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

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

September is a girl who longs for adventure. When she is invited to Fairyland by a Green Wind and a Leopard, well, of course she accepts. (Mightn’t you?) But Fairyland is in turmoil, and it will take one 12-year-old girl, a book-loving dragon, and a strange and almost human boy named Saturday to vanquish an evil Marquess and restore order.
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Publisher's Summary

September is a girl who longs for adventure. When she is invited to Fairyland by a Green Wind and a Leopard, well, of course she accepts. (Mightn’t you?) But Fairyland is in turmoil, and it will take one 12-year-old girl, a book-loving dragon, and a strange and almost human boy named Saturday to vanquish an evil Marquess and restore order.

©2011 Catherynne M. Valente (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This is a kind of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by way of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - it's the sort of book one doesn't want to end." (Publisher's Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (288 )
5 star
 (137)
4 star
 (69)
3 star
 (38)
2 star
 (25)
1 star
 (19)
Overall
4.2 (256 )
5 star
 (138)
4 star
 (58)
3 star
 (34)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (11)
Story
3.8 (259 )
5 star
 (112)
4 star
 (60)
3 star
 (33)
2 star
 (25)
1 star
 (29)
Performance
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  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 04-27-12
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 04-27-12 Member Since 2015

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nurturing your child within"

    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is a really excellent fantasy for everyone who still has a child within. The narration (by the author) is perfect and adds much to the experience. Although not as good as Through the Looking Glass, it is pretty darn good. I enjoyed the characters, the subtle humor and lyric prose. Although slightly dark the spirit is bright and comforting. I wish my daughter was eight years old again. This would make a nice continuing bed time story.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 09-15-11
    David 09-15-11 Member Since 2012

    Indiscriminate Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1475
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    "The most charming book I have read since childhood"

    "All children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb tall trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown."

    This book is every fairy tale and children's story and sad and happy and thrilling and scary Disney movie you ever saw, back when you were young enough for Disney movies to be taken at face value and you hadn't learned how to be cynical yet. Catherynne Valente writes with beautiful fairy tale prose that still sounds contemporary, and she balances the zaniness and fantasy of a down-the-rabbit-hole adventure with the darkness of true fairy tales and the lurking shadow of adulthood that only the finest children's authors can blend into a children's story without turning it either absurd or rendering it into something clever, something maybe even fun but not quite timeless. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is a story that should become immortal. It should join Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz and The Chronicles of Narnia and yes, Harry Potter on the shelf of books for Every Child in the World.

    I don't read much YA, and I read very little MG fiction, but this book won my heart and turned me into that 10-year-old who knew he was reading something wonderful again. If you have kids, read this to them, and if you don't, read it for yourself, because it's clever and subtle enough that even adults will find their hearts touched.

    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making begins with an ordinary 12-year-old girl named September who is taken by the Green Wind to Fairyland. It's so sudden and arbitrary it takes you a while to realize that Valente is very deliberately telling you right up front: "Yes, this is one of those stories where a child gets whooshed off to a magical world, and I'm not even going to bother making up a warddrobe or a tornado or a letter from Hogwarts to justify it." No, the Green Wind, wearing green jodphurs and with gold-green hair, just up and carries her away. On a leopard.

    September, who is an ordinary girl with ordinary levels of intelligence, bravery, compassion, and maturity, then has Adventures. She makes friends. She is scared. She gets hurt. She is betrayed. And she discovers why she was brought to Fairyland. At every step, Valente shows a conscientious awareness of all the stories she is paying homage to -- sometimes she winks at them slyly, sometimes she practically dances them across the page complete with ruby slippers -- but this isn't a rip-off or a copy or a retelling, it's a new story. And September is awesome.

    I swear that every child who has ever loved a book, and every adult who has ever been a child who loved a book, will enjoy this.

    Cathrynne Valente's narration isn't exactly professional caliber compared to the professionals who narrate most audiobooks, but she does of course know all the places to put emphasis and all the emotions each line is supposed to invoke and she conveys them well, so listening to the author read her own book is, in this case, not a bad experience at all.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Roggenkamp 11-17-12 Member Since 2014

    book fan

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "Subpar performance overshadows story"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    What is this thinking that the author of a book is somehow the best person to read the book. Not so in this case, AT ALL. The whiny character voices, the growly, too-low reading, the running out of breath before the end of sentences . . . seriously detracting from all else.


    Would you recommend The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making to your friends? Why or why not?

    not in audio form


    How could the performance have been better?

    Better reader.


    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A Reader 06-28-12
    A Reader 06-28-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    1
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    "Why do authors read their own books?"
    Would you be willing to try another one of Catherynne M. Valente’s performances?

    Nope. I never got through this one. Her voice, frankly, annoyed me so much that I simply couldn't listen for longer than 30 minutes.
    The only author I have - so far - been able to hear reading his own book, is Neil Gaiman. Everyone else has been a huge disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    The one star for story and for overall might very well be misleading. I never heard more than the first 30 minutes, then I turned it off, since I could not bear listening to the voice any more.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RockChalk HARPER WOODS, MI, US 07-20-15
    RockChalk HARPER WOODS, MI, US 07-20-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Why????? did I get a book read by the author!!!!!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who isn't annoyed by a boring, flavorless voice


    How could the performance have been better?

    A PROFESSIONAL reader! Why wasn't this done????


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Book is fine, reader is awful


    Any additional comments?

    The author has destroyed her own work......a beautiful, imaginiative, complex world reduced to cold oatmeal by her own bland voice. So sad. How did the producers let this happen???

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenton Highland Park, IL, United States 03-02-15
    Kenton Highland Park, IL, United States 03-02-15 Member Since 2007

    Middle-aged, married dad of two, living in Northern Burbs of Chicago. Hard Sci Fi addict, and lover of great storytelling. Almost all of my reading is now in audio format.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW!!"

    Like Alice in Wonderland, only relevant. It's poetry without the pretense.

    If you like a great bedtime fairytale read by a voice like spun honey on fresh bread from the oven. You'll LOVE the fairlyland series.

    Cannot WAIT to to read the next one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aysha Suhail 09-28-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "wish the writer wasn't reading it"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    maybe, not sure


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making?

    the ending scene when she fought with marid


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Catherynne M. Valente?

    Anyone honestly, with all do respect to the writer but she should just stick to writing. it was very hard for me to listen to hear voice.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    nope


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Joshua Tree, CA, United States 01-31-14
    Linda Joshua Tree, CA, United States 01-31-14 Member Since 2011

    I like fantasy, some sci-fi, quantum physics, psychology, neurology, some horror/thriller books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nope!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different author with a different narrator.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I didn't like and didn't get what the author was trying to covey. I was bored.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Friday 12-23-13
    Friday 12-23-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The narration is bad enough that I won't finish."
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    They should have hired a professional to do the narration. The author spoke too fast, needs to work on enunciation and has no skill at verbally bringing the characters to life. Very few authors are also good readers. I am disappointed because I was looking forward to listening to this story.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Board Reno, nv 03-09-13
    David Board Reno, nv 03-09-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    5
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    "The language charms the story captivates"
    If you could sum up The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making in three words, what would they be?

    Charming Captivating language


    What did you like best about this story?

    The writing and language.


    What does Catherynne M. Valente bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Narration by the author can be over done especially for a book that depends so much on the language but she does not over do the reading. She remains playful in her reading making the word play and stylized language part of the story and part of the fun.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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