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The Road to Oz by Frank L. Baum

The Road to Oz (original 1909; edition 2008)

by Frank L. Baum

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Title:The Road to Oz
Authors:Frank L. Baum
Info:IndyPublish (2008), Hardcover, 144 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum (1909)

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    Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: If you enjoy the camaraderie of the friends on a series of adventures with magic things popping up but want something better written and more adult, give the Silverberg a try.

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After rereading [b:The Road to Oz|179639|The Road to Oz (Oz, #5)|L. Frank Baum|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1172470719s/179639.jpg|1038552], I was tempted to assume that readers in 1909 were less demanding than readers today. I also assumed that there must have been any number of worthier books to purchase in 1909; but 1909 seems to have been a rather low year in publishing. Young readers looking for a continuing series would have done better to try [a:L.M. Montgomery|5350|L.M. Montgomery|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1188896723p2/5350.jpg]'s sequel [b:Anne of Avonlea|77390|Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)|L.M. Montgomery|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1305545757s/77390.jpg|63845], or [b:Harding's Luck|176413|Harding's Luck (Fabian Time Fantasies, #2)|E. Nesbit|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348919997s/176413.jpg|2512739] by [a:E. Nesbit|6468260|E. Nesbit|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1349932723p2/6468260.jpg]; otherwise there were only a couple of stories by [a:Beatrix Potter|11593|Beatrix Potter|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1201022492p2/11593.jpg] published that year, and no other enduring classics. So maybe people weren't disappointed by Oz. What disappoints me in the fifth volume of [a:L. Frank Baum|3242|L. Frank Baum|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1383720421p2/3242.jpg]'s Oz series is not so much the lack of conflict or coherent plot (though I am disappointed by those) as the continuing watering down and dumbing down of the Oz mythology in general. The first three books in the series make a fantastic trilogy and set up a compelling world--a uniquely American mythology. Along with the classic fairy elements and the humor and friendship, there is danger, there are lots of things in Oz that aren't as they should be, and there are hints of a disturbing historical backstory. This begins to change in [b:book four|179596|Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz A Faithful Record of Their Amazing Adventures in an Underground World And How With the Aid of Their Friends Zeb Hugson,|L. Frank Baum|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1379331591s/179596.jpg|173513], when the Wizard--who up to that point had been a sinister figure (a shameless shyster who arrives in Oz and manipulates the situation to his own benefit; conscripts Oz residents into slave labor to construct the Emerald City, "just to keep them occupied"; abducts the infant heir to the throne of Oz, has her transformed into a boy and hidden away in a remote corner of the north country under the care of a malicious witch; spends decades living in secluded comfort in the palace while continuing to dupe everyone around him; passively allows the outright enslavement of half of the Oz population; and sends a Kansas girl and her friends to what he assumes will be their certain demise)--reappears as a cuddly, friendly old man whom everyone loves. No apologies, no explanations, no reason for the change. Ozma has every reason to abhor this man, but instead he's given a fine apartment in the palace and (along with the nine tiny white piglets--his shtick) becomes a great favorite of all. Book four thus makes it clear that Baum doesn't have the heart to see anything bad happen to anyone (except certain people, for no logical reason; more on that later). The revelation slipped into this book is that there is no natural death in Oz:    "But I thought nobody ever died in Oz," [Dorothy] said.    "Nor do they; although if one is bad, he may be condemned and killed by the good citizens," [the Tin Woodman] answered. What?? Even if other dangers could still be imagined by Baum's "little correspondents," they can rest assured that any injustice that goes unnoticed by Glinda in her magic book of records will surely be caught by Ozma in her magic picture, which she can then right by means of her magic belt. Another disappointment in The Road to Oz is the shabby way the main characters treat others. The Tin Woodman has already become a vain, self-centered character, but now all the rest of the characters join him. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the company's treatment of the poor musicker. This man has done nothing wrong, other than annoy some of the characters with his constant music-breathing. And yet for this he is mocked and permanently ostracized, even by the charming girlish ruler, Ozma herself. Other characters, on the other hand, have turned our heroes' heads into fox or donkey heads, yet they are quickly forgiven, invited to Ozma's party, and so take their place in the Emerald City inner circle. I'm also disturbed by the horrible defeat of the Scoodlers, who are never given a chance to explain their underlying motivations before our heroes toss the Scoodlers' heads into a deep chasm. Sorry, Scoodlers. There's never any conflict in this story (and we learn later that even if we'd thought there was confict, no one was ever in any danger whatsoever), but the final chapters are as unconflicted as a book could possibly be. They become a litany of the histories of the characters we've already met before, and the introductions to characters we've never heard of before (and Santa Claus), all of whom are borrowed from Baum's non-Oz "Nonestica" stories. [b:The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus|715058|The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus|L. Frank Baum|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1387732742s/715058.jpg|701311] gives us Santa, the Knooks, and the Ryls. [b:Queen Zixi of Ix|109505|Queen Zixi of Ix|L. Frank Baum|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348037645s/109505.jpg|105529] features the Queen herself, along with Bud and Fluff. Dot and Tot in Merryland brings us Queen Dolly and the Candy Man. And John Dough, though a generic nickname for any gingerbread man, is borrowed from Baum's [b:John Dough and the Cherub|1099578|John Dough and the Cherub|L. Frank Baum|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348730810s/1099578.jpg|1086456]. None of these borrowed characters is interesting or useful in the present story. But that might imply that any of the original characters introduced first in The Road to Oz are. Unfortunately, none of the new characters has any sort of payoff for his or her distinctive character traits. It doesn't matter at all that Polychrome is the Rainbow's Daughter. Button-Bright's innocence doesn't help or hinder the travelers in any way. The Shaggy Man comes the closest to having some kind of character arc, but even he fails to intrigue, after the initial chapters (which I found quite amusing, actually, featuring some of Baum's classic wordplay and oddities). It's a disappointing book in so many ways, but as I read it aloud to the family for bedtimes, we enjoyed laughing at it; and when I finished, the kids asked me to start the next Oz book right away. Go figure. ( )
1 vote | Aug 8, 2014 | edit |
Reread Summer 2004 from Gutenberg
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
By some odd chance I can't explain, when I was really young the only Oz book I had was The Road to Oz. I had seen the Wizard of Oz movie, but I did not read the book until later, so Road was my introduction to Oz, and I am still very fond of its characters like the Shaggy Man and Johnny Doit.-though I now think Baum's statement that pretty little girls are never harmed by shaggy tramps could be dangerous. Even Allegro da Capo, the human musicmaker, still amuses me. The culminating birthday party may seem trivial compared to the climaxes of some of the stories, but it introduced me to Baum's non-Oz characters Who apper as guests, and I later hunted up those books too and enjoyed them. ( )
  antiquary | Feb 9, 2014 |
I really need to stop expecting these to have a plot, rather than a series of adventures culminating in someone going home again, but this one seemed even slighter than usual and I'm afraid just didn't do it for me. I didn't connect to the new characters (though delighted a little when old friends showed up), and nothing really happened. At least there were cannibals. (Well, I suppose they weren't technically cannibals. People-eaters, then.) ( )
  rrainer | Sep 20, 2013 |
I was a fan with the Oz series growing up, and it's great to know I'm still a fan as an adult! I love revisiting these books, they truly are timeless! ( )
  bereneezypie | Apr 26, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
L. Frank Baumprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neill, John ReaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my first grandson Joslyn Stanton Baum
First words
"Please, miss," said the shaggy man, "can you tell me the road to Butterfield?"
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine L. Frank Baum's The Road to Oz with the Little Golden Book adaptation of the same title, or with other abridgments, young reader's editions, anthologies, etc. Thank you.
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References to this work on external resources.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0688099971, Hardcover)

Dorothy and Toto are off again on an exciting adventure down The Road to Oz!

In order to help the lovable, ever-wandering Shaggy Man, Dorothy and Toto must journey through magical and mysterious lands. Soon the three are joined by a lost lad named Button-Bright and the beautiful young Polychromethe Rainbow's Daughter. With magic at work and danger about, these new friends must journey through cities of talking beasts, across the Deadly Desert into the Truth Pond, and through many other strange and incredible places before they can reach the Emerald City.

Along the way, Dorothy and her companions encounter a whole new assortment of fantastic and funny characters--the crafty King Dox of Foxville, the magical donkey King Kik-a-bray, the terrible bigheaded Scoodlers, and Johnny Dooit (who can do anything)--along with old friends Jack Pumpkinhead, Tik-tok, Billina, and, of course, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and the wonderful Wizard himself.

The Road to Oz is the fifth adventure in the magical Land of Oz. For the first time since the original 1909 edition, this stunning new facsimile edition illustrates Dorothy's fantastic adventures on different colors of paper reflecting where she and her friends are on the road to Oz. Featuring all of John R. Neill's 126 striking pen-and-ink drawings, this handsome deluxe edition is one to be treasured for years to come.

Afterword by Peter Glassman. This deluxe facsimile of the fifth Oz adventure reunites Dorothy and her friends for Princess Ozma's glorious birthday party. For the first time since the original 1909 edition, the 126 masterful illustrations are printed on colored papers, exactly as the author intended. A Books of Wonder Classic.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:03 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Dorothy and her friends follow the enchanted road to Oz and arrive in time for Ozma's birthday party.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Average: (3.73)
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