Having enjoyed reading the American, turn-of-the-century, children’s classic, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, during my first Classics Club list, I straight away added its 1904 sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz to my second list. Which I picked up to read in March, looking for some light relief in my reading, with the start of the current troubling times.
In this, the second of Baum’s magical Oz tales, set after Dorothy has returned home to Kansas, we follow the wonderful adventures of a young boy named Tip, as he travels through the many lands of Oz, with his magical creations, Jack Pumpkinhead and the Wooden Sawhorse. They are heading to the Emerald City to escape the evil witch Mombi, who Tip was left with as a baby and who has treated him cruelly and put him to work ever since; but it was her nasty threat to turn him into a statue that made Tip finally brave enough to flee.
However on arriving at the Emerald City, Tip finds that the ruler of city, the Scarecrow, is under siege from General Jinjur and the city is in chaos as her army of young women put the men to work and steal the precious emerald gems right of the walls, paths and buildings. So Tip performs a daring escape with the Scarecrow and sets off on a dangerous adventure to seek the help of the Tin Woodman, in the land of the Winkies, to thwart Mombi’s wicked plans; overcome General Jinjur’s rebellion; and find the true leader who can bring peace: the lost princess Ozma.
While young Tip was still a little two-dimensional, as Dorothy had been in the previous book, I did find him a plucky and likeable fellow, and with the addition of our old friends the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, as well as many new, colourful friends, too, like: Jack Pumpkinhead, the Highly Magnified Woggle-Bug and the amazing Gump, I found myself never bored or in want of amusement, and so, what followed was a charming set of adventures, laced with danger, magic, friendship and, surprisingly, some investigation of gender roles – No, I really didn’t see that coming either! But it was a pleasant surprise, if still a little old fashioned in its views.
All in all, The Marvelous Land of Oz was exactly what I wanted: a light, fun and endearing magical adventure, that was perfect to escape into, even with my tired mind, and I finished it off in a couple of sittings. After finishing this I am seriously wondering whether I should add the next of Baum’s Oz books, Ozma of Oz, to my classics list. Good read.
I’d love to hear you thoughts: Have you read this or any of the other Oz books? Have you perhaps seen the films? Finally, do you think I should add another Oz book to my current Classics Club list?
This is book #16 off my Classics Club II list.