Sunday, October 18, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

When I started off this review of every story in every issue of Oziana, I know I had an eight hundred pound gorilla coming up: The 2016 issue. This issue broke the format and was so different that I wasn't sure what to do about it for the longest time. But by the time I wrapped up the 2015 issue, I'd figured it out: I would skip it. Don't worry, I will write about it on this blog, but not as part of the weekly short story reading. It should come up within the next three or four years (yes, this is definitely some long-term planning). So now that that's settled, let's take a look at the first story in the 2017 issue of Oziana, which is "Angry Jack" by Sara Philips, with illustrations by Emilee Philips. This is pretty much "Jack Pumpkinhead and the Terrible, Horible, No Good, Very Bad Week", as Jack is just in a foul meed. Considering his basic personality, this is a huge shock, and his friends just don't know what to do with him. Scraps, especially, makes it her business to figure out what's wrong with Jack, but her efforts get nowhere. She is so upset that she even forgets to rhyme, which is highly unusual for her. But Jack even lashes out at Ozma, and is tired of being taken for a clumsy fool. He can't help what he is, after all. A (literal) run-in with Professor Wogglebug really shows just how bad things have gotten. In the end, Jack actually decides not to attend one of Ozma's parties at the palace, but he has to go and at least deliver the pumpkin pies he's made. So of course his friends gather for an intervention. And then comes the surprise ending! I don't want to give it away, but it is a little abrupt and still feels partially unresolved. But let's at least say Jack's old personality returns in the end.

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