|The Magic of Oz by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by John R. Neill.|
Originally published by Reilly & Britton, 1919.
Books of Wonder edition, HarperCollins, 1999.
I can't believe it's been nearly a year since we last finished an Oz book! We took a break after The Tin Woodman of Oz, in order to try some other read-alouds. Then Big Sis started the Harry Potter books on her own, and trying to pull her back into the Muggle World has become very, very difficult!
Sunday was L. Frank Baum's birthday. Little Sis asked, "Mom, what book are we on?" I told her we were ready to start The Magic of Oz. "Okay, let's start tonight!" Alas, we have the book pulled and ready, but as it's the last week of school and everything is crazy, we haven't had a chance to read yet. I thought I'd share it anyway, promising we will crack it open together soon! The Magic of Oz was the first book published after L. Frank Baum's death in 1919, by the way. After this one, there is only one Baum Oz book left. (Well, and Little Wizard Stories. But I digress.)
I'm going to admit something. I adore John R. Neill's Oz illustrations, with the exception of his Wizard. I think his Wizard is scary. There, I said it.
I mean, look at him leering at little Dorothy...
I could only remember two things about this book: there's a big bird in the beginning, and the Glass Cat is very funny in it.
And then I read this bit and started howling. I forgot how much fun this one was to read aloud! The plotline hinges on this magic word, and I have no clue how to pronounce it (which is the point.)
The magic word, "Pyrzqxgl," can transform anyone into something else - as long as you know how to pronounce it. A bored Munchkin lad, Kiki Aru, can say it, and changes himself into a bird. He lands in the Land of Ev, becomes a thief, and meets Ruggedo, the banished former Nome King. The two join forces and devise a plan to conquer Oz. Meanwhile, a band of our Oz friends are searching for trained monkeys for Ozma's upcoming birthday party. The two groups meet and havoc breaks loose. Meanwhile, Trot and Cap'n Bill search for a special flower for Ozma's birthday, and encounter their own set of dangers.
Bungle, the Glass Cat, may not have her pink brains, but she's still a brat, even when helping save the day. And the awful Wogglebug shows up in this one, but we will have to read it, because I don't remember much! After all, it's been more than six years since I first read it to my preschool-aged Big Sis.
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