"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oom Razoom

Oom Razoom: Or Go I Know Not Where, Bring Back I Know Not What : A Russian Tale retold by Diane Wolstein, Illus. by Dennis McDermott, 1991.

This tale has the same basic structure as I-Know-Not-What, I-Know-Not-Where: A Russian Tale adapted by Eric Kimmel and described here. In this version, our hero is the king’s archer, Alexis, who spares a blue pigeon while hunting one morning for his ruler’s breakfast. He discovers that she is really a beautiful woman, Olga, whom he immediately weds. Unfortunately, she soon turns the king’s head, and to steal her for his own, he consults with Baba Yaga and sends Alexis to I Know Not Where to bring back I Know Not What. However, Olga gives Alexis a magic ball to follow and a special handkerchief. Then, with the assistance of a mystical frog and the invisible servant Oom Razoom Alexis returns to gain wealth, reclaim Olga and become king himself.

McDermott brings us a magical spread of illustrations. Olga is certainly a fair flower of a wife, with her ropes of black braids and cloak of blue and white feathers. Baba Yaga is a heavy lidded, bushy eyebrowed crone with warts galore. Oom Razoom recalls a genie with his turban, pointy ears and curling beard, visible only to who he wishes. The pictures appear in triptychs and, some have shaped edges, providing their own frames.

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