When the renowned author of the wonderful Oz stories surpasses himself with a full-blown fairy tale, complete with magic wishes, palace life, an evil hag, and a poor boy and girl, we know we are in for something exceptional in story-telling. "In some ways," Baum confided to his son, "Queen Zixi is my best effort." The critic Edward Wagenknecht goes further, terming it flatly one of the best fairy tales ever written by anyone.
The master tale-spinner captures suspenseful attention at once with a magic wishing cloak which the fairies decide to give to the first unhappy mortal -- man, woman, or child -- their emissary chances to meet. At the same time, the King of Noland has died without heir, and the law says that the new King shall be the forty-seventh person who happens to pass through the city gates that day. In the neighboring kingdom of Ix, malevolent Queen Zixi, six hundred and eighty-three years old and smug in the secrets of witchcraft, craves that magic cloak with all her heart. And that morning, a humble ferryman's son, Bud, happens to be on his way to the city with his pretty sister Fluff...
All who know the enchantment that a real fairy tale can hold for a child will recognize here the ingredients of a spellbinder. Add to them the well-known gifts of the author in creating captivating characters, sparkling fantasy, rich humor, and inventive absurdity, and a true classic of juvenile literature emerges to fascinate both child and parent. The story was originally illustrated with 90 images drawn by Frederic Richardson, and serialized in St. Nicholas Magazine.
Original title: Queen Zixi of Ix or The Story of the Magic Cloak
Genre: Fiction→ Children & Young Adult→ Fantasy
- While this book is not directly an Oz novel, The countries of Ix and Noland lie just across the northeast corner of the Deadly Desert that surrounds Oz. Characters from this book also show up in a later Oz novel, The Road to Oz (1909).