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



Last updated Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0312649614
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2013

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn't . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday. With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when author Catherynne M. Valente first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful. From Amazon.com

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who knows what 'circumnavigated' means?
•  What do you think is in store for the girl in the cover illustration?
•  What are some of your favorite fantasy books? Why?

Vocabulary:
•  Ungainly- clumsy or awkward
•  Irascible- easily angered
•  Portentous- ominous, full of significance
•  Sacrosanct- extremely sacred, too important to be interfered with
•  Placid- calm, quiet, or peaceful
•  Lapel- the flap on the front of a coat or jacket
•  Flounder- to struggle to get footing/ thrash about wildly
•  Spangled- covered with sparkling objects

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why does the Green Wind take pity on September?
•  Why do you think the missing shoe will be important?
•  Why are children heartless, according to the narrator? Does September have a heart?
•  What does September discover about longitude and latitude?
•  What happens after September goes through "the puzzle of the world"? Why is this significant?
•  How is Fairyland similar to your grandmother's house, according to the narrator?
•  Why does September want to know if she's special?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw the earth as the Green Wind describes it on page 5
•  What does Betsy look like ( revisit description on page 16)? Draw her or your other favorite characters
•  Complete the provided word search

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!