Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Take Me Back to Oz" and "And Justice for Oz"

I finally got some new books from Chris Dulabone's Tails of the Cowardly Lion and Friends. I have the credit for illustrating the second one, And Justice For Oz, but that actually came about by accident. I'm no artist, but I did sketch several non-human Oz characters around an Oz logo on some mail I sent to Chris, and he wound up asking if he could use it in a book. I gave the go-ahead, and it appears as a chapter heading on each chapter.

These two books are supposed to follow up Dulabone's The Marvelous Monkeys of Oz, which I haven't read, but it turns out these two form a story well enough on their own, although it seems the first one might have helped if I wanted a better introduction to the characters. As it is, these two actually tell a pretty interlocked story and really should have been published together as a single book.

The books are by Lisa McFauh-Queppe and Lark Vandergrace respectively, but if it wasn't for the names on the covers, I would've thought this was Dulabone's work.

Take Me Back to Oz features the disappearance of Queen Diamond Ann of Anapeland, the elected ruler of the Flying Monkeys. Her mischeivous sons take the throne as two flying monkeys are joined by the Scarecrow and Scraps to find Diamond Ann. Along the way, they are joined by an enchanted princess.

Diamond Ann is actually trapped on another in the distant future, and is given a number of slave jobs she fails at for being too considerate. She finally escapes and gets a lift back to Oz. Except, Oz is not around anymore in the future... (At least, not where or how it is in the present.)

Take Me Back tends to overindulge in the goofiness and spends little time in Oz and doesn't really feel like an Oz book. ...And Justice for Oz spends little time with Diamond Ann and does spend more time in Oz as the Scarecrow, Scraps, the monkeys and the princess search odd little Ozian kingdoms for the missing Monkey queen before returning there to confront her sons. It's still a goofy book (and has a nifty tribute to the Wizard of Oz Returns record), but is nicely toned down from the last one. Justice made for a nicer read than Take Me Back.

While the story ended well, I couldn't recommend putting these high up on your list of Oz books to pick up. If you're a fan of Dulabone's humor, then you know what to expect and should enjoy them. As with most of Dulabone's publications, this is one for those who don't mind their Oz getting a little wacky.

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