Sunday, November 24, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

The second story from Oziana #37 (the de facto 2007 issue, even if it did come out in 2009) is "The Magic Door to Oz" by Paul Ritz and Johanna Buchner, with illustrations by Kay Baumann. Our unnamed protagonist finds a key that opens a perpetually locked door in her house, so naturally she opens it. She finds herself in a series of valleys where she discovers Mr. Tumnus from the Chronicles of Narnia and the pushme-pullyu from the Doctor Dolittle books (although for both story and copyright reasons, she can't quite remember their names). It seems a witched wick (no, that's not a typo, she really is a living candle that does magic) named Méche-Méant is taking characters out of famous children's stories so that readers will never get the joy of reading about them again. When a parrot-handle umbrella (yes, from the Mary Poppins books) also appears, she and the umbrella set out to see about getting everyone back into their books. After overcoming a few obstacles thrown in their way by Méche-Méant, they find a yellow brick road and Bungle the glass cat. Sure enough, the strange land these characters were being held in is some sort of bud-dimension of Oz. They quickly meet up with the Wizard, who recruits Ozma and helps overcome the wick before sending everyone home.

It's a charming little story that covers a pretty broad canvas. Méche-Méant is a pretty nasty character who keeps throwing all kinds of obstacles into everyone's way, but the resourcefulness of the umbrella and some talents the Glass Cat never showed before (the Wizard has given her a few extra traits) help resolve the situations.

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