Friday, January 15, 2010

Recently Read Oz Books

Well, here's a listing of some Oz books I've read recently. I cut them short because some of them I haven't read for awhile, and also, I'm planning to do indepth blogs on all of the Famous Forty and the other Oz books by their authors. Three of these books fall in that category.

The Ork in Oz by Jack and Larry Brenton When Blinkie the Witch gets hold of the Giant with the Hammer and joins forces with Mombi and the Wisp (with a horde of wasps at his command), they quickly come up with a plan to conquer Oz for themselves. It's up to Orville the Ork and a boy from Ivalor named Irving to save Oz. Overall, a good story, but the whole "Baddies conquer Oz" plot is very old.

Yankee in Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson Tompy and Yankee the space dog arrive in Oz after a hurricane. Soon, they find themselves looking for the lost Princess Doffi of Wackajammy. However, when her captor, the giant Badmannah, decides to find a replacement, he turns his eyes to Princess Ozma! Another good story, but it felt very brief. One can tell that even 32 years after "Ozoplaning With The Wizard of Oz," Thompson was still struggling for ideas for a good Oz story.

Toto of Oz by Gina Wickwar Probably one of the better written Oz books in the lot. When the bride of the King of Kiltoon mysteriously vanishes, poet Sonny looks for something to cheer the King up, and thinks of Toto. A little boy named Davy and his new pony Lollipop wind up in Oz, with a mysterious tartan saddle blanket. And Toto himself goes off looking for his growl, which is missing again. How are all three of these plots connected? I was glad to see the three stories become one, and it is definitely one of the most beautifully and lavishly illustrated Oz books I've seen in a long time.

The Royal Book of Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson (I don't care what the cover said!) This was actually a re-read. When the Woggle-Bug points out that the Scarecrow has no family tree, he goes to look for the closest thing he has to one: the pole Dorothy found him on back in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." He soon discovers the Silver Islands, where he is hailed as the reincarnation of their Emperor. Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion head out to look for their old friend, and wind up meeting Sir Hokus of Pokes, the Yellow Knight of Oz. This story just never sat completely well with me, but it's filled with the whimsy that was Thompson's trademark. It was a nice bridging point between Baum and Thompson, however.

The Wicked Witch of Oz by Rachel Cosgrove Payes Singra, the Wicked Witch of the South, awakes from a century-long sleep Glinda placed her under. Hearing the fates of the Wicked Witches of the East and West, she decides to take preventive measures: turning Dorothy into a piece of cheese! But when she transforms Trot instead, Dorothy, Percy the Personality Kid, and new friend Leon the Neon are off to her rescue! Cosgrove writes the story in a suitably whimsical yet logical fashion, which feels right for Oz. The book is also excellently illustrated by Eric Shanower.


Sam A M said...

I LOVE "the Wicked Witch of Oz", and "Toto of Oz" sounds So TEMPTING, and certainly feels to be more interesting than Roger S Baum's "Toto in Candyland of Oz".

Nathan said...

Was your copy of Yankee in the old expanded size, or the new more standard one? It felt short to me as well, but that might have had something to do with the format. The plot also seemed to be somewhat thrown together, though, and I wasn't a big fan of Tompy and Yankee as characters.

Jared said...

It was the new edition.

ColinAyres said...

I agree Thompson had her day and was struggling for new ozzy ideas although her last two tales we're not without charm.

Just order the Hidden Prince by Wickwar on eBay, if I enjoy it then I will be looking to get Toto next.
If I enjoy it as much as the Paradox in Oz, then I personally will feel it's canonical.

I love both of the Cosgrove Payes books