Ozma of Oz (1907) – L. Frank Baum

 

ozma-of-oz-cover

Baum’s third novel in the Oz saga, sees the return of Dorothy Gale, lost at sea, after being swept overboard. She and a talking, yellow hen, the feisty Billina, arrive in the land of Ev. Here on the shores of a large ocean they come across a warning to beware the wheelers, and encounter and befriend the mechanical man Tik Tok.

After a face-off with the wheelers, they travel to the Palace of Ev, and meet the multiple heads of Princess Langwidere, and learn the fate of the Queen and her ten children. They were sold by the King of Ev to the Nome King for longer life. A deal that apparently didn’t meet with the King’s expectations, as he threw himself into the ocean and drowned.

Held prisoner by Langwidere until she decides to give up her head, Dorothy is delighted at the arrival of her old friends, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, in the company of Ozma of Oz, the rightful ruler of Oz, from across the deadly desert.

From this put, the tale ends up being a straight forward, almost dull, in comparison to the other two tales, quest story.

Ozma, and her entourage, now with Dorothy, Tik Tok and Billina in tow, are off to confront the Nome King and demand the release of the queen and her ten children, five girls and five boys. The Nome King has, apparently, turned them into ornaments and bric-a-brac, but offers this deal: each of the adventurers may enter the palace, and pick out a select number of items, touch them, and call out “Ev.” If the ornament is enchanted, the prisoner, trapped within, will be released, if the guesses are all wrong, the adventurer becomes a part of the collection.

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Not the most exciting of tales for Dorothy’s return, and speaking of, elements of this book, and the previous one, were co-opted to make the 1985 film, Return to Oz.

We do get to meet some new and fun characters, including the Hungry Tiger, who suffers from a conscience, and so won’t eat meat, or at least not uncooked meat, and would really like a big fat baby to eat, but knows he’d feel bad afterwards.

There are plenty of humorous lines from all parties, and it makes me think that parents, reading a chapter a night at bed time to their children, probably enjoyed the stories just as much as their children because of them.

It’s nice to see Jinjur near the book’s end, on their return to Oz, but then she ruins it by saying she’s happy to lead a quiet life, and mind her own business, but it also sounds like she keeps her husband in line. A couple of other familiar faces from previous installments make appearances as well. It lends a nice sense of continuity to the stories, and makes sure that favorite characters get mentioned.

And happily, for our little Kansas girl, Dorothy and Ozma set up a way for her to return to Oz on a regular basis, without having to go through a natural disaster or hunt down a magical item each time. So… can you say sequel?

Book four is on the horizon, 1908’s Dorothy and The Wizard in Oz!

L-Frank-Baum

 

 

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