The Wizard of Gauze
by Jeremy Wilson
Trafford Publishing

"So Dorothy and her friends went to the Wicked Licorice Strip's castle. But on their way there, Dorothy was kidnapped by flying nerds that the Wicked Licorice had sent out to get her."

Few twentieth century tales have been the subject of as many remakes or parodies as The Wizard of Oz. From the deliberately offensive skit produced by MADtv in 2004 to the didactic Sesame Street short called "The Cookie of Oz," offbeat renditions of the story abound, causing Dorothy and her friends to have been reincarnated countless times since L. Frank Baum first had them walk the Yellow Brick Road in 1900. Yet despite the many transformations the characters have undergone over the years, it is doubtful they have ever come off quite as sweet as in this candy-themed version.

Wilson wrote his take on the classic story for his 11th grade English class. Dorothy, a bright red gummy bear, runs away with her candy sprinkle, Toto, to keep him safe from an old prune but returns home to her snack bar when she hears from a cotton ball fortune teller that her chocolate-covered ant, Auntie Em, is ill. Her reunion is cut short, though, when a tornado carries her, her barking sprinkle, and the snack bar to a mini candy village. From there our hero follows the standard storyline where she meets all of the well-known Baum creations but in sugary form. For example, there is the goody goody gumdrop, Glenda, who points the way along the Golden Cereal Road where Dorothy will encounter three needy companions: a butterscotch candy, a ball of tinfoil, and a peanut. True to the tale, the travelers are desperate to get help from the Wizard, but to receive it they must defeat the terrible Wicked Licorice Strip.

Wilson's story ripples with tongue-in-cheek humor that is accented by visual montages of stock images. Odd, but in a fun way, this children's book should be an entertaining treat for the little ones.

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