hard to be whimsical, which at times made it feel over fussy and detracted from its innate whimsy. However, it was an enjoyable read and I can imagine it being a great bedtime storybook for reading aloud with your child.

A delightful book reminiscent of old classics Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz, I would definitely recommend joining September as she circumnavigates fairyland in a ship of her own making.