Meet Rinkitink–a kindhearted king who’s as fat and jolly as old Saint Nick himself! When the jovial monarch sails for a visit to the island kingdom of Pingaree, he and his talking goat, Bilbil, are welcomed with open arms. Before long, Rinkitink’s lighthearted ways and merry songs endear him to the king and queen of Pingaree, as well as to their son, Prince Inga.
But when the peaceful isle is invaded by fierce warriors, everyone from the rulers to the smallest child is taken off in chains. Only Prince Inga, Rinkitink, and Bilbil escape the conquerors. And so the three friends set out–aided by the magical Pearls of Pingaree–to rescue the prince’s people.
Their perilous quest takes them across the vast Nonestic Ocean to the terrible islands of Regos and Coregos to the dark underground domains of the Nome King. Victories are followed by setbacks, which are in turn followed by strokes of good fortune. Just when it seems our friends have met their match in the clever Nome King, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz arrive to lend a hand.
Baum was faced with a dilemma. His fans only wanted Oz books and would allow him to write nothing else, despite the fact that Baum had many ideas beyond Oz. Over the last few books he slowly drifted away from Oz to other fairy lands, but there was always a strong connection to Oz. With Rinkitink in Oz, the story is completely separate from Oz and only connects to Oz in the final chapters. In this way, Baum explores other lands, characters and themes away from Oz while still satisfying his loyal fans.
I can’t believe it been a year since I last read an Oz book, time really does fly. But I was happy to delve back into the world of Baum’s imagination. There are some themes that run throughout all the Oz books, issues that Baum was clearly concerned about such as war and intelligence, which manifest themselves in different ways in each book.
Rinkitink in Oz is perhaps less imaginative than the other Oz books as there are no interesting creatures populating the pages, but its a fascinating tale nonetheless. This story takes a look the politics of warring nations. Two connected islands, Regos and Coregos are populated by cruel warriors who pillage and enslave surrounding nations. It is made clear that people gravitate towards, and worship those who are the most powerful, but that ultimately it is patience and wisdom that is required to be a good leader.
The characters were interesting as well; King Rinkitink who hates being a king because it’s no fun, the resourceful and determined Prince Inga who wants to rescue his people, the talking goat Bibil who has a sour disposition setting the stage for some comedic scenes and Nikobob, the humble and practical charcoal burner. And of course there’s magic (or it wouldn’t be an Oz book!) this time in the form of magic pearls.
Yet another fun Oz book, I can’t wait to read the next one!