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*Trouble Under Oz* by Sherwood Smith, illustrated by William Stout- young readers book review


Trouble Under Oz
by Sherwood Smith, illustrated by William Stout
Grades 4-6 256 pages HarperCollins August 2006 Hardcover    

Trouble Under Oz is the second book of the series written by Sherwood Smith. Sherwood loosely bases the story on the original Oz. In fact, Dori and her sister Em are very distant descendants of the original Dorothy from Kansas. The book does not clarify this, but I get the feeling that Em and Dori are twins.

Queen Ozma sends Dori and her new friend, Inga,  to the underground land of the Nomes. There the two must prevent war during the impending changes in the Nome kingdom. Doriís good friend Rikiki (another character from the previous book in this series) is a Nome prince with lofty dreams of being a King. He has no conception at all as to what being a King entails, and his hilarious antics are certain to keep young readers entertained.

Armed with three magic pearls loaned to Dori and Inga, they hope to be strong enough to meet the challenges ahead of them. Strange creatures are around every corner - Voro, one of the invisible people, the angry, slithering Hizzers, the Iron Giant, and the phlegmatic vegetable people known as the Mangaboos are only some of the more memorable.

Dori is so kind and respectful that she makes friends on every new adventure. The Tasca Queen with her enchanted feathers of beauty and her flighty court, become Doriís most loyal friends. Young readers will enjoy the Freshwater Mer Folk and their helpful, friendly ways. This brief overview of the characters in the book would not be complete without mentioning the reliable flying carpet and the strangely ominous clouds that gather here and there.

In the meantime, poor Em is stuck back at their home, struggling to outwit the adults so that they donít know what is going on. I canít tell you more without spoiling the tale; readers, you will have to discover the rest on your own.

This book of 240 pages contains more than a dozen black-and-white illustrations by the talented William Stout. Filled with magical, fantasy and adventure, the illustrations are a perfect match for the story.

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  Lillian Brummet/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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