Thursday, August 05, 2021

This Week's Oz Short Story

The penultimate story I will be looking at in the 2021 issue of Oziana is "Christmas, Toys and Oz", another one by Nathan M. DeHoff, this time illustratedby Mitchell Moyle. In this one, De Hoff ties together all of various toy-base communities not only in Oz, but also in the non-Oz writings of both L. Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson. In the process, he also brings together all kinds of boats and other sailing vessels and every appearance of Santa Claus. Yes, he cleverly string together Dot and Tot of Merryland, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa, and even Thompson's advertising pamphlet, The Comical Cruises of Captain Cooky. But it all starts with the Big Lavender Bear wondering about his own origins. He goes to the Emerald City for answers, and decides to go with Captain Salt and his crew on the Crescent Moon to various toy-based communities to compare notes. They eventually leave Oz to tour Merryland, and then some sites in the Nonestic Ocean where they rescue Captain Santa and the Chimney Potand, eventually, beyond the sunset (as seen but not visited in The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa), where answers are found. The Big Lavender Bear gets his answers, and DeHoff manages to tie all kinds of previously unrelated adventures together. It still felt like it was just as much an exercise in slotting elements of disperate stories together, but it also comes to a satisfying conclusion.

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