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

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

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.

Book Worms Discussion Date: September 20, 2012

Discussion Questions

  1. What, do you think, the author is suggesting when he so clearly indicates that September and the Marquess are physically quite similar, a comment The Marchess also makes.
  2. How do the various stages of the archetypal Hero’s Journey, manifest in September’s story?
  3. What do you think is the meaning of the secret Calpurnia whispers into Saturday’s ear in Chapter 11 (see “Quotes”, p. 131-2)? What circumstances and challenges eventually faced by September do you think Calpurnia’s whisper is foretelling?
  4. What did you think of the narrator and of the book’s classic feel? What do you think it adds to the story?
  5. September met a lot of characters along her journey. Which was your favourite? Why?
  6. What did you think of September herself? What was your favourite thing about her?
  7. What did you think of September’s thoughts on the war being fought at home? She believes her father has abandoned her and her mother is often not at home. Do you think this reflects how many children felt during the World Wars?

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