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The Enchanted Island of Yew Paperback – 31 Jan 2003
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One gets the impression that this book was written independently of the Oz canon. It is not mentioned anywhere in the Oz books. As a child, my only knowledge of it came from the maps found at the beginning of some of that series. The book was also listed in the other works of Baum. The maps kindled my interest as did the references to it in the "By" columns but I was unable to get a copy for 30 years. It was worth the wait.
The story involves a fairy on the enchanted island of Yew. She is tired of being immortal and the sameness of everything and enlists the aid of some girls to aid her in an adventure. She gets transformed into a "mortal" prince for the space of a year and sets out to explore the island and have a good time. In doing so, he comes across several different kingdoms, each with its own peculiarity, rights some wrongs and has a good time.
Yew seems directed at a slightly older audience than Oz but it is still meant for young people and people young at heart. It was worth waiting for.
This book is not without flaws. Like so much of Baum's lower-quality work it suffers from aimlessly-wandering-around syndrome. Oz books are almost all essentially wandering around, but in the better ones like WIZARD it's not aimless and there's more going on as well. This is like DOROTHY AND THE WIZARD and ROAD and most of EMERALD CITY--essentially plotless, a riding tour. Also, the whole Twi adventure is way too long.
Another reviewer criticised the illustrations and the manufacturing quality. The original first edition of YEW had only a few (five?) color plates, plus some early editions had orange line-drawings stamped over the text. I have seen several recent very-badly-illustrated republications of YEW and this may be one. But it's most likely worth it anyway; you'll be glad to have Prince Marvell and Nerle in your family.