Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Latest Oz Short Story

I had hoped to make these updates weekly, but let's just say there's a reason I now label this series "The Latest Oz Short Story" and no longer "This Week's Oz Short Story". But I did read "Button-Bright and the Professor" by J. L. Bell, with illustrations by Marcus Mèbés, from the 2023 edition of Oziana with every intention of posting it here earlier. Oh, well, you're getting it now! Professor H. M. Wogglebug, T. E., wants to test out his new direction-finding pill, and thinks Button-Bright would be the perfect test subject. Button-Bright, however, doesn't want anything to do with it, and tells the Professor this in no uncertaint terms. But the Professor persists and follows Button-Bright to try to convince him when they both get lost in the woods near the Royal College. Button-Bright doesn't mind much, and knows exactly how to handle the giant pangolin they run across. But since pangolins are insectivores, the Professor panics and ruins Button-Bright's plans. The pair finally get away from the pangolin by getting trapped in a cave system she can't get far into, but how to get out? It wasn't the original plan, but Button-Bright finally consents to take the Professor's new pill and quickly finds a way out. I like these small-scale stories where a whole town or the entire country isn't in danger, it's just a couple of our old friends out having an adventure. This particular pairing is not one we've seen very often, which adds to the charm. Let's hope the Professor has learned a thing or two about just letting people be who they are—but somehow I doubt he has.

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