Copyright (C) 2003 Bob Evans and Chris Dulabone.
pider was gone. He obviously did not care for any more lecturing that day.
"Good riddance, I say!" spoke Nibbles. "That big old thing was ugly! And it smelled awful!"
"Where's Fisher?" asked Elephant.
"I think the thingy ate her up after all."
"I sure hope not!"
"I'm fine," came the feline meow. "Is that beast gone away yet?"
"It has," answered the pachyderm. Oddly, neither Nibbles nor Tweaty felt the slightest tinge of fear at the sight of the cat. In Oz, natural enemies ofttimes become the dearest of friends. Indeed, Oz is a truly remarkable land!
"I think I saw all nine of my lives flash before me that time!" said the cat. "What in the heck was that thing that had me?"
"I don't know," said Elephant. "But I hope we'll never see it again."
"But you have to rescue that poor little insect!" said an earthworm, poking her head out of the ground. "Didn't you bozos hear what that thing said about Lovebug? He's got her stuck in his sticky web, and he is treating her like a slave
I congratulate you and Robert Evans for keeping alive the humor, wit and affectionate characterizations of the great American fairy tale--a high-wire act that's evidently very difficult to pull off. But there is an individuality too that's very hard to describe in THE FOREST MONSTER OF OZ. The "courage to be an individual" one can only be in awe of. And yet you are two people, like Nordhoff and Hall, who wrote alternate chapters and yet produced the classic MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY. With best wishes and sincere encouragement to you both,
Jack Jones (John S. Jones, Jr.) .
A monstrous arachnid, previously dispatched by an ostensibly fatal blow from the Cowardly Lion in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, has been revived and is now wreaking havoc by sapping the energy of all the animals. Lunechien residents, including the aptly named Elephant, Tweaty (a bird), Nibbles (a mouse) and two owls, seek the aid of the newly ascendant Ozma to defeat the monster. In the quest to overcome the spider, we meet an interesting array of Ozzy, eccentric peoples: the Saber-Toothed Light Bulbs (whose very name conjures up a marvelous image), the marshmallow inhabitants of a marsh kingdom, and the warring Schnozzles and Stinkfeet (a comedic conflict reminiscent of that between the Hoppers and Horners). The book is also laced with puns and wry humor. For example, a tiger speculates that the spider's monstrous size may be attributable to "the humans' constant littering, or maybe a military experiment gone haywire". After a careful build-up, however, the primary conflict with the monster is resolved much too quickly. In the process, Ozma is confronted with an interesting moral dilemma, on the caliber of her ethical decision not to battle her enemies in The Emerald City of Oz. Chapter 14 presents a long, anachronistic digression on the life story of an American baseball player, as told by his shadow; this episode, though interesting enough in itself, might best have been lifted and utilized elsewhere as a standalone short story. This book advances the proposition-which some Oz fans will doubtless dismiss as heretical-that Ozma is in a fact a tiny child (or, as described by Tweaty, a "little girl who is probably younger than most eggs"), rather than the pubescent female described by Baum and drawn by Neill. The authors support their hypothesis by suggesting that Ozma has the power to alter her appearance, purposefully making herself appear older when dealing with dignitaries. (This also serves to explain the mysterious change in Ozma's hair color between The Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz.) At one point, Ozma even sprouts wings in order to convince doubters that she is, in fact, the fairy ruler of Oz. Forest Monster is graced with illustrations by Dore Meers, who captures both the elegance of Ozma and the humorous personalities of the animal characters. A psychedelic collage of various pachyderms adorns the cover.
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