If there’s something as synonymous with The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy, Toto, and the Wicked Witch of the West, it most assuredly is the yellow brick road. In Road to Oz, Dorothy wanders away from her Kansas farm with a shaggy old man and gets lost when the road inexplicably splits into 16 different paths. The fabled yellow bricks don’t show up, but once the duo set out on one road at random, you can be sure it will lead to another wonderful adventure in the land of Oz.
Eric Shanower adapts the classic L. Frank Baum book with the same grace and care he put into the past four Oz adaptations. The narrative delivery is clear and light, and while certainly geared towards younger readers, anyone would be hard pressed to not enjoy the telling. There are times when the story moves onward without considering the consequence of the characters’ actions, but that could be attributed to the carefree nature of the protagonist, the ever-kindly Dorothy. Shanower uses different dialects for Dorothy, the shaggy man, and another new character named Button-Bright, instantly making them feel unique and full of life. Even Toto’s got some attitude.
Giving this story its fantastical signature look is Skottie Young. His settings are as simple as they are breathtaking. He has mastered the idea of “less is more” and uses it to great effect throughout the book. Just as masterful are his beautifully rendered characters, who laugh and look sad and get angry in the most captivating way. Young’s Dorothy could give any Pixar character a run for most endearing cartoon character ever.
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