I know that for a majority of people, Oz is the place over the rainbow that Judy Garland’s Dorothy traveled to. But that is only a small part of the story.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is just the first of fourteen full-length Oz books that Baum wrote. I grew up on Oz books, generally getting one book each Christmas and birthday. I loved them and read them to such an extent that when my father would read them to me, I would correct him if he changed a word.
I found out later that Oziana is a big deal, scholars and fans alike write all kinds of texts — scholarly and fan fiction alike — about this far-off land and its magical inhabitants.
The Crazy Cast of Characters
I had my favorites. Dorothy Gale of Kansas: brave, loyal and loving. The Cowardly Lion, the Tin Woodsman (the Tin Man was the Hollywood conceit), the Scarecrow: all loving friends and great companions. But then there were all these other great characters from later books:
- Bungle, the Glass Cat who is exceedingly vain of her pink marble brains
- Scraps, the Patchwork Girl who makes up crazy rhymes
- Professor HM Wogglebug, TE, the over-educated punster
- Ruggedo, the Nome King
not to mention the the Sawhorse, Jack Pumpkinhead, and the poetic Tottenhots:
We’re the jolly Tottenhots;
We do not like the day,
But in the night ’tis our delight
To gambol, skip and play.
“We hate the sun and from it run,
The moon is cool and clear,
So on this spot each Tottenhot
Waits for it to appear.
“We’re ev’ry one chock full of fun,
And full of mischief, too;
But if you’re gay and with us play
We’ll do no harm to you.”
“Glad to meet you, Tottenhots,” said the Scarecrow solemnly. “But you mustn’t expect us to play with you all night, for we’ve traveled all day and some of us are tired.”
“And we never gamble,” added the Patchwork Girl. “It’s against the Law.”