Thursday, December 29, 2011

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

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

Coconut (age 8) loved this book. I only liked it. 3 stars. Maybe three and a half stars.

Twelve year old September is invited by the Green Wind to visit Fairyland. While in Fairyland she has many adventures, does a bit of growing up and overcoming selfishness, and finds out that everything isn't as it seems in the mystical land. She learns that it isn't always easy to do the right thing, and that being a hero takes determination and hard work.

Well written, fabulous vocabulary, engaging illustrations, unexpected occurrences, great adventures.

Coconut is definitely her own person, and I think she identified with the character of September. She had big plans for a book club party for this book . . . and it had lots of potential. We filled the back of the book with food and craft and connection book ideas.

So, why did I give it only three stars (a low rating for me)?  I think because I read it with Coconut rather than Cupcake or Dancegirl. At first glance, it seems like a perfect fit for my eight year old, (even though one of my favorite reviewers Betsey Bird billed it as a 9-12  year old book--most of the books I read with Coconut are billed as 9-12 year old reads)  but as I read it I thought it had too much talk of blood and a somewhat weird occurrence at the end (SEMI SPOILER ALERT) where September and Saturday wrestle and end up with a child (No sex, but what sorts of imagery could be read into THAT?) I couldn't endorse it as a book club party book because I'm not sure other mothers would respond positively. (And I'm not a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, and this kept bringing up images of that story, so I had a negative bias at random points in the story)

I will ask Cupcake if she is interested in reading it . . . and see if my opinion changes with a slightly older audience.

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