Scarecrow by J. David Bell

Scarecrow by J. David Bell
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Short Story (12 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The most brilliant man in all of Oz is the Scarecrow, who can explicate, cogitate, ruminate, and pontificate with one hand tied behind his stuffed back. But, when a young girl with silver shoes arrives in his backyard, Scarecrow realizes that when it comes to love, he’s only half a man. Scarecrow’s got brains to burn, but can a man of straw ever really know what love feels like?

Have you ever wondered what happens to the supporting characters after the hero saves the day and goes back to his or her own world? What do ordinary scarecrows, tin men and lions do with their lives after the antagonist is defeated?

After Dorothy went back home to Kansas, Scarecrow quickly accumulated several lifetime’s worth of responsibilities, but even all these years later he still can’t stop thinking about her. His witty, warm recollection of the brief time they spent together was mesmerizing even if he did have a tendency to ruminate about certain topics and conversations a little longer than was necessary.

At a few different points we are given subtle hints that all may not well in Oz. It’s difficult to discuss this subplot without giving away spoilers, but I would have liked to see it developed a little further. Will this foreshadowing come to fruition in a future sequel, or was this another example of Scarecrow reading too much into innocent words and gestures?

Either way I will be returning to this story again. Scarecrow’s descriptions of the world he suddenly wakes up in one day are as comical as they are prescient. Exactly how he gained self-awareness is not as important as what he does with his talents once he discovers them.

Scarecrow revisits a classic tale with such enthusiasm that I could easily believe Scarecrow’s version of what really happened when Dorothy came to Oz is the one closest to the truth. Now all we need to do is wait for the Cowardly Lion and Tin Man to weigh in with their points of view!

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