Monday, June 05, 2023

The Latest Oz Short Story

This may only be temporary, but I'm reviving my Oz short story reading this summer for a couple of reasons. The first is because a new edition of Oziana came out late last year. Oz author and frequent Oziana contributor Gina Wickwar is the new editor, and I have a sneaking suspicion that this issue was put together rather hastily, as all the stories are by one writer. Of course when that writer is Robert Baum, great-grandson of the original Royal Historian of Oz, odds are good you're going to get something pretty cool. In his introduction, Baum talks about how his stories blend family lore with a little speculation and imagination to weave stories that could have happened. First up is "How I Met the Scarecrow: As Related to Me by L. Frank Baum" sees Bob enjoying a fire one winter's evening when he is visited by the spirit of his great-grandfather. Frank tells Bob about some encounters he had with scarecrows as a boy, and how they may have worked their way into some of the Oz books. It's a charming little tale, and it was fun having the Baum family generations meet. The illustrations are by Don Abbott, who is best known for his ability to ape W. W. Denslow. While these pictures are very Denslowesque, his scarecrows look different enough from Denslow's Oz Scarecrow to lend a ring of truth to the story.

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