Yookoo Who?


Yookoohoos of Oz, by Paul DanaYookoohoos, as stated in The Tin Woodman of Oz and confirmed in Glinda of Oz, are magic-workers who specialize in transformations. According to Paul’s earlier Oz books, most of the Yookoohoos in Oz are related, with Grandma Natch as their matriarch. She’s a very well-defined character, a wise and stubborn old woman with a distinctive speech patterns who lives in the Forest of Gugu. In this book, she’s invited the members of her extended family, pretty much all of whom are loners, to a party at her home. The story is told from Ojo’s point of view, and while the Yookoohoos are anxious to meet his best friend Button-Bright, they see Ojo and his fairy magic (he received it in Time Travelers when he ate a magic loaf) as worthy of scorn. When Reera the Red’s son Delfar arrives with a present from his mother, the Yookoohoos lose their powers and many of them are transformed into miscellaneous animals or objects. Ojo, Button-Bright, and Grandma Natch travel with Delfar and his mechanical contraption Leggy to Reera’s hut, hoping to find a cure. Along the way, they meet up with the spiders from Glinda and the crab Ozma turned white. We learn more about Yookoohoo society, including how boys are rare in their family, and they’re usually protected instead of going out on their own at a young age. The story feels a little short, but it’s an excellent addition to the ongoing history of Oz. Although the background of Paul’s earlier books is summarized, I’d still recommend reading them first, as otherwise the additional information about Button-Bright and Ojo kind of comes out of nowhere. There’s some character growth for both of them throughout the preceding volumes. Another book with the two boys as heroes, The Immortal Longings of Oz, is scheduled for release next year, and from what I’ve heard, it deals with goings-on in the Land of Ev.

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