The Road To Oz

The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by John R. Neill.
First published by Reilly & Britton, 1909.
Books Of Wonder edition published by HarperCollins, 1991.

Little Sis and I are nearing the end of The Road to Oz, the fifth book in the series by L. Frank Baum.  In fact, the road has led Dorothy, Toto, and their new friends to the Emerald City, and they are about to pay a visit to Princess Ozma.  I'm excited to read the final chapters again.  Ozma has arranged another fairyland adventure for Dorothy, in order to bring Dorothy to Oz for her birthday party.  The book culminates with visits from not characters from all of the Oz books, but from some of Baum's other children's books, as well: John Dough and the Cherub, Dot and Tot of Merryland, Queen Zixi of Ix, and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.

Endpaper love.

While this is one of my favorite Oz books in terms of story, it is the most disappointing when it comes to illustrations.  Instead of the gorgeous full-color illustrations, this book was printed on multi-colored paper, and the illustrations by John R. Neill are pen-and-ink only.  The detail is beautiful, but I miss the color.

Dorothy and Toto are at the farm in Kansas, when they are approached by the Shaggy Man, asking for directions to Butterfield.  (By the way, there is no town called Butterfield in Kansas.  There is a Butterfield Trail, though!)  Dorothy starts to walk with him a bit, in order to show him the road, but suddenly, the one road becomes many new roads!  Fairy magic!  As the threesome walk along their chosen road, they encounter a lost little boy named Button Bright, whose stock phrase is "Don't know," and a beautiful girl in colorful, flowing robes named Polychrome, the Rainbow's Daughter.  There are visits to a town ruled by foxes and another ruled by donkeys.  There are unwanted transformations and a close call with some head-throwing creatures called Scoodlers, who want to cook the group into soup.  There is a helpful visit from a chap called Johnny Dooit, who builds the friends a sand boat to sail across the Deadly Desert.  And finally, we have the beautiful birthday party, which ends with everyone being carried home in giant bubbles.

Tomorrow, I'll have some more Road to Oz to share with you!  Until then, here is another Oz oddity for you today!  In 1960, there was an episode of Shirley Temple's Storybook entitled "The Land of Oz."  The cast list is impressive:  Agnes Moorehead, Jonathan Winters, Sterling Hollaway, Arthur Treacher, the voice of Mel Blanc, and Temple herself as Ozma.


  1. What a shame the illustrations are not in color! They are truly beautiful! Well, on the other hand, you could photocopy them and color them yourself for fun! I didn't know Shirley Temple acted as Ozma!

    1. They're almost too detailed for coloring, and the colored paper makes them difficult to photocopy well. But it's a very nice idea! Yeah, Shirley Temple's Storybook was an anthology series from the early sixties, hosted by and often starring the adult Shirley in a variety of fairy tales and children's stories. We were checking them out from the library, but now they are on Hulu, so we watch them on the TV via the Roku!

  2. Shirley as Ozma?? Did they dye her hair black? Gotta watch the video (i'm commenting first, watching later). Did I already say Road to Oz is my fav Oz book? Or did I saw that about the last one? It's this one. LOVE Button Bright!!

    HAVE GOT to get started on these with J.

    1. Of course, she spends most of the show as Tip, as it's a loose adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz. The girls and I have had fun with Button Bright. Sometimes I don't say, "Don't know," but let them fill in the blank.

      "You-know-who said..."
      "Don't know!"

      When this one is over, it will be time for The Emerald City of Oz, which was supposed to be the last Oz book. Dorothy and Henry and Em move to Oz permanently, and everyone battles Roquat the Red, aka The Nome King. I remember that book taking fooorrrreeeeevvvvvveeeeeerr to get through. I hope it's better than I remember. I'm impatient to get to Scraps!

  3. Too bad the video won't play outside the United States! The book looks so lovely. Adorable illustrations, it reminds me of an old Alice in Wonderland book I had. Haven't read this one, I need to catch up with the Oz stories. :)

    1. Sorry! I always look for a YouTube link, but they've kept a tight rein on these. They really want you to buy the DVD collection! (I think the commercial to order the set is all that is on YouTube.)


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