Professor Wogglebug and the Frogman of Oz, by Cynthia Hanson – It seems that one of Ms. Hanson’s favorite hobbies is defending the Wogglebug, and she does make some good points about how he’s generally not openly rude (at least not in L. Frank Baum’s books) and other characters are sometimes impolite to him. She has a story online that deals with much the same subject. On the other hand, I think Hanson makes her Wogglebug so friendly and polite as to not be all that interesting. This book is also a response to Eric Shanower’s short story “The Final Fate of the Frogman,” in which the character’s swim in the Truth Pond affects him so much that he ceases wearing clothes and associating with people. Here, he travels with the Wogglebug and a depressed American girl named Theresa Hayman to find the Waters of Pure Healing, which should save the frog from this fate. I liked the idea of undoing the Frogman‘s curse, since I like him as a character, but the story really wasn’t as engaging as I think it could have been. I must say, though, that I’ve always been attracted to the sense of acceptance in Oz, and that definitely came through in this book.
20,000 Leagues Under Oz, by Marin Elizabeth Xiques and Chris Dulabone – A pig named Paxton wants to go to sea, and Ozma grants his wish to sail with Captain Salt. At the same time, the rainbow has broken, and some of the undersea denizens have been enchanted. The problems are eventually solved with some help from King Anko, the mermaids, and a series of riddles involving the preface to Ruth Plumly Thompson’s The Gnome King of Oz. It remains interesting and amusing throughout, but I do think the authors could have been more descriptive and consistent with the villains. We’re introduced to the Green Witch on the Moon as if she’s someone significant, but it’s apparently the Wicked Witch of the West who transformed Impy and Ginger, and we don’t know why. Neffy thinks Mummercubble the Sea Pig assisted her, but we don’t find out whether this is true. It’s somewhat confusing.