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The Marvelous Land of Oz [Illustrated] Kindle Edition
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|Length: 176 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top customer reviews
This story isn't as timeless and self-contained as the first book, but that doesn't work against it. It's exactly what you want: an exploration of Oz after Dorothy left. In fact, there are no characters from the real world at all (with the possible exception of the Jackdaws).
There are some interesting themes to examine here. There are explorations of gender, politics, and gender politics. Not to mention the questions it raises over the nature of life and the responsibility of creating life.
Baum cheated a bit by including the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman as main characters to advertise the real-world stage play. But the new characters are just as imaginative: the marvelous Jack Pumpkinhead, the snarky Sawhorse, the sesquipedalian Woggle Bug, and the patched-together Gump. The audience surrogate, Tip, is a nice follow-up to Dorothy. Being a native of Oz, his goals are very different, but he's just as assertive and loyal.
I think the villains are a bit more interesting this time around. Mombi does more interesting things with her magic than the Wicked Witch, and General Jinjur is just fabulous. There are some who would take offense at the dated portrayal of a rebellious woman, but stick around to the end and L. Frank Baum might win you back over. Baum probably didn't intend to write a book about gender identity, but it makes the book surprisingly relevant today.
For the best experience, find a copy with the John R. Neill illustrations. The images are very different than those of W. W. Denslow in the Wizard of Oz, but they are full of energy and imagination. I'm glad Neill became the archetypal illustrator for Baum's world.
The Land of Oz is a delightful sequel to a beloved book. If you or someone you love is longing for another journey to Oz, this will fit the bill.
The very first assumption I had shattered was that all the stories centered around our beloved friend Dorothy. They do not! In fact, dear Dorothy does not appear in this story at all. The Marvelous Land of Oz actually features the adventures of a young orphan boy named Tip and his rather different group of friends, which include Jack Pumpkinhead, the Wooden Sawhorse, the Highly Magnified Woggle-Bug, and the amazing Gump, along with our old friends the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodsman.
In this adventure Tip escapes from the clutches of an evil old witch named Mombi and with the aid of his friends battle General Jinjur and her army of knitting needle wielding young girls to regain control of the Emerald City. The plot twist at the end for me was the real selling point of this story as Tip and his friends discover the location of Princess Ozma, the true ruler of the Land of Oz. A very different tale to say the least, but a fun one and something I can certainly see myself reading again.
Now however, I have to say parts of the story made me as a modern day reader somewhat uncomfortable. Yes, the story as a whole is fun and harmless and simply a product of its time, but I'm not sure I'd want to read this to a child without careful discussion of the sexism it contains. This army of girls decided to take over a kingdom just because they want the jewels, and they know they won't even be opposed because no one would hurt a girl. At the end, all is right with the world because the men are finally relieved from being forced to cook and clean, and the females all cook a proper meal. Our poor main character is forced to change sexes so he returns to the sex he was born with, and not the one he lived with for all of his life - this just strikes me as so uncomfortable and wrong.
Overall it's worth reading, but some moments had me cringing.
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