Friday, January 7, 2011
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
Earthquakes in California! How novel an idea..wait.. Baum wrote this book soon after the earthquake of 1906. I can imagine he was watching cracks form and fill from his writing room window and thought to himself "my wouldn't that make a loverly place to toss two children and a horse?" Man, what a creepy guy. *whistles*
Dorothy is bundled up with Eureka, a kitten in a bird cage, Zeb, her second cousin, and Jim, a former race horse turned cabbie horse, and swallowed up by the gaping maw of the Earth. Bit of an Alice fall with the carriage forming a parachute on the way down. Jim finds he can speak and spends most of the time down freaking out. Understandably so seeing as just before he was a normal, non talking, horse on normal, be it slightly tremor-y, ground. Now they were all drifting through an expansive void filled with 6 different colored suns towards a colony of sociopathic vegetable people in glass houses.
I tell you what, slow growing architecture and picking royalty off of bushes, that I'm fine with, but when you say that gravity gets less effective when you get closer to the center of the Planet? That make-a-me angry.(to be read in a bad italian accent) Vegetable people decide that strangers are annoying so they should be murdered. This is a common theme in these books. Apparently all strangers are dangerous or inconvenient ans so deserve death. Lucky our old friendly humbug wizard shows up to the rescue. They multiply some pigs, divide a sorcerer, and end up all blocked into a cavern system with no way back. Just like they planned!
They come across more fairy land dangers and denizens. A valley of invisible people and invisible bears. Birds too, but BEARS! Invisible bears! All from eating a certain delicious fruit that is vaguely peach shaped. The birds eat it too, but not fish. What if they poured juice from the fruit into the river? See-through Salmon? A braided bearded hole and ruffle maker. A land of moody wooden gargoyle mimes with detachable wings. Truthful baby dragonettes bound by their tales and their mother.
After being trapped in yet another cave, Dorothy remembers that Ozma checks on her every day at 4 o'clock. This would've been very handy back at the beginning in the invisible town. Might've save a bit of trouble and a few less hide scars for Jim. Nevermind though because it's back to the castle and another short vacation in Oz. Jim gets shown up by Saw-horse and decides this isn't the place for him. Zeb feels equally as uneasy.
One thing I enjoy about these books is that animals are still animals, most of the time. Lions still want to eat fat babies, and kittens wish to gobble down tiny piglets. One of these that can only end with a Dramatic trial! Accusations fly after Queen Ozma's new pet piglet goes missing. Eureka gets put on trial for willful consumption of the minipiggies. This cat is pretty much just a huge tootsiefrootsie. Won't spoil it, but the cat could solve everything but doesnt and the trial is super fast and almost as quickly overturned. I've noticed that the closer the animal is to being domesticated in the 'real world', the less kind and humanized it acts once it gets to Oz. I wonder if that was intentional. After the trial, Oz decides to stay in Oz and everyone else is sent to whichever home they like best. Decent ending for a decent story.
Note: I am no longer allowed to read more than one Oz book at a time. The plot lines are so similar I got them all scrambled as to who met whom and when. So from now on, one story read, then blog, and then I can read the next.
-The Posh Panda