4 out of 4 stars
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In this short story Of Zots and Xoodles: Theodil Creates the Universe, Zarqnon the Embarrassed constructs quite the tale of creation. Paired with abstract illustrations by Frank Louis Allen, this short story may appear like it’s meant for kids, but the quantum physics elements and the language used makes it obvious that it’s meant for a much older, much more educated audience. That being said, it did mix fun rhymes and rhythms that Dr. Seuss is known and loved for with the abstract thought and ideas that were uniquely Zarqnon. The story and illustration reminded me a lot of Phantom Tollbooth.
Before getting into the story, there’s a forward from the author, Zarqnon the Embarrassed, as well as the illustrator Frank Louis Allen. Both the author and illustrator are on the autism spectrum and the illustrator is legally blind and I think this is interesting supplementary information heading into this story.
Of Zots and Xoodles gives an inventive Dr. Seuss-esque take on the creation of the universe. Theodil demonstrates how the universe could be formed from the floating dots disembodied from a pair of di he rolls that the Voices from the Committee call “Zots”.
I was very endeared by the first line: “It would have been sometime after breakfast on a Tuesday, if Tuesdays existed.” It’s such a whimsical, memorable way to start a story. Odd enough, it’s kind of jaded, too. Time is a social construct and all that totally endearing social constructionism sort of stuff.
And, I suppose, maybe if you aren’t grabbed by the first line—if you’d roll your eyes at it instead—then maybe this story isn’t for you. But if you are confused or intrigued by it and care to read on, to satisfy that curiosity and ease (or flare up) your confusion, I would definitely recommend it, which is why I would give Of Zots and Xoodles a 4 out of 4 stars.
In Zarqnon’s forward, he says, “Stretching outside preconceived paradigms gives us the flexibility to experience divergent concepts within paradoxical work frames,” and I’ve concluded that this is the best idea to approach this work with. Don’t abandon what you already think you know. Zarqnon doesn’t, but he explores the knowledge he already has. Truly, he’s fulfilling what every high school English teacher wishes upon their students’ essays and expands on his ideas, developing them thoroughly. This story is nostalgic and Theodil has the potential to become a timeless character.
Of Zots and Xoodles
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