Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Magical Mimics in Oz

From the diary: “June 29, 1981

“I’m reading The Magical Mimics in Oz. I’m almost done reading the series! I can’t wait to get more.”

There are fourteen books between Giant Horse and Magical Mimics. Unless I just didn’t mention them in my diary I didn’t yet have them. Fourteen! Ruth Plumly Thompson wrote nineteen Oz books before she retired from the series. John R. Neill, who had illustrated all but the first book, then wrote three books. I didn’t have any of his and I was most curious to see how he handled Oz. Jack Snow was an old Oz fan. He wrote his books as direct sequels to Baum’s. No Thompson or Neill invented characters appeared in The Magical Mimics in Oz or The Shaggy Man of Oz. The Shaggy Man was a hobo, a wanderer who loved the road. Baum used the Shaggy Man several times. I don’t think Thompson or Neill used him at all.

The Mimics of the title are throwbacks to the sinister armies that threatened Oz in Baum’s Emerald City of Oz. A Mimic falls upon his victim and becomes him, leaving the original startled and paralyzed, staring back at himself. Jack Snow also wrote scary stories for adults, some of which have been collected in Spectral Snow, which I ought to own if I don’t.

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