December 14, 2007

Journey To The Center Of Oz

Frank Baum's young audience spoke again, this time clamoring to know more about the former Wizard of Oz. They also decided that no book about Oz would be complete unless it involved Dorothy. Baum answered their wishes with the next installment in his popular series, called Dorothy and The Wizard in Oz. Like the previous book, most of the adventure doesn't occur within Oz, but in the fairy land that surrounds it. Or rather... beneath it. The first land they go to actually borders The Nome King's Dominions.

And now, your main characters for this excursion into the bizarre world that can't be found on any map:
Dorothy Gale- While on a trip to visit family in California, an earthquake takes her on an unexpected detour.
Zebediah Hugson- Dorothy's second cousin who takes part in her new adventure after the buggy carrying both of them falls far below the earth's crust.
The Wizard- The former ruler of Oz accidentally enters a crack in the ground while trying to land his balloon and rejoins his old acquaintance from Kansas.
Jim The Cab Horse- Zeb's old horse who tows the buggy. He still has a lot of physical endurance, as well as a bad temper.
Eureka The Kitten- Dorothy's pet who thinks herself to be the center of the universe, although quite resourceful.
The Nine Tiny Piglets- The Wizard's pygmy pigs who are part of his magic act.

Now a brief introduction to the new lands our explorers... explore:
The Vegetable Kingdom- The deepest part of the earth where the gravity is so low, one can walk in midair. The citizens are human in appearance, but are actually living vegetables. They don't take too kindly to the meaty intruders, who they accuse of bringing down a rain of stones that damaged their glass homes.
The Valley of Voe- A beautiful country where a fruit grows that renders whomever eats it invisible. The kind people who inhabit this land can only be identified by their voices. Unfortunately, that also goes for the bears who also inhabit this land.
Country of the Gargoyles- Home to hideous monsters who doesn't appreciate trespassers in their land. The most curious quality of this place is that everyone and everything is made of wood.
The Emerald City- Although reunited with old friends, don't think the troubles are over for the adventurers.

You know, I would briefly recap most of the story, sans the final scenes, but it appears that my descriptions of the characters and locations have already done that job. But if that isn't enough to satisfy your curiosity, I guess you have no choice but to pick up a copy yourself and dive right in.

One must wonder why Toto never gained the ability to speak while he was in Oz. I guess because Baum never thought that he would continue writing about it after his first book, so he never considered giving outside animals the gift of speech until more of them started coming in.

And that's just the way it is.

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