26 September 2009

The Savvy Traveler’s Guide to Oz Allusions

On Thursday I posited that “the closer American children’s books come to Kansas, the more they have to allude to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and/or its sequels.” Today’s example is Savvy, by Ingrid Law.

This contemporary fantasy starts just outside Kansas, strictly speaking—in a patch of magically-made land between that state and Nebraska. But the Oz allusions are inescapable:

  • swirling wind storms that send Mibs Beaumont, her brothers, and their neighbors on their journey of discovery.
  • a town called Emerald.
  • yellow brick.
  • a diner owner referred to as “the great and powerful Ozzie.”
  • another character called a witch.
  • one of Mibs’s brothers called a “mangy, snooping little dog.”
That said, I think the review at Rhapsody in Books stretches a bit when it says, “This book is a rather obvious derivation of The Wizard of Oz,” and tries to analogize each of Mibs’s companions to Dorothy’s. There are simply too many of them to be the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion, even if there’s an obvious candidate for Toto.

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