Thursday, September 13, 2012

Velocipedes and A Wyverary

I am so excited people, I have found a new book to place on my shelf of favorites!!!!   I had high hopes for this book, but was a little nervous that it could not live up to my lofty expectations, but my faith was rewarded and my this little book soared into my heart.  What is this gem of which I speak?  It is a middle grade book called The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.  Just a quick heads up, this is gonna be even more rambley than usual 'cause this book makes me so happy/squealy.  I think it was the title that first caught my interest, I love big huge long title, they make me smile and of course fairyland being mentioned in the title put it smack dab in the middle of my radar.  This is a book I really wanted to buy in book form instead of electronic form, it is an example of why I hope book printing will never totally go away, this would have been fine to read electronically, but part of the appeal of it was it's sheer bookyness (yes that is to a word).  There are amazing illustrations at the beginning of each chapter that add a great ambiance to the book, they are very whimsical and my nephews loved looking at them asking me over and over to flip through the pages with them.

Ok on to the story itself.  The story is a very straightforward simple classic one, a girl from our world is whisked of to fairyland to defeat the evil queen and bring happiness back to the land.  This is pretty much standard for any run of the mill story, but it's the way in which this adventure is written that makes it so amazing!  To me the best part of the writing is the words, oh all of the amazing words the author manages to cram into this small book!  It is written for grades 4-8, but the author does not simplify at all, in fact one of my favorite quotes in this book sums it up nicely “... but as has been said, September read often, and liked it best when words did not pretend to be simple, but put on their full armor and rode out with colors flying."  I love love love love love love all of the amazing words in this book! The book actually has a little bit of The Phantom Tollbooth feel to it with all of the awesome wordage and the journey through crazy cool places. Another cool thing in the book is the names, our heroine's name is September (which while not quit as good as October is still a kick-ass name)  she meets a friend the blue Saturday, a dragon who is really a wyvern with a library for a father who is named A through L and the missing queen Mallow.
Our intrepid September, travels to Fairyland where she encounters a city made entirely of cloth, rides a herd of wild velocipedes, stays in the most amazing land of Autumn and takes a ship of her own making out on the Perverse and Perilous Sea.  She meets all kinds of strange and wonderful creatures, including her own death a Gleam a lamp of 112 years.  She eventually succeeds in her quest after much angst and heartache and is rewarded by the promise she can return to Fairyland every year.
You have to read this book, I don't know what else to say about this wonderfully delightful book so I will leave you with a few more of my favorite quotes.

“She sounds like someone who spends a lot of time in libraries, which are the best sorts of people.”

“Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.” 

“I'm not lost, because I haven't any idea where to go that I might get lost on the way to. I'd like to get lost, because then I'd know where I was going, you see.” 

Do you love this book as much as I do?  Do you want to go buy and orange dress and a green coat?  Do you like when an author does not sugar coat and simplify things just because they are writing for the younger crowd?

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