Wizard of Oz Read-Along
Book 4 – Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

April 30, 2017 Books, Read-Alongs 2

We’re not in Kansas California anymore, Toto Eureka….

Book 4 – Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

During a California earthquake Dorothy falls into the underground Land of the Mangaboos where she again meets the Wizard of Oz.

My Thoughts:

Perhaps I’m just being a bit too curmudgeonly, but I thought this was the most disjointed and unsettling book of the Oz series so far.

Don’t get me wrong, Baum’s talent for inventing absolutely bonkers places and people is still evident. For example: How the heck did he come up with a land of sentient vegetables who live in glass houses? But that’s where the charm begins and ends for me.

The last part of the book, where Dorothy et al. end up in Oz and the horse characters decide to run an inexplicable race and a talking cat is charged with murder, seems weirdly disjointed. It’s as though Baum had a grand old time sending the kids and the Wizard on yet another whimsical adventure, but then felt obligated to provide a kind of “fanservice” with all the old gang making an appearance.

I’m also not quite sure what to think of the Wizard at this point. Did he send Ozma to Mombi as a power grab, or was the whole thing actually orchestrated by the witch(es), or what? Does the Wizard have amnesia or something? Is he villainous or just plain stupid?

I’m honestly not looking forward to finishing the series at this point. What started out as charming and imaginative seems to be devolving into something kind of half-baked and formulaic (if the formula was smashed to bits and glued back together in not quite the right way). But maybe I’m being too grouchy. Tell me what you think!

Questions:
  • What do you think the deal is with the Wizard at this point? Bad guy, complete idiot, or just plain annoying, or something else?
  • We’ve met several new characters over the last few books — are you enjoying this expanding cast, or do you wish the originals would get more of the spotlight?

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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2 Responses to “Wizard of Oz Read-Along
Book 4 – Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

  1. Al @ mounttoberead

    Here’s a link to my review which actually addresses much of what you wrote: http://mounttoberead.blogspot.com/2017/05/dorothy-and-wizard-in-oz-by-l-frank-baum.html

    I think the deal with the Wizard is that Baum isn’t writing this series with a plan in mind. The Wizard is a massive continuity error. Based off the letters from Baum at the beginning of each of these books, it sounds like he waits until he knows he has readers, and then he writes the books including as many of their ideas as possible. I don’t get the sense that he had any sense of continuity as he wrote these, and he didn’t bother to look back to see what he wrote before. I remember finding the continuity errors really obnoxious the first time I read through the entire series. Now, I’m finding it an interesting idiosyncrasy of the books – but I suspect reading only one book a month is helping it not feel so tiresome to me.

    The expanding cast is tough for me. I like the original, but that’s partially because the original four is so ingrained in my head. I know at least two more who join the cast, and then I think for the rest of the series, it’s pretty much “established” as much as it can be.

    I actually do like this book. Better that Return to Oz at least. The weakest portion of this one was when they arrived at Oz actually. I really liked them traveling through the earth and could have read about many more places they visited. I’m happy to continue reading these with you as long as we keep it at a pace of one a month.

  2. Warren

    Pleased to see Dorothy has regained most of her vowels on her return to the States, and was only mildly inconvenienced by the Great Australian Consonant Drought of 1908.
    Baum seemed to take more care in his landscape descriptions this time round, at the expense of some continuity particularly The Wizard and his good guy/bad guy role – did he make a power grab for The Emerald City or not??!! I too enjoyed the underground civilizations Dorothy and Co toured, but equally didn’t mind the tacked-on Oz ending – maybe he had a page quota to meet and instructions to include his earlier creations as well.
    There seemed a lot more violence here, added without too much thought. The fire could have spread to decimate the Gargoyle race, while the death of Gwig would have been quite gory if he had been flesh and blood rather than vegetable.
    I did like the Braided Man making rustles – I think I have some hiking pants made by him! And the kitten – nice honest little carnivore that she is!

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