The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

She did it again! She did it again! She did it again!

The new book to grab is The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There.(I know titles should be underlined but I can’t remember how to underline on this blog so bold will have to do) This one smells like…my Kindle case. Leathery. (sorry purists! Take off your judging pants!)


Catherynne M.Valente has written another book in her series about a girl named September and her trips to Fairyland. I have blogged in the past about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. I loved that book because it was a fantasy story that made me feel like fantasies are actually possible and that fantastic stories can hold lessons for everyday life. This book is more of the same AWESOMESAUCE.


Valente has a way with words that I haven’t seen in a very long time. There were moments when I had to stop reading and just let some of her words ‘sink’ into my brain. I kept shaking my head and thinking that this was way to ‘deep’ for a children’s book. Then I remembered that C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”  Why shouldn’t a fairy story be full of amazing writing that adults can appreciate?

In this story September returns to find her beloved Fairyland in serious trouble. The culprit? September’s own shadow who now goes by the name of Halloween. Halloween is stealing all the shadows of Fairyland and pulling them to Fairyland below, the place she rules as the Hollow Queen. With each shadow lost, Fairyland above loses more magic. September is determined to save the world she loves and goes on another amazing adventure with interesting new friends and old favorites making appearances.September is older now and the lessons she learns in this book touch on the difficulties of adolescence and life changes in graceful detail. On her journey September finds that her own life back in Omaha is far more intertwined with Fairyland than anyone could have imagined. The end of the book left me with some questions and I am  eagerly (note:obsessively) waiting on the next book! (I believe the whole series will be five books.)


Ana Juan, who illustrated The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, is back again much to my glee! The illustrations are amazing- interesting, lovely, and ever so slightly reminiscent of the whimsy of Lewis Carroll (without the creepiness!).


Here is are some  of my favorite quotes:

Hearts are such difficult creatures, which is why children are spared the trouble of them…Hearts set about finding other hearts the moment they are born, and between them, they weave nest so frightfully strong and tight that you end up bound forever in hopeless knots, even to the shadow of a beast you knew and loved long ago.

Coffee is a kind of magic you can drink. It’s a drink that’s a little bit alive- that’s how it makes you feel so alive and awake.

She did not know yet how sometimes people keep parts of themselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often brave or wild or colorful parts,cunning, or powerful or even marvelous,beautiful parts, just locked up away at the bottom of their hearts. They do this because they are afraid of the world and being stared at, or relied upon to do feats of bravery or boldness.

I could continue to bludgeon you with my love of this book- or you could just go read it. Doesn’t the second one sound less painful? Please find a friend to read this with you-it is a book to love and discuss. (Or at least I thought so and now I am selfishly attempting to get more of you to read it so I can FINALLY chat with someone about it.)



I fell absolutely in love with Catkin the first time I read it out loud to my second grade class. The tale  by Antonia Barber is about a peculiarly small ginger cat named Catkin. The wise woman who owns Catkin’s mother gives Catkin as a gift to a good farmer and his wife. The wise woman tells Catkin that his job is to guard the good farmer’s daughter Carrie. Catkin and Carrie become fast friends and all is well until one sunny day Catkin is distracted by a butterfly and  leaves  Carrie sleeping unattended in the forrest. The magical Little People are wandering about on that lovely spring day and they come across the slumbering girl and take her with them back to their home under the green hill. Catkin finds a slightly changed Carrie where he left her and does not realize what has happened until the wise woman declares that it is not Carrie at all but a ‘changeling’ that will eventually disappear, leaving the farmer and his wife childless.

Catkin is a valiant main character whose true  loyalty, goodness, and wit unfold as he goes on a journey to save Carrie and fulfill his obligation to protect her.

Children are enthralled by  this tale of kidnapping, magic, riddles, and love. The story is long and I had to read it over several days but it was worth it each time the class collectively gasped or fist pumped in response to Catkin’s trials and triumphs. The gorgeous illustrations by P.J. Lynch add to the magic of the reading experience.