What We’re Reading Wednesday

Another edition of WWRW!  I love this link-up, hosted by Jessica.  It forces encourages me to read more and to share more about what I do find time to read. And it’s a great way to make it through Hump Day.


I don’t remember where I saw this book, and I really wish I did, because I want to thank whoever recommended it to me.The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, besides having one of the best titles I’ve ever come across, is a fabulous piece of literature.

September is a lonely girl from Omaha, Nebraska. Green Wind, astride his flying leopard, appears at her kitchen window one day and spirits her off to Fairyland. He can’t accompany her in due to Immigration Regulations, but September braves her way in anyway. There she makes friends (A not-a-dragon wyvern named A-through-L and a blue marid named Saturday), makes enemies and tries to free Fairyland from the clutches of the childish child-queen, the Marquess. If I had to compare it to another story the obvious choice would be Alice in Wonderland. However, I never liked Alice in Wonderland and I devoured this book. So, sorrynotsorry Mr. Lewis Carrol?

The prose is such that I found myself re-reading whole paragraphs in order to enjoy them again. If I were ever to write a fiction novel, this is style I would be proud to write. The author, Cynthia Valente, has a gift for turns of phrase and allegories. She also makes creative use of the narrator, sharing “secrets” with the reader in a a truly engaging way. The details are so vivid, I can completely picture this as a movie, although I dread the day that actually happens. I doubt a movie would ever be as magical as this book is. There were one or two places in the story where I felt the plot struggled along due to lengthy descriptive passages, but it didn’t taint the book for me. Another aspect that made me smile: the chapter titles, subtitles and illustrations.

I originally bought this book planning to read it aloud to my girls, ages 6 and 8. I’ve reconsidered. One, while my daughters’ vocabulary is certainly passable, there were words that even I was unfamiliar with. (“Widdershins,” anyone?) I think some of the magic of the book would be lost in frequently stopping to share definitions. Two, I felt that some of the emotions of the book were too intense for my young girls. Not that I’m overly protective, but that they either wouldn’t understand the melancholy/longing/loneliness/intensity or that they might possibly be disturbed by it. Not having older girls, it’s hard to guess what age would be more appropriate, but I think probably the 10 and up crowd might be better suited. I certainly found it a great read and will be reading the rest in the series. I think it will appeal to any teen or adult who likes fantasy/fairytales.

One final note, because I know most of my WWRW readers are Catholic moms. There are some unusual “families” in Fairyland. 2 sister witches are married to 1 male witch, the marids “find” their families as they go through life, etc. I thought long and hard about how that affected my feelings towards (eventually) giving this book to my kids. I’ve decided that I would be fine with it since they are in Fairyland after all, and all sorts of odd and unusual things happen there that aren’t pertinent to real life. But I wanted to give a heads-up anyway in case any of you would make a different choice. If you want more detail about the situations, feel free to email me.

Click on over to Jessica @ Housewifespice to get more great book recommendations.



  1. So excited to read this, going on my list, about ten books down, but still, it’s there.
    Rebekah Es recently posted…Seven Quick Phone TakesMy Profile

  2. I am glad you liked it! I was not the one who recommended it but now I am even more sure I will be getting the set when that is released.

  3. Widdershins! Hardly a day goes by when I don’t use my widdershins.

    There are lots of places in The Hobbit and The Two Towers where I think “the plot struggles due to lengthy descriptive passages.” And Laura Ingalls Wilder spent A WHOLE CHAPTER describing how to make a door. For real. Like I needed to know how to make the leather hinges. Gee widdershins.

    I am so reading this asap!
    Jessica @ housewifespice recently posted…WWRW: Boston Jane: Wilderness DaysMy Profile

    • That’s a really good point about The Hobbit and LOTR. I am always scared of recommending a book only to have someone (that I respect) hate it. So maybe that’s why I was careful to point that out.


  1. […] I just finished Catherynne Valente’s book The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There.  This is the second in the series, and if you’d like to read my much more detailed view of the first book, click here. […]

  2. […] few months ago, I reviewed a book called The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.  I had originally […]