Saturday, October 28, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

The first story of the 1985 edition of Oziana is a long one, and my time is tight right now, so I thought I'd start with the second story, "Magic in the Kitchen" by Jane McNeive, with illustrations by Minh Huynh. In this charming little slice-of-life story, we meet Lon, the son of a Quadling farmer, who is responsible for taking the farm's vegetables to the Emerald City. Along the way, he picks up a magic wand, then forgets about it again in the course of his journey. It is Fran, a slightly flighty kitchen maid in Ozma's palace, who finds it and absentmindedly wishes the kitchen would run itself. Whoops! Before you know it, all the kitchen appliances, utensils, and even food come to life and prepare lunch, scaring the kitchen staff away. But a cleaver, related to King Kleaver of Utensia, takes over, and before long lunch is ready. The lunch guests are a little unsure about eating living food, however. With Ozma and the Wizard away, it falls to Dorothy to deal with the immediate issues and inform Ozma about what's going on. I like this story a lot because we get a glimpse into how life in the palace works and the staff that runs things, and Lon, Fran, and Dorothy's paths all intersect at one point or another. There are no big stakes involved, just a day in the palace kitchen, albeit a highly unusual day. The solution is nicely Ozzy, too, with an old friend of Oz assisting.

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