This was loaned to me by a friend who said he and his teen daughter loved the whole series, and it is delightful. As someone who grew up with the Oz books, it felt familiar, like a love letter to all our favorite childhood books.
September is 12, living in Nebraska and feeling bored. When the Green Wind calls her ‘somewhat irascible’ and offers a trip to Fairyland, she jumps at the chance. She feels a little bad about not waving goodbye to her mother as she zooms off on the back of the Leopard of Little Breezes (the Green Wind’s loyal steed), but figures she’ll be home soon.
September expects Fairyland to be like all the books, but finds things much harder than she expected. She doesn’t know where to go or what to do once she gets there, and just kind of stumbles around getting into or out of trouble until she happens upon a couple of Quests and Companions (including a wyvern named A-Through-L whose father is a library – bliss!). Fairyland is under the rule of a terrible Marquess, and of course September feels the need to do some vanquishing. It’s a lot for a 12 year old, and she faces obstacles big (death threats!) and small (hunger).
Some of it felt pretty dark for a kids book, but then I remembered some of the creepier bits of Oz, and the darkness of the original fairy tales, and I started appreciating how Valente doesn’t talk down to younger readers. September is resourceful and smart, the chapter illustrations are gorgeous, and I want a wyverary of my very own.