Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Smith & Stout

Okay, so here are my opinions on The Emerald Wand of Oz and Trouble Under Oz by Sherwood Smith, illustrated by William Stout.

I found both to be very well written Oz books. For once, Oz books that are Ozzy, but modern! The books center around sisters Dori and Em, who may be descended from a close relative of Dorothy Gale.

Dori has an old snowglobe that shows an Emerald palace. She's read the Oz books countless times, while her little sister Em, has only seen the MGM movie, which doesn't help when both sisters are blown to Oz!

Dori and Em find themselves in a valley of unicorns, who are cared for by children. Only thing is... the kids are not allowed to leave. Dori and Em must find a way out, and they meet a strange ragged boy named Rik. And what's wrong with Glinda?

In Trouble Under Oz, Dori returns to Oz to help Rik get the Nome Kingdom from the current Nome King, Kaliko. But all isn't as it seems.

So, these books are great. One of my very few complaints is with William Stout's pictures: there isn't enough. Another is also with the pictures. In Trouble, Smith notes that Dori has long hair, but Stout draws her with short hair. (Somewhat resembling the famous bob Dorothy had in Neill's pictures.

My only other complaint is that in Emerald Wand, Smith claims that Oz time runs differently to real-world time, similar to how it goes in C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. Baum (and MGM) never insinuated this. Perhaps Smith realized that, too. In Trouble, she doesn't mention it, and the idea seems to be dropped in true Baumian fashion.

Great books, and I hope Smith can get her next book published.

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