Saturday, April 30, 2016

Teen review: Two Oz Series

Editor's note: George has submitted four book reviews--two from the original Oz books by L. Frank Baum, and two from the brand-new young adult series about Oz by Danielle Page. Nice thematic reading and reviewing, George! So we will run them in order as a kind of series of their own.

The Marvelous Land of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
200 pages
Fantasy series, book #2

Reviewed by George Sakellariou, grade 8

In the first sequel to L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Tip is an ordinary munchkin boy who serves the witch Mombi. He hates the witch Mombi, for she makes him do gruesome tasks as a slave. To play a prank on her, Tip makes a pumpkin-headed man, which Mombi brings to life with a recently bought powder of life from a magician. To keep the “pumpkin head” from becoming her slave, and to prevent himself from becoming a marble statue, Tip runs away with the Pumpkinhead, Jack, to the Emerald City to find a new life. Along the way he meets the Scarecrow, the ruler of Oz,  and the Tin Woodsman otherwise known as Nick Chopper; he brings a wooden horse to life; and he meets the Highly Magnified and Thoroughly Educated Wogglebug. However, the Emerald City is under attack by an army of girls armed with sewing needles, so Tip and his companions step in to restore Oz to its natural state.

I would rate this book 2 out of 5 stars due to how short it was and the lack of an interesting plot. I have read the entire 13-book series, and found much joy in the pages of the other books. One of the new characters, the H.M Wogglebug T.E., was such a show-off, babbling on about stories of how smart he is, over and over again. The only reason you should read this book is to get to the joy of the other books or to check some Oz history. So finish this easy read, and continue the series. Only 11 more to go!

(I must say, however, that the art displayed in this book is some of the best works in the series. The cover, for instance, displays the army of girls disguised as sunflowers, slowly closing in on Tip and his companions.)

Editor's note: The illustrations for the Oz books, except for the first, were by John Rea Neill, who was known for illustrating more than 40 stories about Oz, including Baum's, Ruth Plumly Thompson's, and three of his own! You can see a good array of the images on this Pinterest page about him.

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