Saturday, December 30, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

We close out 2017 with, appropriately enough, the final story of the 1987 issue, celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year. "Button-Bright and the Knit-Wits of Oz" by Jim Vander Noot, with illustrations by Chris Sterling, sees Button-Bright get a little more lost than usual, as he is magically transported from the Emerald City to the land of the Knit-Wits in the Quadling Country. Here, the finest sweaters in Oz are knitted, and it all starts with woolgathering. Button-Bright turns out to be pretty good at this, but when he lets his imagination run away with him and his wool comes out in colors, he is taken prisoner and assigned a new job, assisting the color mixer. The color mixer turns out to be another prisoner, Mr. Smith from he Land of Ev. Yes, Tik-Tok's co-creator. That river he was painting was an Ozian one, and so when he fell in, instead of drowning (as everyone presumed in Ozma of Oz), he washed up on the banks near the Knit-Wits. Together, however, Button-Bright and Mr. Smith find a clever and Ozzy way to escape, and everyone celebrates (to nobody's surprise) with a big banquet and party in the Emerald City.

This is a fun one, and also a pretty typically Ozzy one. I don't think the Knit-Wits would be at all out of place in a Thompson tale. The idea of daydreaming (colloquially called woolgathering) creating wool to gather is particularly inspired.

Next week, it's a new year, so we'll have a new issue which will also be celebrating its thirtieth anniversary.

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