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The Witches and Wizards of Oberin

by Suza Scalora

$19.95 / Joanna Cotler / 2001

If you love the mystical, the magical, and the mysterious, you will thoroughly enjoy The Witches and Wizards of Oberin, for photgrapher Suza Scalora's picture book is a stunning example of how a written work can captivate one's senses on many levels simultaneously. (Even though its slick, almost Teflon-feeling pages-although surely chosen to showcase the photo's stunning colors and special visual effects-was viscerally unsatisfying).

The paper notwithstanding, Scalora opens the book with a news report of a recently discovered anthropological site that contains mysterious markings. From there, she introduces us to the possible makers of those marks, utilizing the illustrations, font, and writing style to share different supernatural individuals with her readers. Unfortunately, while most of these artistic interpretations are in keeping with the flavor of the supernatural beings they describe, some of them are distracting-subtracting from, rather than adding to the readability of the work as a whole.

However, do not fail to read the delicately scripted invocation surrounding the next-to-last page. This charming little poem caught in my mind, repeating itself in the way that only the rarest lyrical weavings do. (Because of the way it is written, I missed it on my first reading; do not make the same mistake!)

—Jess Hartley

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