The Lost Princess of Oz

The Lost Princess of Oz by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by John R. Neill.
Originally published by Reilly & Britton, 1917.
Books Of Wonder edition published by HarperCollins, 1998.

Tonight, we are watching the skies here in south-central Kansas. We are under a tornado watch. The Weather Channel is here! Friends have spotted their truck around town, along with other popular tornado chase vehicles. I don't know if there will be anything, but the threat has been so strong that everything is canceled tonight. There were no after-school clubs, dance classes are canceled, even my rehearsal for Richard III was canceled. "Well, if there is a tornado and it hits us, I hope I go to Oz," said Little Sis.

It has been so long since I blogged about our reading adventures in Oz! Indeed, I blogged about Rinkitink in Oz way back in August. Well, last week saw us finishing ol' Rinkitink - finally. I can firmly state that my least favorite Baum Oz books are that one and Tik-Tok of Oz. Little Sis gave up on Rinkitink completely, and Big Sis and I would only read it if we felt like it. We were so excited as we neared the end, however, because now it is time for Big Sis's favorite Oz book, The Lost Princess of Oz.


Endpapers!

I started reading the Oz books to Little Sis before her third birthday. It probably sounds ridiculous, reading big chapter books to a 2 1/2-year-old, but she loved for me to tell her stories at bedtime, and I was running out of stories. I had never read the Oz books, so I started to check the Books Of Wonder almost-facsimile editions out from the library. Because she was so little when we started, her memories of the earliest books were fuzzy to non-existent. She remembered bits of Road to Oz, and the Glass Cat and Scraps and the Woozy stood out from Patchwork Girl of Oz, but her favorite, the one that stayed with her all this time, is this one.


The dedication is so sweet. Ozma was the daughter of Baum's youngest son, Kenneth Gage Baum.


One day, Dorothy, Betsy Bobbin, and Trot discover that Ozma is missing. She is nowhere to be found, and Jellia Jamb, her maid, never saw her leave her chamber. What's more, Ozma's Magic Picture is missing, too! The Wizard rushes south to the Gillikin Country to see Glinda, but Glinda has a mystery of her own. Her Great Book of Records, in which every important thing that has ever happened in the world is magically written down, has disappeared. When the Wizard tells her about Ozma and the Picture, they go to the gather Glinda's magical instruments, only to find them gone, as well.


Meanwhile, in a tiny country at the top of a steep rock in the Winkie Country, Cayke the Cookie Cook is making a big racket over her missing gold diamond-studded dishpan. Her fellow Yips, as the people are known, take her to see the Frogman, a giant frog who walks on his hind legs and wears magnificent clothing. The Frogman is known as the wisest of the wise in Yip country, but he's really a humbug. He loves to think himself superior, but deep down, he knows he is less wise than the Yips think he is. When no one comes forward to admit to stealing the dishpan, Cayke and the Frogman descend the mountain, determined to find it in the outside world.


Back in the Emerald City, search parties are gathered, in order to find Ozma. What makes this book so fantastic is it's the first time many of our favorite characters appear together for a full book! Ojo, Unc Nunkie, Dr. Pipt, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Shaggy Man and his brother, the Wizard, Dorothy, Trot, Button Bright, Betsy Bobbin and Hank (her donkey), Scraps, the Woozy, the Sawhorse, Toto...  They all set off to look for the missing Ozma.



This is also the book where Toto really starts talking. He can be quite amusing, if a little exasperating.


We visit many odd places, and meet many more strange people. John R. Neill's illustrations are awesome, as usual. Baum gave him a lot to work with in this book.

The diamond-headed inhabitants of Thi.


Here is Button Bright, picking a peach. This is a very important plot point.


Oh, the bears! I can't wait until we get to Bear Center. And later, we'll meet Ugu the Shoemaker, who lives in a wickerwork castle. Sadly, there is no illustration of the castle.







I don't want to give the entire book away, but if you must, you can always read more about it here. I'm thrilled to say that both girls are very into this one. That includes Little Sis.

The kitties have been snuggling with us as we read, too, but I think that has more to do with wanting attention than it has to do with talking dogs and donkeys and the like.

Say cheese, Jenny!



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Comments

  1. Oh this one looks wonderful. We 've been reading the Marvel comics, Stavroula's been obsessed with the Mombi-Tip-Ozma story from the second book. We need to get to the actual books sometime, she's been asking for it.
    I do hope there's no tornado after all! There are so many other ways to go to Oz if you want to ;)

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I would definitely prefer another mode of transport! :) I do need to look into the comics later. We're already halfway through this book (such a change from the last one!), and there aren't many left after it. If I can't start the Ruth Plumly Thompson books, which are harder to find, I may start the comics, at least for myself.

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