|The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente, illustrated by Ana Juan. Feiwel & Friends, 2102.|
All children are heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb tall trees and say shocking things and leap so very high that grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) - from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
This quote was the first of many, many passages in Catherynne M. Valente's first children's book that I fell in love with. I copied it down. I ate it like candy. I worried as I read that a book so full of rich moments of narration would ultimately be bogged down under their flowery weight, overwritten and laughable. But no. I continued to love the book. I wanted to be young September, traveling through a weird, wild Fairyland, saving the fairy world from the evil Marquess.
Never mind the fact that I was almost 34 years old. Please.
I have decided these are children's books for grown-ups. Grown-ups who still surround themselves with whimsy (my husband has crowned me the Queen of Whimsy - sometimes I'm not so sure that's meant to be a good thing) and would throw on wings and a headdress for fun, if they could possibly get away with it.
This book was perfect for a late autumn read, Christmas lights twinkling in the next room, stove-popped popcorn and hot chocolate on hand.
Time permitting, I think I'll pay a visit to the weird world of Wildwood next - another sequel awaits! - while continuing the trek to the Emerald City and stranger places in the fairyland of Oz. I can't wait to take my youngest to The Dainty China Country for the first time!
Merry Weekend and Happy Reading!
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