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Oom Razoom or Go I Know Not Where, Bring Back I Know Not What

Oom Razoom or Go I Know Not Where, Bring Back I Know Not What

by Diane Wolkstein, Dennis McDermott (Illustrator)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Folklorist and master storyteller Wolkstein ( The Banza ; The Magic Wings ) reaches into her bag of goodies and pulls out this plum of a Russian tale about a good-hearted archer sent on an impossible journey by an evil king who covets his wife. Alexis's mission takes him to a faraway place of enchantment, where he finds Oom Razoom, a genie who helps him outwit the treacherous monarch. Liberally dosed with magic, this full-blooded, swashbuckling adventure features a cast of exotic characters and, as is to be expected from a storyteller of Wolkstein's stature, the story unfolds seamlessly in a cadence perfectly geared for reading aloud. Her mellifluous dialogue is at once naturalistic and rich in captivating language. This thrilling tale provides a smashing debut for McDermott--opening the book is like opening a treasure chest. His splashy, brilliantly colored pictures, many of them presented in triptych- or icon-like form, have an old-fashioned air that harks back to the golden age of storybooks, when illustrations were lavish, beckoning readers to curl up and be transported to unexplored realms. Set by its gifted creators in an enchanted world all its own, this is a worthy addition to the canon of cherished fables--a book that could easily become a classic. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1 Up-- Folklorist Wolkstein brings her considerable talents to this Russian tale, but the final result is mixed. Alexis, the king's archer, is married to Olga, a woman possessing magical powers. Awed by her beauty, the king vows to have her for himself. He sends Alexis on a mission to go I Know Not Where and bring back I Know Not What. With the archer gone, the king goes to claim Olga but she changes herself into a blue pigeon and escapes. Along his way, Alexis encounters an invisible genie, Oom Razoom, who grants his every wish. Returning to his native land, Alexis magically defeats the king, inherits his kingdom, and lives happily ever after with Olga. This is classified as a folktale; however, no sources are given. While Wolkstein's writing is smooth and accomplished, the story is overly involved and contains too many disparate elements to be truly cohesive. Even attentive readers may have trouble following the plot. McDermott's large, full-color paintings seem to strive for the lush romanticism of 19th-century Russian illustration popularized by Ivan Bilibin and Boris Zvorykin, but they remain distinctly Western in their view and execution. The colors lack harmony; although they are bright to the point of being garish, they are flat and chalky. The composition of many paintings seems to be based upon a pseudo-classicism while the execution remains distinctly cartoonlike. All the characters have similar bulbous noses, and their eyes can only be claimed by Disney. All in all, a well-told tale saddled with a mishmash of illustrations. --Denise Anton Wright, Library Book Selection Service, Inc., Bloomington, IL

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.58(w) x 11.34(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

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