Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (Oz series, Book 4)
Author: L. Frank Baum
Narrator: Erin Yuen

Published 2015 by Dreamscape Media
5 hours – Unabridged

Dorothy and the Wizard In OzDorothy Gale is on her way to meet up with Uncle Henry again at a relative’s California farm after their return from Australia. It was during that Australia trip, of course, that the little girl from Kansas was whisked away for the adventures in the Lands of Ev and Oz that were related in Ozma of Oz. Now she is back in America, but not for long; an earthquake causes the ground to open up, and she falls down a deep crevasse, along with her cousin Zeb, his old cart-horse Jim, and a kitten named Eureka. It’s not long before the animals are talking, and then of course every Oz reader knows we’re in fairyland now.

It turns out there are all kinds of curious realms below the Earth’s surface. Dorothy and her companions land in the country of the Mangaboos, vegetable people who grow on bushes and have a really bad attitude toward outsiders. Fortunately, not long after their arrival, another victim of the earthquake appears: it’s Dorothy’s old friend the Wizard, landing the hot-air balloon in which he has plummeted through the crack in the surface. Still one of the world’s worst real wizards, he is very proud to be among the greatest of the humbug wizards. With the aid of his tricks, gizmos, and street-smarts, our friends get away from the Mangaboos and proceed through a series of interesting locales, all hidden below ground. Having survived the Valley of Voe, the land of the Gargoyles, and the den of the Dragonets, the travelers wind up at long last in the Emerald City. After a curious episode in which Eureka the kitten is put on trial for murder (perhaps Baum just couldn’t resist injecting some of the sensationalism from his days as a newspaperman), everything wraps up in the usual Oz fashion. The Wizard stays on to serve as an advisor to Ozma, while the rest of the Americans return home to the land of E Pluribus Unum. There’s all the reason in the world, however, to hope that Dorothy, at least, will be back for more adventures.

Narrator Erin Yuen seems to have settled into the task at hand somewhat since recording Dreamscape’s production of Ozma of Oz last year. Her delivery is more fluid and natural overall, allowing the listener to relax into the story without being distracted by over-enunciation or stilted cadences. One could wish for a little clearer distinction between different character voices; perhaps if Yuen signs on to read Book Five (The Road to Oz), that will come.

Kudos to Dreamscape for producing new recordings of these early-20th-century classics. Listening to the Oz stories is a delight for longtime readers of the books, and these audio versions offer a fun and communal way to introduce the Baum canon to a new generation.

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher as part of the Solid Gold Reviewer program administered by Audiobook Jukebox. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

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