First issued in 1904, L. Frank Baum’s The Marvelous Land of Oz is the story of the wonderful adventures of the young boy named Tip as he travels throughout the many lands of Oz. Here he meets with our old friends the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, as well as some new friends like Jack Pumpkinhead, the Wooden Sawhorse, the Highly Magnified Woggle-Bug, and the amazing Gump. How they thwart the wicked plans of the evil witch Mombi and overcome the rebellion of General Jinjur and her army of young women is a tale as exciting and endearing today as it was when first published over eighty years ago.
For me, The Marvelous Land of Oz, was in some ways a lot better than the first, and more well known book. Whereas the plot fell short in the first book, it really shines in this one and creates a story with some really interesting themes.
The Marvelous Land of Oz contains a surprising amount of feminism. As was established in the first book, the witches of the north and south are the most powerful people in the land of Oz, but there are also other witches who are strong and flaunt the rules. We are also introduced to a young girl named Jinjur who is tired of men ruling the emerald city and launches a rebellion, fighting with what she has, knitting needles. She forces the men to take on typical women’s jobs were they discover that taking care of the home is harder than it seems.
Second, is the concept of intelligence and formal learning vs. experience. One one side is the scarecrow who is very analytical and the Woggle-Bug who is thoroughly educated and on the other is the Pumpkin Head and the Saw Horse who gain knowledge each day. Numerous times throughout the book, solving problems through simplicity beats out complex solutions. The idea of corruption through intelligence is also present.
I enjoyed seeing the progression of the characters over time and also of the land of Oz itself. There is a quite surprising plot twist near the end of the book that I wasn’t able to guess at.
In all, the Marvelous Land of Oz is great continuation of the series and I can’t wait to see what happens next!