- Age Range: 10 and up
- Grade Level: 5 and up
- Hardcover: 238 pages
- Publisher: Hungry Tiger Pr; 1 edition (May 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1929527012
- ISBN-13: 978-1929527014
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,761,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paradox in Oz Hardcover – May 1, 2000
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up-Ozma, beloved ruler of Oz, has her hands full in this spin-off from two confirmed Oz aficionados. Trouble starts right away when Omby Amby notices a gray hair in his green beard. When he complains to Ozma, he discovers that everyone else seems to be aging as well. Before long, their ruler consults with Glinda, who offers more pieces of the puzzle, including a baby named Zoey, who is also the Man Who Lives Backwards. The rest of Ozma's adventures rest on the broad shoulders of Tempus, a Parrot-Ox that appears whenever one begins to imagine the impossible. Ozma's flying time machine and companion, he is a wonderful creature, chock-full of personality, and the other characters are all fairly true incarnations of Oz inhabitants. The writing is crisp and moves the episodic story along effortlessly. This is a handsome book, with plenty of white space and charming full- and half-page black-and-white cartoons. The nodding reference to M. C. Escher in the depiction of Absurd City and the attractive endpapers featuring tessellating black-and-white parrots are a lovely touch. The tone of the text and sophisticated wordplay suggest that the book would be a better read for adult Oz fans, since children may become lost in the muddle of paradoxes and overly clever double talk that leave the plot sounding more like Piers Anthony than L. Frank Baum. Still, if your readers can't get enough of Oz, this should be on the shelves.
Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The writing is crisp and moves the episodic story along effortlessly. This is a handsome book. . . . -- School Library Journal, August 2000
What truly takes Paradox out of the ordinary . . . is Einhorn's wonderfully inventive narrative. . . . the results should be thoroughly pleasurable. . . . -- The Baum Bugle, A Journal of Oz, Spring 2000
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It starts out with Ozma being bombarded with complaints of everyone gradually showing signs of age. She goes to consult Glinda about it, who looks up in the Great Book. She discovers that the Aging Enchantment that was first cast on Oz when Ozma first took the throne was recently broken because of someone called the Man Who Lives Backwards. Glinda reveals that Ozma will at sometime in the future send her this man who is now a baby named Zoey. Zoey ages in reverse, so Ozma realizes she needs to go into the past to talk to him as an adult. In order to do this, she employs the help of a Parrot-Ox(a half-parrot/half-ox)named Tempus who has the ability to travel through time. He takes her back in time to meet her ancestor King Oz just before he was about to drink from the Forbidden Fountain that removes people's memories. However, this was an event that was supposed to happen because King Oz was originally a wicked king, and the fairy queen Lurline had enchanted Oz only after the King had lost his memory. Ozma returns to a point further in the future to find that the Aging Enchantment had never been cast, and that Oz was now ruled by an evil version of the Wizard. He has imprisioned an aging Glinda, but she and Ozma are rescued by a good version of Mombi. Ozma realizes she needs to go back and stop herself from skewing the timeline into this dark tangent. After returning to the past, she experiences numerous versions of herself trying to do the exact same thing. Ozma finally sets things right though with the timeline, and then proceeds on Tempus to Absurd City where the Man Who Lives Backwards is supposed to be. She finds him, and is suprised to find out that he is actually an alternate version of King Oz. Ozma manages to bring the information she needs from him back to the future to restart the Aging Enchantment.
This was a "thinking man's" Oz Story, at least in the factoring in of sci-fi elements with time travel and parallel universes. It can actually be a little bit of a headache if you haven't seen some of Star Trek or Back To The Future. Shanower's artwork is spectacular, especially the 2-page spread showing Ozma seeing all the multiple Ozes that are modeled after various Oz movies, cartoons, and other trade artwork. This storyline continues in Einhorn's other book, Living House Of Oz which features more of Tempus. The original print of Paradox In Oz was done through Hungry Tiger Press, but is currently out of print. It is still available used through Amazon and other dealers. A real great trip for Oz fans and sci-fi geeks!
In this book, the author lampshades all the inconsistencies in the canon by explaining them as alternate universe realities caused by a time-travel paradox (going back in time and making changes causes the future to be different). Is Ozma blonde or brunette? Is the Wizard good or bad? Is the Munchkin country in the east or the west? Who really is the good witch of the north? All of those things and more are unexplained by Baum, who often forgot what he'd said earlier. But they are explained as paradoxes in this brilliant book.
The illustrations are wonderful, very much in the style of Jno. R. Neill. And the best gift to fans is the wonderful illustration near the end, which depicts lots of alternate versions of Oz, slyly taken from various sources. I recognized Judy Garland, and Laurel and Hardy, and the Ozma of the old silent moves, and the Hanna Barbera cartoon, and the anime version, and The Wiz, and Neill, of course, and--which thrilled my heart--a copy of an illustration from the very first Oz book I ever owned, which I've treasured all my life, the picture book from 1950 with illustrations by Anton Loeb <3.
These guys are definitely Oz geeks, and there are so many wonderful little details to reward the rest of us Oz geeks. I really hope they do more Oz books in the future.