The Hidden Prince of Oz
|Cover artist||Anna-Maria Cool|
|Series||The Oz Books|
|Publisher||International Wizard of Oz Club|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
The Hidden Prince of Oz is a novel written by Gina Wickwar and illustrated by Anna-Maria Cool. As its title indicates, the book is an entrant into the series of Oz books by L. Frank Baum and his many successors.
The publication of the book was timed to coincide with the centennial of the original Oz book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (as was also true of Edward Einhorn's Paradox in Oz and Dave Hardenbrook's The Unknown Witches of Oz). It was the winner of the Club's Centennial book contest, which received over 100 entries in 1998.
Wickwar supplies her book with a range of puns, verbal tricks, and imaginative elements: Silica Valley and its inhabitants, plus the Magnetic Field, the Draw Bridge, a Babbling Brook and Caterwauling Cataracts, Snap Dragons, and Dragon Flies.
Wickwar introduces a new child protagonist, Emma Lou, an orphan from Arizona, a tomboy and baseball pitcher. She is carried to Oz by the agency of Chief Thundercloud, an animated wooden Indian. There, Emma Lou falls in with a crowd of old and new Oz characters including the Glass Cat, Princess Vitrea, Ketzal (an animated feathered boa), and a blue parrot named Beak. (Indeed, Wickwar deliberately crowds her book with characters, in imitation of Baum's The Lost Princess of Oz. Paddy, the rainbow-painting leprechaun in search of his lost pot of gold, is one of many.)
The characters have to confront the machinations of Zeebo the Sorcerer. With the aid of familiar figures like the Wizard, the Tin Woodman, the Sawhorse, and Polychrome the fairy, Emma Lou and her friends unravel the mystery of the missing Prince of the Blue Mountain, Vitrea's love.
- Gina Wickwar, "Early Morning Musings: Writing The Hidden Prince of Oz," The Baum Bugle, Vol. 45 No. 2 (Autumn 2001), pp. 20-24.
- Anna-Maria Cool, "Of Talking Bridges and Feather Boas: The Art of The Hidden Prince of Oz," The Baum Bugle, Vol. 45 No. 2 (Autumn 2001), pp. 25-27.
- Eric Shanower, "Cool Oz: A Review of The Hidden Princes of Oz's Art," The Baum Bugle, Vol. 45 No. 2 (Autumn 2001), p. 28.
- Paul Nathanson, Over the Rainbow: The Wizard of Oz as a Secular Myth of America, Albany, NY, State University of New York Press, 1991.
- Suzanne Rahn, The Wizard of Oz: Shaping an Imaginary World, New York, Twayne, 1998.
- Michael O'Neal Riley, Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum, Lawence, KS, University Press of Kansas, 1997.
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