26 December 2017

Return to Oz: Little Wizard Stories of Oz by L. Frank Baum

My review of the second-most-recent Survivors tale is up at Unreality SF. Series six represents a new approach for the range, and one which is most welcome.

Trade paperback, 144 pages
Published 2011 (contents:
Acquired July 2013

Reread December 2016
Little Wizard Stories of Oz by L. Frank Baum
illustrated by John R. Neill

This quasi-canonical (i.e., not part of the "Famous Forty" but still by one of the official "Royal Historians") Oz book is necessary for completists, but unlikely to be anyone's favorite. Baum provides six short stories, each about a different pair of Oz characters: the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger, Dorothy and Toto, Tik-Tok and the Nome King, Ozma and the Wizard, Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse, and the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman. Some read like interludes from an Oz novel, the sort of random encounter a character might have on the way from point a to point b that has nothing to do with the overall plot. Some are pretty unimpressive (Ozma seems particularly foolish in her tale, and the Dorothy story has an unconvincing moral), but some are good fun. I like the Lion and the Tiger one, as the Tiger tries to go through with his long-held desire to eat a baby but can't manage it, and the interplay between the implacable Tik-Tok and the easily roused Nome King is delightful. (The Nome steward Kaliko once again shows himself to be the only sensible and competent person in the whole Nome Kingdom.)

In Two Weeks: A short break from Oz, to cover 2017's Doctor Who Christmas read, Twelve Doctors of Christmas!

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