Wizard of Oz Read-Along
Book 3 – Ozma of Oz

April 16, 2017 Books, Read-Alongs 4

First and most importantly: If you’re reading this series along with me, thank you for your patience. I’ll try to do a better job of sticking to our schedule in the future!

Book 3 – Ozma of Oz

Blown overboard while sailing with her uncle, Dorothy finds herself in the fairy realm of Ev. She sets out with her friends to rescue the Queen of Ev and her ten children, who have been imprisoned by the cruel Nome King. But even Ozma, the wise Ruler of Oz, is no match for the clever king, and it’s up to Dorothy to save everyone from terrible danger. But will the Nome King’s enchantments be too much even for the plucky little girl from Kansas?

My Thoughts:

Basically the entire book (entire series?) might be summed up like so:

Sensible reader: Dorothy, no
Dorothy: DOROTHY YES

I mean, take the very first scene of this particular book:

Captain: Storm’s a-comin’
Storm: *happens*
Captain: OK, everyone stay off the deck and you’ll be fine
Captain: Idiot says what
Dorothy: What???
Storm: *intensifies*
Dorothy: LEEERRROOOYYY JEEENKIIINNNSSS

But I will confess that it’s kinda endearing how hilariously optimistic our little heroine is throughout her adventures and the way she just takes weird things in stride.

She laughs and then takes a dang nap after getting washed overboard on a chicken coop, acts like it is perfectly normal when a similarly marooned chicken starts up a conversation (and renames said chicken because it has an inappropriately masculine name and that can’t be allowed), happily eats a mysteriously “ripe” packed lunch off of a packed-lunch tree, and… well you, get the idea.

One funny, sort of creepy thing about reading this is that it triggered some very vague, unsettling memories. First it was the Wheelers, then Tik-Tok… these characters seemed so familiar and it was easy to picture them in my mind. I read Maguire’s Wicked (upon which the popular musical show is based) and at least one of its sequels several years ago, so I assumed that’s where I was getting my ideas of these characters.

It wasn’t until Langwidere and her exchangeable heads that I realized where I’d actually encountered these characters before: the 1985 movie Return to Oz, a much darker work than the 1939 musical despite being produced by Disney.

The movie isn’t precisely faithful to the source material, although it does include several of the most recognizable characters/scenes. Frankly, the movie is creepy beyond belief and it both fascinated me and gave me nightmares as a kid, which is probably why I remembered-yet-suppressed it until now.

Questions:
  • Have you seen the Return to Oz movie — and how did you feel about it?
  • Do you find Dorothy charming, idiotic, something in between, something altoghter different?
  • Any other particularly awesome/terrible characters from this book in your opinion?

Are you reading this series along with me? If you have reviewed or discussed this book online, please feel free to post a link to that in the comments. (But you don’t have to be an “official” participant to discuss this book in the comments if you feel so inclined.)

Please note: Even though I try to avoid major spoilers in my blog post, I can’t promise that the comments will remain spoiler-free too — so read at your own risk!

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4 Responses to “Wizard of Oz Read-Along
Book 3 – Ozma of Oz

  1. Warren

    I found I enjoyed this one far more than #2 and perhaps even more than #1. I actually read it in one sitting, and was a little sorry when it ended.
    Firstly, I understand Dorothy and her uncle probably had to pack light to cruise to Australia, so Dorothy obviously did not pack all her consonants! Did Baum decide to give her what I can only presume is a Midwestern accent to amuse himself, or is there some attempt at showing us she was from poor,uneducated folk? Dorothy was quite articulate and prim in #1.
    As for the new characters, I loved the Hungry Tiger very much, although we don’t see a lot of him, and why would he and The Cowardly Lion agree to be harnessed to a carriage???!!! Not so enamoured with Billina (although it is really her that saves the day) – not sure why except I wasn’t thrilled with her in the movie Return to Oz and maybe that carried over a bit
    Which brings me to the movie. I saw it some years ago and agree that it was very dark for children, especially the beginning set in the hospital/asylum. I thought the girl who played Dorothy, Fairuza Balk, did an excellent job (I have only seen her in one other movie, The Craft, which she also shone in). I don’t remember the movie ending as well, although I see from IMDB that it was a bit of a jumble of books #2 and #3.
    Usual inclusion of puns and wordplay sprinkled through. I also liked the Nome King in his early jovial mood when he thought he was in an unbeatable position.
    But for me the story hinged on Billina and therefore I wished I could have liked her more. But now all I want to see is a Battle Royal between her and the Wogglebug 🙂

    • Louise

      I just literally LOL’d at “Dorothy obviously did not pack all her consonants”… her new accent was certainly pretty silly. Also, a Billina v. Woggle-Bug showdown would be AMAZING.

  2. Allison @ mounttoberead

    Review linked here: http://mounttoberead.blogspot.com/2017/03/ozma-of-oz-by-l-frank-baum.html

    As I mention in my review, this is my favorite Oz book. I remember so much of it from when I read it as a kid, and I remember being absolutely fascinated by the whole thing!

    I remember watching the movie about four years ago. Don’t remember too much about it other than the fact that it was particularly creepy. The asylum stuff didn’t strike true to anything in the books to me, but I can see how many of the other things could be construed as creepy.

    Other than the fact that she suddenly took on an accent that wasn’t there before, I didn’t have any issues with Dorothy. I think I’d call her charming more than anything, though she can be a bit passive. She’s very willing to let things happen as they will rather than doing anything about it.

    I enjoyed Tik Tok, and I thought the “Army of Oz” was charmingly ridiculous.

    • Louise

      Yeah, the weird accent was probably unnecessary, but “charming” is a pretty great descriptor for Dorothy. She’s just so optimistic and accepting, like someone who could skip across a street following a butterfly… and somehow totally miss the car that narrowly missed smushing her running into the serial killer that was stalking her.

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