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[whitespace] 'Ozma of Oz'


What a wonderful, wonderful Wiz he was

By Tai Moses

IT WAS AN auspicious day for the literary imagination when L. Frank Baum dreamed up the Land of Oz. And if you thought Dorothy Gale's adventures ended with a click of her heels, think again. According to the Oz Encyclopedia, at www.halcyon.com/piglet, between the turn of the century and 1927, Baum wrote 13 subsequent Oz adventures. When Baum died, other authors caught the Oz bug, bringing the total of Oz books to 40.

In The Emerald City of Oz, Dorothy bids farewell to Kansas and relocates permanently to the Land of Oz, taking along Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. In Tik-Tok of Oz, the formerly taciturn Toto becomes a talking dog, explaining that he simply had nothing interesting to say before. In other books, the Scarecrow becomes Emperor of the Winkies, and we learn that the Tinman was once a simple Munchkin named Nick Chopper whose love for a Munchkin maiden turned him to tin.

W.W. Denslow's and John R. Neill's vintage illustrations enhance the Oz Encyclopedia, and a synopsis and full text for each book are provided. But the most impressive--and obsessive--feature is the Critteria Ozlandus; a meticulous, richly detailed index to the hundreds of fabulous characters, creatures and critters that inhabit the realm of Oz.

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From the April 11-18, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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