Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Silver Elf In Oz

You know, there aren't a lot of Christmas Oz books. I wasn't really expecting this to be one. When I heard of A Silver Elf in Oz, I thought of Himself the Elf from Handy Mandy in Oz.

Turns out, the elf is one of Santa's elves who help him in his secondary base in the North Pole. (A little explanation to reconcile Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus with Thompson's The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa.)

John the Silver Elf is fed up with working in a non-profit organization like Santa Claus' gift giving outfit, and decides to start business for himself. He leaves the North Pole for a little town in New Mexico called Ciudad del Nino.

Two children named Gideon and Faith left their Ciudad del Nino home to go to Santa Claus to see if he can do anything about all the crime. However, they meet John who has them help him steal a wagon and start his business. Back at their home, their parents are frantic with worry.

Meanwhile, in Oz (because Oz is in this book!), Glinda is following the events in her Book of Records and begins to inquire as to how the people in Oz might help.

Oz isn't in the story much, and despite the title, John doesn't go to Oz, but it makes for a very enjoyable read. Chris Dulabone and Marin Xiques have a style that would normally seem a little irreverent, but it actually works great for an Oz book. Chris even has John say that Santa couldn't publish and sell Oz books at cost, which was Buckethead Enterprises' business model.

The book is illustrated by "Anon E. Mouse," who the back blurb identifies as Marcus Mebes. ... Funny thing is, it says Marcus is "late," meaning... dead... The book is even dedicated to his memory... But... isn't he editing Oziana now? Didn't he send me those color plates for Outsiders? How was he dead in 1996?

Marcus says: "Alternate realities and time warps are dangerous things."

Anyway... I really like his work in this one. His child characters look great in this one! And his John is lovably villainous, and his Santa Claus is very friendly.

The book is also very nicely produced. Right on the cover, the grey you see is actually silver accents. The text has a bit of an odd look for an Oz book, but after you get used to it, it's charming for a Christmas story.

You can order a copy here.

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