The Scarecrow of Oz

The Scarecrow of Oz by L. Frank Baum,
illustrated by John R. Neill.
Reilly & Britton, 1915.
Books of Wonder edition, William Morrow and Company, 1997.

No big reading round-up for you today, although I'm happy to report that Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times was as fun to read as the cover would have you believe.  The girls and I are off for a weekend adventure, but coming with us is our bedtime reading, The Scarecrow of Oz.

{I have not written an Oz post since MARCH.  Can you believe it?!}

It may have taken us half the year to read Tik-Tok of Oz, but we're moving pretty quickly through this one, the ninth in the series.  The Scarecrow of Oz was published a year after the Oz Film Manufacturing Company's movie His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz.  Other notable facts about Scarecrow:

  • It is the book that brings Trot and Cap'n Bill, the main characters from his two favorite non-Oz titles, The Sea Fairies and Sky Island, to the land of Oz.  [I have yet to read either book.]
  • It was Baum's favorite Oz book.
  • Trot is the last child from the mortal world to come to Oz.  

While the Scarecrow is the title character and hero of the story, it takes an incredibly long time for him to make his appearance.  We meet Trot and Cap'n Bill on the first page, and immediately, the action begins.  A whirlpool carries them off, but thanks to the protection of invisible mermaids, they survive the ordeal.  They find a cavern and soon, make the acquaintance of an Ork, a strange flying creature with no feathers, but with a propeller tail and four strange disc-like wings.

This book has so much plot, I am exhausted attempting to summarize it!  The trio find an island inhabited by a cranky man named Pessim, a mountain in the Land of Mo where it rains lemonade and snows popcorn, and on the mountain, they find little Button Bright, who traveled with Dorothy, the Shaggy Man, and Polychrome on The Road to Oz.  

Eventually, the three humans hitch a ride with three overgrown birds (thanks, magic berries), dangling from swings(!) between the birds' legs, with the Ork leading the way.  They wind up in a secluded country in the land of Oz called Jinxland, dealing with corrupt kings, separated lovers, and a witch named Blinkie, who turns Cap'n Bill into a grasshopper.

And in Glinda's palace in the Quadling Country, reading all about these events in Glinda's magic book, is the beloved Scarecrow, who sets off to save the day.

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It's been nearly five years since I read this one to Big Sis the first time, and we're only as far as the flight into Oz, so I'm rattling off what details I can remember.  If memory serves me, there are a lot of twists and turns in Jinxland, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book again.

And here is the film that came before it.  As far as prints go, this one is decent and the music that accompanies it is very nice.  Amazing to think it was made 100 years ago!

The next book in the series is also the last one I own, as of right now:  Rinkitink in Oz.  The girls are getting antsy for book 11, The Lost Princess of Oz.  It's the first Oz book Big Sis truly remembers from the first time we read the books, and it's a fun one.  So many favorite characters, some entertaining new ones, and some of my favorite John R. Neill illustrations...  Must finish this one, then must plow through Rinkitink.  Must get Lost Princess.  Thank goodness I have a birthday coming soon...

Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

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  1. Julia and her daddy are reading The Road to Oz right now!! they are having so much fun! Oh how I loved Scarecrow of Oz. I forgot about Cap'n Bill turning into a cricket! Such a good one.....I don't think I own The Lost Princess of Oz either.....and I only have one Book of Wonder version, I have a bunch of ratty paperbacks that REALLY need updating! These are all going on my Christmas list!

    1. Well, I just got the Dover paperback edition of Sky Island, but it does have the color illustrations, even it they're all sandwiched together in the middle! I love The Road to Oz. It's one of my four favorites, along with Patchwork Girl, Lost Princess, and The Tin Woodman of Oz.

  2. Oh which birthday is coming? I want to read the Lost Princess of Oz! Which reminds me that most of the doll releases about Oz never have the Princess :( I wonder why. I mean to me she is a rather known characters from the Oz series but maybe I am wrong and I just happen to know because I notice the princess characters a lot more? Don't know but it's a shame if they don't make her more known. Have a good weekend Danzel!

    1. It will be my birthday in a couple of weeks. ;) Most Oz doll releases concentrate on movie characters, not book characters. Ozma's a cool character, but aside from Return to Oz, which is only loosely based on the books, Ozma is not Oz movies. The books would need to make a big comeback, I think. Even growing up in Kansas, I know few people who have read any of the books, and if they have, it's usually just the first book. No Ozma. :)

  3. Great books ...beautiful illustrations as well as the century old Film!!


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