Umbo the Flying Elephant

The Umbrellaphant in Oz, by Carol P. Silva and Marin Elizabeth Xiques – This tale follows up on Captain Salt in Oz, and in fact the first two chapters are slightly rewritten excerpts from that book. Marcus Mebes’ Royal Explorers books also jump off largely from the Ruth Plumly Thompson story, and there are some contradictions between the two, if perhaps not insurmountable ones. Umbo the Umbrellaphant plays a pivotal role, but is not really the main focus of the story. It mostly concerns Algoro, the lowest ranking of the nine Ozamandarins, being rescued by a dimwitted merman with a magic amulet, which he steals and uses to bring the three-eyed witch from Xiques and Chris Dulabone’s Ridiculous Rivals back to life. Her name was not provided in that book, although she did have the name “O’Darby” over her door. Here, she gives her full name as Eretciné Stadtmuller O’Darby. The two of them strike up a relationship and team up to get revenge on the animals of the Springbok Forest, then turn their sights toward Ozamaland, where they’re thwarted by Umbo and the merman. Tandy returns to Ozamaland to take his place as king, with Umbo as his steed, as per Thompson’s poem in Cheerful Citizens; and Captain Salt gives up on claiming lands for Oz. Royal Explorers seems to indicate that Tandy never really served as king, but perhaps something happened to make him leave again shortly after this. As is typical of Xiques and Dulabone (who isn’t credited as a writer here, but he did publish it), the style is rather silly, and the characters frequently make references to things it seems they’d have no way of knowing about. It’s a pretty good story, though, and the adventures of Captain Salt being threaded through it ties it in more closely with the main Oz series, even though it largely focuses on original characters. The illustrations are by Shawn Maldonado, and I have to say I see some possible Seussian influence on that Umbrellaphant on the cover, not that that’s a bad thing. I think it’s largely the shape of the pupils.

This entry was posted in Animals, Book Reviews, Characters, Chris Dulabone, Humor, Marcus Mebes, Marin Elizabeth Xiques, Oz, Oz Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Umbo the Flying Elephant

  1. I didn’t know this was out! Glad to see some of the see older titles coming to the light of day. I was hoping they would after seeing them listed on Chris’s list for so long. I just added it to my cart on Amazon.

    • Nathan says:

      I’m not sure how much of Chris’s backlog has actually been written and how much has just been in the works for years. He just put out a new Gil S. Joel book that’s a sequel to Healing Power.

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