Queen Zixi of Ix

Queen Zixi of Ix

The Story of the Magic Cloak

by L. Frank Baum
Publisher: Dover Publications
Mass market paperback, 208 pages
Price: $10.95

This is the book about which L. Frank Baum said, "In some ways Queen Zixi is my best effort, and nearer to the 'old-fashioned' fairy tale than anything I have yet accomplished." It is arguably his best book, surpassing even The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

One moonlit night the fairies, tired of dancing, decide to weave a magic cloak that will grant its wearer exactly one wish. They give it to the first unhappy mortal they meet, an orphan girl named Fluff who is traveling with her brother Bud to the city of Nole. The king of Noland has recently died and left no heirs, but the five High Counselors find an ancient and forgotten rule for just this situation. The forty-seventh person to enter the eastward gate of Nole shall be the new king or queen of Noland.

The Counselors lay in wait at the eastward gate, and the forty-seventh person is young Bud. He and his sister, now the Princess Fluff, find themselves swept up from poverty into the riches and responsibilities of the throne. King Bud must learn to rule wisely and gravely, and Princess Fluff accidentally causes trouble when she mislays her cloak. But when Zixi, Queen of the neighboring kingdom of Ix, hears of the magic cloak, she sets her heart on having it for herself. Though she is a powerful sorceress there is one wish she has never been able to fulfill on her own.

This rather charming fairy tale is full of wit and clever wordplay. It deals in a lighthearted, humorous way with the vanity of wishing for things that are impossible. While a lot of wish-related stories caution you to be careful what you wish for, no matter what that wish may be, Queen Zixi instead warns against wishing for foolish things. Foolish wishes, while pleasant for a while, don't lead to happiness. It's wisdom and contentment that fares well in this almost old-fashioned fairy tale.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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FLAWS: Fighting/violence
Summary: A magic wishing cloak in the hands of the new Princess catches the eye of neighboring Queen Zixi of Ix.

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