Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bob and Chris

I have been taking it easy on blogging lately. Sometimes, you just need a break and when you have it, it takes awhile to come back.

It's been bugging me, though, because I have a number of Oz books that I've read...

Here are two by Chris Dulabone and Bob Evans. Up first is The Forest Monster of Oz. The giant spider the Cowardly Lion defeated in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is back and is stealing the life essence from the animals in the Lunechien Forest of Oz. It's up to a small band of brave animals to seek help from Ozma of Oz—the new ruler of the Emerald City—herself.

The story is set shortly after The Marvelous Land of Oz and follows the usual quest pattern, though the conclusion is a bit of a surprise and leaves everyone with a happy ending.

The other one is Abducted to Oz. Young Graham is suddenly grabbed by the Wicked Witch of the West and taken to Oz. This isn't the real Wicked Witch of the West, instead it's a parade float version that was brought to life, and thanks to a thought of Graham's at the moment she was brought to life, she looks a lot like Margaret Hamilton's version from the MGM movie. However, she believes she's the real thing, and that's bad enough!

Graham must escape the witch and get back home, but can he do it without letting everyone in Oz down now that they have a new Wicked Witch to deal with?

These two books are a lot of fun, but there's an issue with both: they each have a chapter that could easily be removed where the characters meet some form of a real historical figure who tells them their story. I can appreciate trying to be educational, but I don't feel it was integrated so well here. This is like reading The Lord of the Rings and suddenly finding a chapter where Frodo and Sam meet George Washington.

The chapter in Abducted works better than the one in Forest Monster. In Abducted, Graham finds an illusion airport where he boards a train and he meets a number of historical figures, such as William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. Since we're still wandering around Oz, this doesn't interrupt the story much. However, in Forest Monster, this happens midway through the resolution of the story. Literally, it is the next to last chapter. We're almost at the climax, but before we get to it, we meet the shadow of a baseball player from the future who tells us about his owner's career. It would have been much better if these meeting had been integrated into the plot.

However, like I said, these chapters can more or less be ignored. The rest of the books still make for great Oz stories.

Get The Forest Monster of Oz
Get Abducted to Oz

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