So, if you go to an Oz convention by a Greyhound when you live in the middle of the country, here's something you should do: bring plenty of Oz books. I brought eight books I hadn't read before and picked up three more I hadn't read before at the convention. Grand total read: nine. So... how's about we split up this big review into three?
This is not a traditional Oz book. It runs with the idea that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz actually happened, but, despite Baum's introduction, was not written solely as a story to please children, but as a way to let people know about another world. Thus, the sequels didn't actually happen, at least, not as they were written.
Young Donald Gardner's mother buys a mysterious silver shoe, and one day, he brings it to show and tell at school, when someone notes that it reminds her of The Wizard of Oz. How correct she is! But the shoes aren't just a pair of metalcraft that do magic things when you click the heels. There is, in fact, so much more. And there are people who want those shoes, both in our world and in Oz who would do terrible things if they got their hands on them.
The story is very riveting and I finished it in the first few hours on my bus ride. Once it's clear that it's not a traditional story, I decided to enjoy it. Paul's text is enjoyable and very readable. While the book is not illustrated, the descriptions are vivid enough to give you an idea of the story's look.
I look forward to getting the sequel, Powder of Life, soon.
Buy Silver Shoes from Amazon.
The Red Gorilla of Oz by Richard Capwell
Something is seriously wrong in Oz. The tribe of Red Gorillas has seen that their Eternal Flame has gone out. They send Prince Sebastian to seek Glinda's help in restoring it, and along the way, he is joined by Priscilla, a young Kalidah.
Everywhere else in Oz, something else has been happening. Jack Pumpkinhead, Scraps, and everyone else brought to life by the Powder of Life stops living, and even a few other manufactured people who we didn't think the Powder had ever touched, such as the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and Chopfyt! What caused these calamaties and how can it be fixed?
I liked the story, but it did wind up setting a few rules for Capwell's continuing Oz series (he's already published a follow up) that has made me kind of reject it as being in continuity with my own Oz series. Nothing too serious, but I am a nitpicker for details like that. Overall though, a strong first entry for a new Oz writer.
Buy The Red Gorilla of Oz on Amazon.
Long title, really short book. Reera the Red wants to have a baby and hears how she can get one by finding the Enchanted Easter Eggs. She goes off on a search to find them, but finds something else entirely.
The story feels really short and wraps up rather quickly. There's an odd chapter that doesn't really have anything to do with the plot. Though, quite possibly, it is supposed to be how things appear in Glinda's Book of Records, which is kind of cool.
Overall, good story, but I kind of feel like it should have been part of a larger collection.
I rather like A. E. Mouse's pictures here. His adult humans are quite elegant, the ladies beautiful, the gentlement are handsome. Even his Rinkitink is charming!
Buy your copy from Tails of the Cowardly Lion and Friends.