Smith, Sherwood. The Emerald Wand of Oz. Illustrated by Stout, William. HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 0060296070. $16.99. 272 pp. Reviewer: Gillian Streeter Reading Level: Intermediate, Young Adult Rating: Excellent Genre: Fantasy fiction; Subject: Oz--Juvenile fiction; Books-Reviews; Smith, author of Wren to the Rescue, has created a new adventure in Oz for sisters Em and Dori (named for Dorothy Gale and her Aunt Emma). When a Kansas tornado drops the two sisters in the middle of a strange land, Dori decides they must be somewhere in Oz and are going to have wonderful adventures, just like Dorothy Gale. The younger, more practical sister Em, is more skeptical. After meeting unicorns and mermaids however, she must admit that they simply aren’t anywhere familiar – certainly not Kansas. This fantasy is based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz stories and officially licensed by the L. Frank Baum Family Trust. It is a quick and simple read, introducing familiar characters (like Jack Pumpkinhead, the Lion, and the Scarecrow) and new (Bastinda, niece and replacement of the Wicked Witch of the West, and Rik, a mysterious boy with gray skin and a fear of eggs). The story ends openly, which suggests that this book may be the first in a series. Highly recommended for upper elementary age readers and older.
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