Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wooglet in Oz

And here's a book by Hugh Pendexter III, a guy who really knew his Oz. One of his really popular Oz works was "Oz and the Three Witches," a story set right after Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, reconciling the two different accounts of Ozma's abduction in that book and The Marvelous Land of Oz.

That had first been published as a booklet in 1977, but Hugh's love for Oz didn't abate, and he even examined how magic worked in the Oz series. The 1990s found Hugh writing more Oz stories to be published by Buckethead Enterprises of Oz. The first was The Crocheted Cat of Oz in 1991. The book at hand, Wooglet in Oz, was published in 1993.

Wooglet, her uncle Chris (publisher Chris Dulabone), and their burro Cosmo get caught in a blizzard while camping. They get caught in a giant birds' nest, and Wooglet, a little girl who loves the Oz books, suspects they're in the Jackdaw's nest from The Marvelous Land of Oz, and begins looking around and finds the lost Wishing Pills, using one to wish them out of this.

The three find themselves on Takers' Island, full of people who are exiled from Oz because they didn't want to live under Ozma's semi-communist rule. Among them is Dr. Nikidik, who still works magic, but is limited. However, they soon realize they need to get to Oz by whatever means possible, as a fiend named Braxus is going to take Zog's evil magic supplies and use them to conquer Oz!

So, aside from Baum's Oz books, this book also draws from The Sea Fairies and The Pearl and the Pumpkin, a book W.W. Denslow illustrated. Hugh also draws many points together, trying to put the Dr. Nikidik and Dr. Pipt continuity confusion at last, and offering a different explanation for why Tip got a stomachache from a wishing pill.

While these continuity bits might stick out, the story doesn't get stuck on them and flows pretty smoothly. And the characterizations of Wooglet, Uncle Chris, and Cosmo are so well-developed, it's fun to read about them.

The book is sparsely illustrated by David St. Albarns with seven images, including the cover art. The art is well-detailed and immerses you in the story, but a result of only seven means we don't see the classic Oz characters (the last few chapters are not illustrated at all), so we can't see if the artist viewed Oz as Neill and Denslow's Oz or if he had his own ideas.

Overall, I enjoyed it!

You can get a copy here.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

David St. Albans illustrated a few other Buckethead books as well, including Deadly Desert and Bungle and the Magic Lantern, so you can see his takes on a few familiar characters in those.