If you’ve been following me, you’ll know that I finally finished reading all 15 of L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. Yes, there are 14 books that continue the story of Dorothy and her friends in the land of Oz. You can read them all as ebooks separately for free (or get the Kindle collection for 99 cents). Or (as above) you can scour Barnes & Nobles for the three collective books. Now, onto some reviews (this gets long so be warned!).
The First Five Novels:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Book One) is the story we all know and love, thanks to the classic movie made in 1939. Its still one of my favorites, and introduces all the major characters. The movie follows the book pretty closely, so if you’ve never read the book but have seen the movie, you’ll be able to follow along without any problems.
In The Marvelous Land of Oz (Book Two) we meet some new characters that reappear throughout the series, most notably the Sawhorse and Jack Pumpkinhead. It’s another adventure through Munchkinland against Mombi, but more notable is General Jinjur and her all female army. We also finally meet the dethrowned leader of Oz, but in a most peculiar manner (this is a reason this is my second favorite Oz book).
Ozma of Oz is the third book, where we come upon the Nome King for the first time. Unfortunately he makes trouble for many citizens in Oz and does so reoccurringly for quite a few more books.
Book four, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, is a bit of a filler book. The author wanted to write a book for his fans and so included many of their suggestions in this book. Its a new adventure for Dorothy and the Wizard, they meet many new characters, but none of them return in any of the next books.
In The Road to Oz (Book Five) we meet more new characters as Dorothy travels through more of Oz. The Shaggy Man, Button Bright, and Polychrome (another favorite) are introduced, and all of them return in future books. We also have a return to Baum’s original writing style.
Novels Six Through Ten:
In The Emerald City of Oz (Book Six) Dorothy brings both her Aunt and Uncle over into Oz, where they can live there happily ever after. Dorothy always finds trouble and ends up lost, while the Nome King returns to wreck some havoc on the citizen of Oz. I liked that Dorothy finally brought her relatives to live with her, and that is an important plot point in the series.
Book Seven: The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Book Seven) obviously introduces us to a new character, but Ojo is the star character(?). However, the Patchwork Girl and another new character (the Glass Cat) are the ones who return for another adventure. By this point, Baum is introducing new characters in each book, forgetting some along the way, something I don’t care for.
More friends arrive in Book Eight, Tik-Tok of Oz, and the return of the Shaggy Man who wishes to rescue his brother from, you know who, the Nome King. At least Dorothy and Ozma have a new playmate from Oklahoma (Betsy Bobbin, who returns in further books).
The Scarecrow of Oz (Book Nine) helps newly arrived friends from another Baum series, which makes this book a crossover (though I’ve never read that series). I’ve never read that series, but it makes this book very similar to Book Seven, and Book Four, and maybe some others.
I have a blog post review of Book Ten: Rinkitink in Oz , so I won’t go over it too much here, but it’s almost a stand alone book in this series.
Novels Eleven Through Fifteen:
I have blog post reviews of the last five novels, so I’ll sum this all up quickly. In Book Eleven Ozma is kidnapped and everyone (nearly) comes to her rescue, in Book Tweleve, the Tin Woodman finally remembers his Munchkin sweetheart, Book Thirteen is Ozma’s party and final end to the Nome King, and in Book Fourteen Dorothy is kidnapped and then rescued. Book Fifteen is a short story collection that fills in some holes from the series. Below are links to reviews I’ve already done:
Most of you will be quite happy just to read the first book and leave it as such. After all the first book is the most popular having been made into movies on several occasions (The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, Tin Man, etc) and therefore the most well known.
Some will want to know what happened next, and boy, is there a next. Fourteen books of next even. If you are a serious Oz fan that you might not be disappointed, but do be aware that the books repeat storylines, have enough characters that you’ll need a chart to keep track of them all (hey, there’s a thought), and become a bit predictable and anticlimactic after awhile.
Having said all that, I’ll probably read through this series again (and make that chart!).