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Book Review: _The Living House of Oz_, by Edward Einhorn
Bar Harbor
This is Edward Einhorn's second Oz book, following _Paradox in Oz_. Obviously, I liked that one well enough to buy his next. Like that one, this is profusely illustrated by the marvelous Eric Shanower. The painted endpapers make me wish that they could have done colored plates.

Buddy is the son of a sorceress, who practices her magic in secret. Their house (and everything within it) has been given life through magic. One of the most amusing characters is Buddy's hatstand, the self-styled "Earl of Haberdashery", who always has an authoratative answer to any question (not *right* mind you, just confidently spoken). Buddy's mother is caught and arrested for practicing magic without a license. Buddy and the Living House try to rescue her, but run into trouble and adventure along the way. Are they really being pursued by the evil Phanfasms? Good Ozzy fun throughout. In addition to appearances by most of the "Emerald City regulars", much of the story takes place in the same parts of Oz as _Glinda of Oz_, and we get to see what happened to some of the characters who haven't appeared since then.

This re-occurence of old characters is not just a throwaway. TLHoO is actually in deep dialogue with certain political aspects of Baum's Oz, and the returning characters help with that process. It has long been established that, with few exceptions, the practice of magic in Oz is illegal. Einhorn makes a powerful case that that ban is misguided. And when I say, "makes a case", I'm not being metaphorical, since an actual court scene figures prominently in the book's plot. The discussion of the use (and abuse) of power is skillfully woven into the exciting story, and does not slow things down. Indeed, the theme is woven on many different levels. It didn't occur to me until writing this review, that the Earl of Haberdashery is (besides being comic relief) an example of how authoratative statements can't always be trusted. While the Earl is a ludicrous figure, this same theme is echoed more seriously in regards to Ozma herself. Ozma is universally regarded as the most fair and just ruler that their could possibly be. If even *she* can make a law that turns out to be misguided and unjust, what does that say about the very nature of authority? In short, this book is, in addition to being an excellent Oz book, a deeply *subversive* book. Just the sort of thing that young minds should be exposed to, says I!

This book (and lots of other cool Oziana) is available through Hungry Tiger Press.

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Could I borrow the first one sometime?

But of course! I'll bring it on Sunday.

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