|Tik-Tok of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Originally published by Reilly & Britton, 1914.|
Books Of Wonder edition published by HarperCollins, 1996.
It's been a while since I've shared an Oz book! Well, a long while for me, at any rate. Throughout the month of December, we concentrated on seasonal reads, including some I didn't write about here. Once we finished The Patchwork Girl of Oz, I started reading L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus to the girls at bedtime. I'm sad to say that the reason I didn't post about it is we didn't finish it. Little Sis was not on board with it this year. Her sister wanted me to keep reading, but we had so many other books to read that it seemed like a good idea to put it away until next year. If Little Sis isn't agreeable then, well, I guess Big Sis and I will carve out some mother-daughter alone time!
There have been no protestations against reading the next Oz book, though. In fact, Little Sis is the one who begged to start it!
|The first map of Oz to appear in print! There are mistakes, however. The Munchkin and Winkie countries are backward.|
I knew the eighth book was Tik-Tok of Oz, and I remembered that this is the book that introduces Betsy Bobbin and her donkey friend, Hank, and it involved the Nome King, but until I started reading, the specifics of the plot were lost in my memory. We are not terribly far into the book, but I think the reason I forgot so much is simple: it just wasn't a favorite. Baum adapted parts of it from a stage musical of the same name, then changed it and added to it. The introduction of Betsy feels incredibly familiar. She washes up on a shore adjacent to the Land of Oz, having survived a shipwreck with a donkey named Hank, very similar to Dorothy washing up in the Land of Ev, having survived a shipwreck with Billina in Ozma of Oz. Betsy is supposedly a year older than Dorothy (a fact learned in a later book), and she's from Oklahoma instead of Kansas, but her character doesn't seem much different from Dorothy in the early books.
There are several storylines to follow in this one, new characters, old characters with new names (the Nomes who lost their memories in The Emerald City of Oz are back to their old tricks, with new names), and old standbys. There is an unruly princess who gathers all the men of her tiny kingdom together in the hopes of conquering the world, and her army, made up of all officers and one private. We meet a beautiful Rose Princess, rejected by her rose people to be ruler because she is female, thus banished from her garden to become mortal. We meet up with the Shaggy Man, searching outside of Oz for his brother, thought to be imprisoned by the Nome King. Shaggy and Betsy find Tik-Tok in a well, and meet up with Polychrome, the Rainbow's Daughter. Whew. If you want to know more, check out the Wikipedia entry. We haven't read much farther than that anyway.
One of my chief complaints about this book is that it contains far fewer color illustrations, especially since it directly follows the beautiful Patchwork Girl of Oz. Reilly & Britton was attempting to cut costs. Fortunately, we do have illustrations like this gorgeous one of Ozga, the Rose Princess.
I love this color glimpse at Quox the dragon, as well.
Sadly, I do believe this is the only color illustration of Polychrome in this book. John R. Neill had yet to do her justice, since there were no color illustrations in The Road to Oz.
This black-and-white drawing of Polychrome going home is quite lovely.
The Saw-Horse and Hank, butting heads. They are arguing over which of their mistresses is best, the Saw-Horse loyal to Ozma, Hank to Betsy. The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger, not pictured, argue in Dorothy's favor. (Toto, of course, doesn't talk...)
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