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The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)

by L. Frank Baum

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Trot and Cap'n Bill Series (3), Oz : Baum (9), Oz (9), Oz : Famous Forty (book 9)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2001313,387 (3.76)18
The adventures of Trot and Cap'n Bill take them to Oz where they help solve the problem of Pom, whose truelove's heart has been turned to ice by witches.
  1. 20
    Sky Island by L. Frank Baum (HollyMS)
    HollyMS: Sky Island is the second book featuring Trot and Cap'n Bill and the last until their reintroduction in The Scarecrow of Oz.
  2. 20
    The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum (HollyMS)
    HollyMS: The characters of Trot and Cap'n Bill were first introduced in 1911's The Sea Fairies, which is not part of the Oz series.

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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
This novel unites Baum's Trot and Cap'n Bill books with his Oz ones by bringing those two characters (along with Button-Bright) to live in Oz. The writers of the late, lamented Oz blog Burzee were skeptical of what Baum claims in his foreword, that his readers wanted him to bring Trot and Cap'n Bill to Oz, but going on the sample of reading the books aloud to my three-year-old son, it's entirely believable; he'd been campaigning for it since we read The Sea Fairies, and continued to campaign for it throughout this book. "When are they going to get to Oz???" he'd plaintively ask about once a chapter.

This is the one of Baum's original fourteen Oz novels that I remembered the least about going into it. Beyond the fact that Trot and Cap'n Bill and Button-Bright made it to Oz in the end, I could have told you literally nothing about it. While I remember many of the early novels in exhaustive detail, everything from this point on is a bit murkier, yet for each novel I could give you some capsule plot... except this one. All of the places they visited were totally new to me; the adventure the characters had with the Scarecrow in Jinxland upon finally getting to Oz did not strike a single chord of memory.

It's a bit surprising because though I don't think it would ever be a favorite, it has some fun bits. The subterranean explorations that open the novel are well done, the visit to Pessim's island is entertaining, Cap'n Bill comes across better than ever. Back in Sea Fairies, he was very skeptical about magic; now he comes across as very practical about it. It's him who comes up with many of the characters' best plans, applying down-to-earth problem-solving skills to extraordinary situations. My son was particularly taken with the trip to Mo (Baum once again crossing over with one of his other fantasies, in this case The Magical Monarch of Mo) where it rains lemonade and snows popcorn, and while taking a car ride during this book we spent some time imagining what all the other kinds of Mo weather could embody. I don't remember having much of an opinion of Button-Bright as a child, but I find him highly entertaining now, and I think Scarecrow is the best depiction in the series of his almost supernatural ability to get lost. (It does seem a shame after how big a deal was made over his Magic Umbrella in Sky Island, that he just loses it between books here!)

One thing I appreciated is that I felt like it had more illustrations than Tik-Tok of Oz, where they had seemed somewhat sparse, with many pages passing with no visuals. Scarecrow of Oz constantly had something of visual interest to look at.

On the other hand, for a book called The Scarecrow of Oz, it really does not show off the Scarecrow at his best. Do his brains solve the crisis in Jinxland? No, not at all. It's just luck! A bit disappointing; Baum often seemed to forget in the later books to actually show the Scarecrow being smart!

My son seemed to like it on the whole. During the sequence where the Scarecrow was threatened with burning, though, he hid under his covers. It's interesting; sequences of physical danger didn't seem to affect him much in the earlier books, but as we go on and his understanding of the stories is growing, they can scare him more and more. On the other hand, what is disturbing to an adult is something he just doesn't get. In this one, we learn that since people in Oz live forever, if you dispose of an old king by throwing him into a lake and dropping stones on him, he's just down there forever!

My son was taken by the Ork, the bird with a propeller for a tail, so much that we built one together out of Duplo.

During the time period we were reading this, at one point we were playing and my son turned to me and said, "Dad, why do we live in Florida?" "What do you mean?" I asked cautiously, not really wanting to explain the academic job market. "Why don't we live in Oz?"

Good question.
  Stevil2001 | Jun 18, 2022 |
I love all the Oz books! This is the one in which a little girl named Trot and her sailor pal Cap’n Bill come to Oz. They meet a lot of lovable characters like the Bumpy Man and Button Bright, and they help the Scarecrow solve a problem with the monarchy of Jinxland. ( )
  jollyavis | Dec 14, 2021 |
L. Frank Baum is an author I have read many times since I first discovered him in second grade. I find that his books stand up to the test of time and they are books that I enjoy re-reading. Some of them are stronger than others but as a whole I quite enjoy both the stories and characters. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Life is hard when you're a writer chock-full of creative ideas but the whiny jerks whose parents buy your books only want more of the same. 'Scarecrow of Oz' starts off with a jolt with main characters Trot and Cap'n Bill just existing with barely a sketch of an introduction - Betsy Bobbin at least gave her mule some exposition about their homeless plight in 'Tik-Tok of Oz' - but there is a sense that Baum expected readers to know who these two were, especially when it turns out they'd had adventures with Button Bright in the past. Of course they did. Another review points out that those books are 'The Sea Fairies' and 'Sky Island'.

Much like 'The Road to Oz' this book was supposed to lure children into reading Baum's non-Oz books, but this time he spent a little more effort on the plot. Cap'n Bill and Trot are drawn into a whirlpool and trapped underground, only the appearance of a Ork allows them to escape the caverns. They don't come out in the mundane world, however.

It turns out that to the South and a turn from Quadling Country is a great mountain range that cuts off one of Ozma's client-states from the rest of Oz. This isolation has allowed that kingdom to continue in a state of disharmony that makes a story interesting. A wicked king rules the land, he had taken the throne from a mean king who had taken the throne from a nice king. His niece, daughter of nice king, has fallen in love with the gardener's boy, son of mean king, and refuses to marry a rich courtier. The wicked king resorts to wicked magic to get his way - inspiring Trot and Cap'n Bill to help out in any way they can. Can they help the lovers and defeat the wicked king?

Already a lot more is going on then in several of the previous books, and though the inevitable help from the Scarecrow arrives, a great deal of the resolution comes from Trot, Cap'n Bill and the Ork's relationship and actions. If only they didn't have to go back to Oz to stay at the end. Trot and Cap'n Bill don't appear to worry about Trot's mother. And Button Bright's parents are...?


Next: 'Rinkitink in Oz'

Previous: 'Tik-Tok of Oz' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
L. Frank Baumprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chenevert, PhilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glassman, PeterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neill, John R.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated to "The Uplifters" of Los Angeles, California, in grateful appreciation of the pleasure I have derived from association with them, and in recognition of their sincere endeavor to uplift humanity through kindness, consideration and good-fellowship. They are big men - all of them - all with the generous hearts of little children.
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"Seems to me," said Cap'n Bill, as he sat beside Trot under the big acacia tree, looking out over the blue ocean, "seems to me, Trot, as how the more we know, the more we find we don't know."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The adventures of Trot and Cap'n Bill take them to Oz where they help solve the problem of Pom, whose truelove's heart has been turned to ice by witches.

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