Music Pairings: The Fairyland series, by Catherynne M. Valente

This wonderfully-written small series starts out with a 12-year-old girl, September, living her own life with only her mother and her father away at war until one night she falls into another dimension where she meets the best of friends and starts the adventure that has been waiting for her since the day she was born.

girl_who1The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making

She woke up to world full of vibrant colors and rich foods with birds and all sorts of animals welcoming her to Fairyland.  She learns many things including an expedition of her own and also finds out things she might not have wanted to know.  September discovers the ‘enemy’ is just a mirror of herself.   She battles her own brains and wits.  Her time has run out in Fairyland.  She must return to civilization.

The perfect soundtrack for this scene would be Get Back by the Beatles because the song shows that life is not perfect, and sometimes you have to ‘Get Back to where you once belonged’. She returns to a place where there is smog everywhere, the food on her plate is not good quality, and where the birds sing a sad tired song instead of a skipping happy one in Fairyland.  Will September accomplish what she set out to do?  Would the final song be We are the Champions by Queen while the credits roll?

girl_who2The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

September has been waiting for almost a year to go back to Fairyland.  If this were a movie, I think as they start the movie when the producer and executive producer–and the other almost ‘annoying’ information is displayed that just delays the start of the movie–the song should be You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones because she was expecting that she was going to be able to go to Fairyland again in the spring.   But like it says in the song ‘If you try sometimes, you just might find… you get what you need!’  September got what was needed.  On the night of September’s 13th birthday, she was called into the delight of Fairyland.  Instead of Fairyland-Above, she fell beneath Fairyland where she went on another adventure, but this time without her normal friends.  She strived to get the one part of the puzzle that will satisfy her forever.  I picture the song We are Family by Sister Pledge connected with this scene for the emotion.  When she walked back home that night, she saw two figures talking under the porch light.  She ran toward them…

I would recommend these 10-out-of-10 novels to any middle grader who thinks they have a spark of adventure in them.

-Maya S., 6th grade

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