Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book Review: The Rundelstone Of Oz

This, the final Oz novel to be written by Eloise McGraw, was published a year after her death in 2001. McGraw also wrote Merry Go Round Of Oz, the last of the official "Famous Forty" line of Oz books stemming from the orignal series by L. Frank Baum and Rudy Thompson, as well as The Forbidden Fountain Of Oz which wasn't counted as canon in the Famous Forty. The Rundelstone Of Oz was put together by her daughter, Lauren Lynn McGraw. This was illustrated Eric Shanower, and printed by his company of Hungry Tiger Press. The story is independent from any of Elioise McGraw's previous books, although it was first concieved as a segment from Forbidden Fountain.

It opens up with a group of living marionettes called Troopadours traveling around with their human leader, Maestroissimo Furioso, who tour Oz and entertain its citizens. They enter a small village in Gillikin, and after puting on a successful show, they all go missing, except for Poco. Poco takes up being the major domo for a local "witherd", the crafty Slyddwyn. He tells Poco that his friends left him, but Poco doesn't believe him, and he starts to search Slyddwyn's castle for clues on their wherabouts. Poco befriends the local orphan boy Rolly, and frequently encounter the very perturbed Shmodda who claims that Slyddwyn stole one of seven mystic rocks called the Rundelstones. With Rolly's help, Poco manages discovers that Slyddwyn had transformed his friends into various objects, which Poco believes he was able to do with the magic of the Rundelstone. Poco eventually discovers the stone, and restores his marrionette friends to their natural forms. Along with Shmodda, they finally confront Slyddwyn who locks himself in a special room magically sealed from the inside. However, Ozma, Dorothy, the Wizard, and Lion arrive to help them. They find that a stray dog is really Furioso changed by the Rundelstone, and is actually Rolly's father. All is restored as the Troopadours head out for more fun.

This was a pretty good story, one that was focused more on original characters in the land of Oz instead of the regular cast. Eloise McGraw told a compelling tale about an uncertain fellow looking for his lost commrades. Eric Shanower offers alot of great illustrations for this, and did a great job publishing it. This makes for a fine addition to anyone's Oz collection, but also stands alone a wonderful children's book.

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