Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Red Gorilla of Oz

Click HERE to order
Richard Capwell stepped into some pretty big shoes when he attempted to carry on where L. Frank Baum left off a hundred years ago as the official royal historian of the magical world of Oz. Apparently, Mr. Capwell's feet are almost exactly the same size as Mr. Baum's, because I totally lost myself in this newly penned tale and completely forgot that the words were coming from a different source than the original books.

Many other authors have attempted to continue reporting the news from Oz over the years, including several that were endorsed by Baum's family (I personally enjoyed many of the ones by Ruth P. Thompson). In my humble opinion, Mr. Capwell is probably the one who comes closest to capturing not only Baum's whimsy but also his ability to so cleverly weave a story combining flights of fantasy along with lessons for today, that children won't notice they learned something. (I didn't notice it either, honest!)

From the Amazon page:

Sebastian is the clumsy, heedless prince of the red gorillas. The Eternal Flame that protects his troop has inexplicably gone out, and the jungle is withering and dying. Sebastian must venture down Crimson Mountain to find Glinda, who he hopes will restore the flame. On his journey, the red gorilla makes good friends and faces dangerous enemies. Meanwhile, in the Emerald City, all of the wonderful animated characters such as Jack Pumpkinhead and Scraps have lost their spirits, and Ozma must discover why her dear friends can no longer move nor speak. Her investigation reveals previously unknown secrets about the early history of Oz. 

And, indeed, Capwell tied up a lot of loose ends for me. Am I the only one that wondered what happened to the Winged Monkeys when their mistress was killed? Did anyone remember to feed them?  Inquiring minds wanted to know.

And Richard Capwell told us. And did so in such a delightful way that I immediately went and purchased the 2nd of his Oz tales Santa Claus in Oz. We all know that many times writing in a series can be deadly for an author. The sparks that burned so brightly in the first tome die into embers that not even the most potent wind can blow into a flame. This was NOT the case for Capwell. I enjoyed the Santa book even more than the first. Very cute. Well written. No editing or formatting errors.

Keep 'em coming, Richard! 

Note: Wondering how many of you are Oz fans? I have "good" copies of all of the Baum-written ones. Still collecting on the others. Do you collect anything Oz-related other than the books? Do you play the RPG online Oz game?

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