website statistics The Royal Book of Oz - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

The Royal Book of Oz

Availability: Ready to download

The Scarecrow decides to search for his family tree and winds up discovering that he is the long-lost Emperor of the Silver Island. Along the way, he meets such colorful characters as the A-B-Sea Serpent, the lumpy mud men, Sir Hokus of Pokes, and others. Includes whimsical illustrations by John R. Neill.


Compare

The Scarecrow decides to search for his family tree and winds up discovering that he is the long-lost Emperor of the Silver Island. Along the way, he meets such colorful characters as the A-B-Sea Serpent, the lumpy mud men, Sir Hokus of Pokes, and others. Includes whimsical illustrations by John R. Neill.

30 review for The Royal Book of Oz

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gene

    H.M. Wogglebug, T.E. had an idea of creating a genealogy tree for every significant Oz inhabitant. Scarecrow realized that he does not have any family tree whatsoever which made him visit his farm of origin. He ended up discovering he was a long-lost emperor of a distant country. Dorothy bothered by his long absence set off in search for her oldest Oz friend. The book is credited to L. Frank Baum but it does not take a genius to figure out he had very little, if any, input. The writing style and H.M. Wogglebug, T.E. had an idea of creating a genealogy tree for every significant Oz inhabitant. Scarecrow realized that he does not have any family tree whatsoever which made him visit his farm of origin. He ended up discovering he was a long-lost emperor of a distant country. Dorothy bothered by his long absence set off in search for her oldest Oz friend. The book is credited to L. Frank Baum but it does not take a genius to figure out he had very little, if any, input. The writing style and personalities of recurring characters are completely different. The changed personalities are not bad as they allow for some minor friction between regulars making their interactions more interesting. Now about the bad parts of the novel. In case somebody have not noticed the latest trend in winning any argument is to call you opponent racist regardless of the argument's nature and opponents view on races. Repeat the accusation until it sticks and you win. For this exact reason I am very careful not to throw around the word "racist" needlessly. This time I feel justified calling the novel laughably racist. The Silver Island where Scarecrow became an Emperor is made after Ancient China; written by a person who literally had no clue what she was writing about and using all kinds of stereotypes as an inspiration. I was willing to accept even this - keeping in mind the time the book was written - until I stumbled upon the description of a dinner. At this point I decided enough is enough and an accusation in racism is justified. The plot failed to excite me. Quite probably the reason for this was a contrast with Baum's writing. The novel was not completely hopeless, so I am willing to give it two stars. This is the last book of Oz available from Project Gutenberg and I feel this would be a very good time to stop reading the series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I received an advanced reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. I've always loved the wizard of oz and the return to oz films and so I leapt at the chance to read one of the original books. This book wasn't as great a delight as I had hoped and fell abit flat for me but I really enjoyed the artwork throughout the book. I received an advanced reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. I've always loved the wizard of oz and the return to oz films and so I leapt at the chance to read one of the original books. This book wasn't as great a delight as I had hoped and fell abit flat for me but I really enjoyed the artwork throughout the book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    This is the first Oz book I have read since I was a child. I wouldn't call myself a fan, but by the end I could see the appeal of these books. It was so happy and optimistic with such simple and yet magical adventures. And the Librivox narrator was simply amazing. This is the first Oz book I have read since I was a child. I wouldn't call myself a fan, but by the end I could see the appeal of these books. It was so happy and optimistic with such simple and yet magical adventures. And the Librivox narrator was simply amazing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cortney

    This book, in most forms, is credited to L. Frank Baum, but The Royal Book of Oz was written by Thompson after Baum's death. But even without having been told this, nothing could have been more obvious than Baum's absence upon reading the book. If the writing style alone hadn't been a dead giveaway, then the characters having gone through complete personality changes probably would have done the trick. Ozma as cross? Dorothy as annoyed? The Wogglebug as rude and haughty? Though there were hints This book, in most forms, is credited to L. Frank Baum, but The Royal Book of Oz was written by Thompson after Baum's death. But even without having been told this, nothing could have been more obvious than Baum's absence upon reading the book. If the writing style alone hadn't been a dead giveaway, then the characters having gone through complete personality changes probably would have done the trick. Ozma as cross? Dorothy as annoyed? The Wogglebug as rude and haughty? Though there were hints of their former selves, these were not the characters that we'd come to know and love, a change that was the biggest disappointment. And this was not the smooth and enchanting writing style to which we had become accustomed, either. Though Thompson does include some witty remarks and word play that will be enjoyable to older readers, some of her sentence formation—especially around the speaking of characters—is on the complex side for younger readers to follow. This is a far cry from Baum who, though writing at the turn of the century and with a style that reflected it, was still accessible for the younger set. And you might be tempted to wonder if the book would have been better were I treating it as its own thing, but first, she didn't write it as its own thing—she even published it under Baum's name—and second, her style is choppy even when held up entirely on its own. This book was a huge disappointment.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile

    Check out my reviews on the main page of each book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Valentino

    I had recently re-read all the original Oz books with my son, and finally decided that I wanted to see what the non-Baum books were like. My son, on the other hand (he's 8) declared he only wanted to read the originals, so he declined! The book is not particularly good, although there are some creative things in it. In fact, that's the best part - when Thompson stops creating new things and tries to write like Baum, it doesn't come across so well. She always has the Patchwork Girl speak in rhyme, I had recently re-read all the original Oz books with my son, and finally decided that I wanted to see what the non-Baum books were like. My son, on the other hand (he's 8) declared he only wanted to read the originals, so he declined! The book is not particularly good, although there are some creative things in it. In fact, that's the best part - when Thompson stops creating new things and tries to write like Baum, it doesn't come across so well. She always has the Patchwork Girl speak in rhyme, for example. It reminds me of more recent Winnie the Pooh shows on TV, where each character has a speaking attribute and all lines fall into that formula. Also, a large part of the story takes place in pseudo-China. It's actually called the Silver Island, and they specifically say that China is elsewhere, but it seems like a poor parody. Granted, for what is essentially fan fiction that was published in 1921, it could have been a lot worse, but still, the book would have been better for me if the entire country had been made up instead of a bad stereotype. But there were some good things, like the sea serpents and Sir Hokus. I liked him in particular, because he had been in Oz, in slumber, since the Middle Ages. I thought that was the most creative part of the book, that Dorothy wasn't the first person to come there, not by centuries. Overall, though, a bit of a slog to get through. It's not the Oz books, but it's an Oz book at least. I may try the next in the series to see if they get any better as they go along, but if they're the same as this one I'll likely stick with the originals.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    The Royal Book of Oz is disappointing, and it's probably lucky that I originally read Kabumpo in Oz first, as I'm not sure I'd have bothered with more Thompson after Royal Book. While looking for his ancestors, the Scarecrow slides down to Silver Island, where he's acclaimed as Emperor; when Dorothy discovers that he's missing, she and the Cowardly Lion go looking for him. Thompson does introduce several new and interesting characters -- Sir Hokus of Pokes, the Doubtful Dromedary, and the Comfor The Royal Book of Oz is disappointing, and it's probably lucky that I originally read Kabumpo in Oz first, as I'm not sure I'd have bothered with more Thompson after Royal Book. While looking for his ancestors, the Scarecrow slides down to Silver Island, where he's acclaimed as Emperor; when Dorothy discovers that he's missing, she and the Cowardly Lion go looking for him. Thompson does introduce several new and interesting characters -- Sir Hokus of Pokes, the Doubtful Dromedary, and the Comfortable Camel -- but I never felt as though she had a good handle on many of Baum's characters (particularly Dorothy), although she does develop the Cowardly Lion more than Baum had. Unfortunately, her effort to introduce new places goes awry; Silver Island, on the other side of the world from Oz, abounds with offensive racial stereotyping of Asian culture and customs. Perhaps it's just a product of its time, but that doesn't make it any more attractive to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ronnie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was very reluctant to read the Ruth Plumly Thompson OZ books and it took me over 25 years to finally succumb to temptation. I read the Baum 14 once every 3-5 years just to take a vacation back to my happy place - and the idea that Baum died and HIS Oz ended has always left a sour taste in my mouth - but I get it, people die. I tried to ignore the rest of the canon ... until now. There is the theory that Baum had written a majority of THE ROYAL BOOK OF OZ before his death after naming Thompson I was very reluctant to read the Ruth Plumly Thompson OZ books and it took me over 25 years to finally succumb to temptation. I read the Baum 14 once every 3-5 years just to take a vacation back to my happy place - and the idea that Baum died and HIS Oz ended has always left a sour taste in my mouth - but I get it, people die. I tried to ignore the rest of the canon ... until now. There is the theory that Baum had written a majority of THE ROYAL BOOK OF OZ before his death after naming Thompson as his successor (aka The Royal Historian of Oz). I read the book desperately hoping to feel his touch on this, the 15th story set in Oz. I did not feel Baum anywhere in this. IF he had written some of this - it was very raw and very sparse and Thompson came in and truly finished the work. I say this because of one giant plot hole that I could not get past - and I do not believe Baum would have made this error: The entire book begins with the Wogglebug creating a Royal Genealogy of everyone who lives in Oz - which triggers the Scarecrow to go off looking for his family. The Scarecrow has no family. Over the course of the first 14 books - we are reminded (at least three times) of where the Scarecrow came from - he was made by a Munchkin farmer and only became sentient when his eyes/ears/mouth were painted on ... he isn't descended from anyone ... but he goes in search of his family anyway. If you ignore this continuity error - the book is pretty cute. The Scarecrow decides that his "family tree" is simply the pole that Dorothy rescued him from in Book 1. Oddly enough, when he returns to the spot and (for some reason) launches himself back onto the pole - the earth opens up and he slides and slides and slides, down down down, into the earth beneath Oz. This takes him to The Silver Island (?) where he is informed that YES he has a family and YES he is the long lost Emperor. They give Scarecrow the Magic Fan, he opens it, fans himself and goes sailing across the island. It's a super fan, basically. It scares him because he's so light, so he tucks it into his vest pocket to be forgotten about until the last chapter. Then, he is introduced to his three sons (the princes) and his fifteen grandsons. Oh yeah, everyone on The Silver Island is really pretty racist by today's standards. More about that later ... PLOT B: Dorothy and The Cowardly Lion leave The Emerald City to go have a casual visit with the Scarecrow (thus realizing he's missing, thus embarking on a journey to find him...). Once on the road - they encounter the first major new character a la Thompson; Sir Hokus of Pokes, the Knight Errant. He's the comedic relief, the Don Quixote, the dingbat in search of a dragon (there are no dragons in Oz, everyone knows that). Either way, this "road trip" introduces us to new "towns" in Oz. We visit Fix City, where all the people don't move but the furniture, food, trees, etc. fly around as ordered - they believe it spares them from becoming tired and gives them longer lives. They encounter a 40 foot Giant who's made completely out of candy (?) and then somehow wind up on "Wish Way," a road that leads through the Winkie Country. Once there, they meet The Comfortable and The Doubtful Dromedaries (these two claim to have come out of The Deadly Desert and also sling a good deal of gentle racism toward Middle Easterners - they both lament the loss of their Karwan Bashi, they both have literally EVERYTHING the group needs in their saddlebags - including figs, tents, pillows and a half-dozen things no camel should ever have on it). There's a comic misadventure as each of the group accidentally wishes for things and transform into a dozen different creatures. Thank goodness Dorothy keeps her head and screams "I wish we could all be with the Scarecrow again," and *poof* we enter Plot A. While all that is happening, in Plot A on The Silver Island (which is somehow inside the earth and somehow also an island ... no beach is ever seen, no edges - so idk). After the really stereotypical Asian characters declare the Scarecrow their long lost Emperor (which they call the Great Chew Chew) named, "Chang Wang Woe (I'm not kidding)" the people of The Silver Island declare his current incarnation, that of a Scarecrow, to be unpleasing to the eye - so they prepare to restrain him and transform him with magic. Magic which will prevent him from ever returning or remembering his life in Oz. Thank goodness a little street urchin named Tappy Oko bonds with Scarecrow and attempts to sneak him out of The Silver Island - but that backfires and they're both thrown into a dank, dark pit. Oh, right - Tappy's last name IS Pudding, btw. Other Silver Islanders of note are - Princess Orange Blossom and General Mugwump. Once Dorothy's wish dumps her troupe into the cell with Scarecrow and Tappy - we sail toward another happy ending. They decide the best way out is to climb the bean pole - but The Cowardly Lion can't climb a pole and Sir Hokus is too heavy with all his armor - so they decide on a different tactic ... just as the royal army of the islanders appear to coronate the Scarecrow and begin his transformation (brainwashing) ceremony. A lot of weird, random stuff happens (even Thompson writes that she's not even sure what's going on) - but basically Scarecrow gives the fan to Dorothy, who shoots high into the air and closes her parasol (which no one knew she had?) and as she fell, Sir Hokus thinks she's a dragon and leaps to attack her - knocking over a silver vase filled with magic elixir which changes the three princes and General Mugwump into pigs; conveniently. The group proclaims Tappy Oko the new Emperor of The Silver Island and they head back to Oz using the fan/parasol combo. Attaching a rope for each member of the party, Dorothy fans them back up along the course of the bean pole until *poof* they pop out of the ground, in the cornfield in Munchkin country, back in Oz. Bim Bam Boom - they're back in the Emerald City and Ozma gives everyone sanctuary and happiness, as per usual. The plot of this book was all over the place. It seemed like someone had a pretty decent adventure, chopped it up and stitched it back together - all crooked. The entire time, I kept overlooking things that would have bothered me, had Baum done it. But he'd never have made a book like this. So, I allow one pass for Thompson for diving into this world and trying to do the best she could. It's fair. Not great, not good, not terrible ... just fair. ...and in no way deters me from continuing...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tym

    While lacking the charm and fun of Baum’s Oz books, it did have some charm of its own. The characters were not really the same as previously written by Baum, with Dorothy and Ozma getting cross and saying things they would never say. Some of the new characters are as original and fun as the old, I especially like Sir Hokus and the Doubtful Dromedary. This Oz also felt different than Baum’s, it was almost manic in energy. Now I want to address the big silver elephant in the room. The Silver Islan While lacking the charm and fun of Baum’s Oz books, it did have some charm of its own. The characters were not really the same as previously written by Baum, with Dorothy and Ozma getting cross and saying things they would never say. Some of the new characters are as original and fun as the old, I especially like Sir Hokus and the Doubtful Dromedary. This Oz also felt different than Baum’s, it was almost manic in energy. Now I want to address the big silver elephant in the room. The Silver Islanders. They a quite obvious replacement for the Chinese and their portrayal is definitely racist, with the royal children repeatedly banging their heads against the ground from bowing too enthusiastically. The illustrations only make it worse, it was obviously written at a time when Yellow Peril was at its height. Though I’ll give the author credit for not making them all bad. It’s somewhat understandable given the times but makes me cringe. I have a deep affection for Oz in nearly all of its incarnations which is probably why this got 3 stars instead of 2. If I didn’t know it gets better I probably wouldn’t continue but I hear the next book is a big improvement. How do you deal with racist/homophobic/sexist portrayals in old books? I tend to let it slide, what does that say about me?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Kilgore

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was my first time reading one of Thompson’s books and I was pleasantly surprised. First and foremost, she is not Baum. Tonally and stylistically, this felt more like reading a Bobbsey Twins book than an Oz book. The language is simpler, the puns are more intense and the comedy is broader. That being said, after I adjusted to it, I didn’t mind it. The story itself, at its core, isn’t a bad story at all. The Wogglebug, in all his pompous ways, flat out tells Scarecrow that he doesn’t matter a This was my first time reading one of Thompson’s books and I was pleasantly surprised. First and foremost, she is not Baum. Tonally and stylistically, this felt more like reading a Bobbsey Twins book than an Oz book. The language is simpler, the puns are more intense and the comedy is broader. That being said, after I adjusted to it, I didn’t mind it. The story itself, at its core, isn’t a bad story at all. The Wogglebug, in all his pompous ways, flat out tells Scarecrow that he doesn’t matter and has no family. So Scarecrow goes off to see what he can learn, accidentally slides down his old pole and winds up in an underground world where he is proclaimed to be their former emperor reincarnated. However this upsets the sons who were in line for the throne and they come up with a plan to take it for themselves. Meanwhile, Dorothy and Cowardly Lion set off to find Scarecrow and tell him that they want to adopt him and be his family, and along the way have the typical B plot travelogue adventures and make some new friends. And, if Thompson had decided to make something new of the Silver Island characters and their world, the book would be a 4 or 5 star rating. However, she instead draws comparisons to Chinese people, fills it with horrifying stereotypes and jokes and, with help from Neill’s illustrations, presents us with good old fashioned racism and that truly hurts the book. Much like Sam and Dinah in the Bobbsey books, the portrayal of the Silver Islanders was definitely racist then, and it’s racist now. Should this stop you from reading the book for yourself or to your children? That’s your call. I think that it makes for a great way to open discussion about how Americans viewed individuals of Asian descent, especially for kids.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Professor Wogglebug undertakes the task of writing a royal book of Oz and recording the history of the most famous citizens. But when the Scarecrow realizes he has no relations, he goes on an unexpected journey to find his family. This was the first Oz book completed after the death of L. Frank Baum, and Ms. Thompson doesn't do well at all on her first attempt. The chapters were way too long and the story was completely ridiculous, even for a fantasy book. There were unfortunate references to Chi Professor Wogglebug undertakes the task of writing a royal book of Oz and recording the history of the most famous citizens. But when the Scarecrow realizes he has no relations, he goes on an unexpected journey to find his family. This was the first Oz book completed after the death of L. Frank Baum, and Ms. Thompson doesn't do well at all on her first attempt. The chapters were way too long and the story was completely ridiculous, even for a fantasy book. There were unfortunate references to Chinese culture and customs that simply do not age well and terrible plays on words. Overall this was a disappointment, but we will read her next book to see if it's any better. My 7yo insists, which speaks more to Mr. Baum's work than Ms. Thompson's.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scratch

    Wow. I realize this was published in the 1920s, but dearie me, this was one of the most racist things I have read in a long time. To be fair, I loved the original Oz books when I was a little kid. I actually checked this one out of the library because I needed a prop for a family-appropriate self portrait. I didn't even end up using this book in the photo, and I guess I should be grateful for that. I finally just read it for the Hell of it. I was not expecting to find an offensive parody characte Wow. I realize this was published in the 1920s, but dearie me, this was one of the most racist things I have read in a long time. To be fair, I loved the original Oz books when I was a little kid. I actually checked this one out of the library because I needed a prop for a family-appropriate self portrait. I didn't even end up using this book in the photo, and I guess I should be grateful for that. I finally just read it for the Hell of it. I was not expecting to find an offensive parody characterization of Chinese culture in the form of this Silver Island. To sum up, an explanation is finally provided for how the Scarecrow came to life. Long-time fans are probably aware that Jack Pumpkin-Head and The Patchwork Girl of Oz were both brought to life with a special magical powder. However, this was never shown for the Scarecrow. Here, "Ruth Plumly Thompson" takes up L. Frank Baum's mantle in writing for Oz, and she butchers it. She characterizes the Scarecrow as a reincarnation of the Emperor of the Silver Island, which is allegedly populated by a "cousin" race to the Chinese. The emperor's spirit went through the magic bean pole and animated the Scarecrow who was mounted upon it. The Scarecrow finds his people and is made miserable by them. He doesn't eat at all (because, you know, he's a scarecrow), but he still managed to find time to express moral outrage that these people ate cats and roasted mice. ... Lot of problems with that. A) Non-American cultures do often eat non-American foods, and a rational person should be capable of accepting cultural differences, or at the very least show enough manners that you don't openly mock people who are treating you as an honored guest while they eat dinner, and B) I'm really not sure that any particular Asian culture eats cats and mice, anyway. The Scarecrow expressed constant misery about learning that he was Asian. He was contemptuous of his sons and grandsons and refused to regard any of them as people. He hated these people's cultural practices in every possible way and kept finding them wanting compared to Oz customs. He took a lowly servant as his new best friend, destroyed this kingdom's culture, and then appointed the little Asian kid as the new emperor in his place, despite the kid begging to go to Oz. I guess because Asian kids aren't good enough to go to Oz proper, and spend time with all the nice little white girls? The only point I liked, which may have been accidental, was the idea that your biological family isn't as important as the family that you choose. If the Scarecrow were supposed to be an analogy for an adopted child, that part of the message is sweet. Of course, if you view this as a story where a disfigured adopted child learned that he was a different race than he thought he was, and thereafter abandoned his ethnicity to spend more time with white people, it's crazy offensive and harmful to any minority children who might read this. I do not recommend this book for children. It is only useful for research into American attitudes on race relations over the course of the last century.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shoshana

    There are a lot of things I liked in this book. I like Ruth Plumly Thompson's voice. It is clearly inspired by but different from Baum's. It actually reads a hair more sophisticated, I think; she doesn't use the word "droll" so often, for example. It's interesting that Baum left notes for this one and Thompson wrote it; maybe that's why despite Thompson's voice it feels more like a Baum storyline than a Thompson one (if I'm remembering her other books correctly - and from the beginning of Kabumpo There are a lot of things I liked in this book. I like Ruth Plumly Thompson's voice. It is clearly inspired by but different from Baum's. It actually reads a hair more sophisticated, I think; she doesn't use the word "droll" so often, for example. It's interesting that Baum left notes for this one and Thompson wrote it; maybe that's why despite Thompson's voice it feels more like a Baum storyline than a Thompson one (if I'm remembering her other books correctly - and from the beginning of Kabumpo in Oz, which I've started already). I like that there's a dual plotline going on - the Scarecrow looking for his family tree and Dorothy and the Lion looking for the Scarecrow and getting lost a bunch in typical wander-around-Oz-and-discover-droll-people fashion. I like a lot of the people: I like Sir Hokus and I like the Pokes; I like the Fixes; I like the A-B-Sea Serpent and Rattles; I especially like the Comfortable Camel and the Doubtful Dromedary. I like Wish Way. I really like the reference to "You are old, Father William." I like the part where the princess says, "All men are Scarecrows!" This book was headed for four stars from me. Unfortunately, I had to subtract three stars for EGREGIOUS RACISM. The Scarecrow falls down the beanpole that is his family tree, and lands on Silver Island, where he is hailed as containing the spirit of their old lost emperor. Here is the first thing we read about the people of Silver Isle: "They looked exactly like the pictures of some Chinamen [the Scarecrow] had seen in one of Dorothy's picture books back in Oz, but instead of being yellow, their skin was a crious gray, and the hair of old and young alike was silver and worn in long, stiff queues.... 'Welcome home, immortal and illustrious Ancestor! Welcome, ancient and serene Father!' cried the others, banging their heads hard on the floor - so hard their queues flew in the air." OH GOD. It only gets worse from there. We hear about their rigid political strictures, their difficult-to-walk-in-kimonos, their ludicrous names (Chew Chew, for example), and their food ("as the Silver Islanders at much the same fare as their Chinese cousins, you can imagine the poor Scarecrow's feelings"). The Scarecrow makes up his mind to call one of them by a mixed up version of his name because he thinks it suits him better. COME THE EFF ON. I don't know if this is coming from Baum or Thompson, given the collaborative nature of the book. And I understand that it was published in 1921. And in fact, when it gets to actually describing the general characters of the Silver Islanders, they are more or less like all the other people we've met in the Oz books - a mixture of stupid and clever, some loyal, some conniving, most cowardly. It's clear that even Baum and Thompson know that underneath all their "exotic" traits Silver Islanders are human. But I still can't handle it, and it's too bad, but I still can't give this book more than one star. Sorry.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rich Meyer

    Mediocre at best, with some tinges of racism. There's at least a little conflict between some of the Oz-ites (Scarecrow and Woggle-Bug) to give it a little interest. Mediocre at best, with some tinges of racism. There's at least a little conflict between some of the Oz-ites (Scarecrow and Woggle-Bug) to give it a little interest.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    Though the book is quite dated in spots, you cannot deny the tremendous amount of imagination that went into its composition.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tom Shrimplin

    A very entertaining book, which, of course, all the Oz books are. Mrs. Thompson did a masterful job of putting Baum's notes together into a book that is just as good as all the other Oz books. A very entertaining book, which, of course, all the Oz books are. Mrs. Thompson did a masterful job of putting Baum's notes together into a book that is just as good as all the other Oz books.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Dehoff

    This story starts with the Wogglebug deciding to write about the genealogy of the Ozian celebrities, with the Scarecrow feeling left out because he doesn't know his origins. Of course, a lot of famous Ozites don't really have ancestries as such, but the book kind of glosses over that by mostly just having them respond to the bug with jokes. The Patchwork Girl and Glass Cat know who made them and brought them to life, but don't seem to consider the Pipts their parents. Jack thinks of Ozma, who ma This story starts with the Wogglebug deciding to write about the genealogy of the Ozian celebrities, with the Scarecrow feeling left out because he doesn't know his origins. Of course, a lot of famous Ozites don't really have ancestries as such, but the book kind of glosses over that by mostly just having them respond to the bug with jokes. The Patchwork Girl and Glass Cat know who made them and brought them to life, but don't seem to consider the Pipts their parents. Jack thinks of Ozma, who made him but didn't animate him, as his parent. It seems like the Scarecrow could claim the farmer who made him as his father, but he doesn't, even though this is the only book in which he actually has lines. In a search for his family tree, he finds out the beanpole where Dorothy found him is actually the top of a magic beanstalk that leads to the Silver Island, a sort of Chinese fairyland where the Scarecrow is regarded as the reincarnation of the Emperor. The treatment of the Silver Islanders people isn't particularly sensitive, and the pictures are worse. I think part of why she went with the Chinese theme is that it's presented as kind of the opposite of Oz, hierarchical, unimaginative, and obsessed with tedious ritual, whether or not there's any fairness to this association. I suspect there was also influence from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, which was set in Japan, but Western media often combine the two. I have to wonder if the Scarecrow blowing away an invading fleet with a magic fan is a reference to the Kamikaze, the typhoon that protected Japan from the Mongols, or that was just a coincidence. For the most part, the Silver Island segments are kind of boring. The other plot involves Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion getting lost in a storm and visiting a few of the themed communities in the Winkie Country. The first one, Pokes, is a town where everyone moves slowly and just being there makes people (and lions) sleepy. Here, they find and rescue Sir Hokus, a knight from English romance who has a bit of Don Quixote to him in that he's old and out of his element. They then come to Fix City, a place where the people barely move at all (perhaps a little too close to Pokes to appear in the same book), instead letting their furniture and accessories move around. There are also encounters with a giant made of candy, the brothers Memo and Randum, and the Comfortable Camel and Doubtful Dromedary. Thompson seems to have been in a bit of a rush to wrap things up. Dorothy and company magically transport themselves to the Silver Island, find themselves suddenly able to understand the language with no explanation, stop the plot to turn the Scarecrow back into a human, return to Oz, and speed along back to the Emerald City when Hokus grows a beanstalk in his back. I totally understand having trouble with endings, but streamlining the whole thing might have been something an editor could have helped with. And some simple proofreading could have caught weird inconsistencies like whether it's the Silver Island, singular, or Islands, plural (maybe it's one big island with several small ones around it?), and whether the King of Fix City is named Fix Sit or Fix It. While Baum wasn't always the most careful writer either, it seems like he was more likely to contradict things between books, while Thompson would write herself into a corner within a single narrative and then come up with a lazy solution. In fairness to both of them, it wasn't quite as easy to revise texts back then as it is now. I could understand someone not liking this book, both because of the casual racism and the general sloppiness, but I had already read and enjoyed some of her other books before this one, and was interested to learn how she'd gotten started with the franchise.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Royal Book of Oz is the fifteenth book in the Oz series and is written by Ruth Plumly Thompson and inspired by L. Frank Baum. It centers on the Scarecrow who tries to find his family and where he came from and goes missing. The Scarecrow is upset when Professor Woggle-bug tells him that he has no family, so he goes back to the corn-field where Dorothy Gale found him to trace his roots. When he fails to return, Dorothy Gale and the Cowardly Lion set out to search for him. They meet an elderly The Royal Book of Oz is the fifteenth book in the Oz series and is written by Ruth Plumly Thompson and inspired by L. Frank Baum. It centers on the Scarecrow who tries to find his family and where he came from and goes missing. The Scarecrow is upset when Professor Woggle-bug tells him that he has no family, so he goes back to the corn-field where Dorothy Gale found him to trace his roots. When he fails to return, Dorothy Gale and the Cowardly Lion set out to search for him. They meet an elderly knight, Sir Hokus of Pokes. They also meet the Doubtful Dromedary and the Comfortable Camel. Together, they have several curious adventures while searching for the Scarecrow. The Scarecrow discovers that, in a previous incarnation, he was human. More specifically, he was the Emperor of the Silver Islands, a kingdom located deep underground beneath the Munchkin region of Oz, inhabited by people who resemble Chinamen. When Dorothy first discovered the Scarecrow (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) he was hanging from a beanpole in a cornfield and learns that it develops that this pole descends deep underground to the Silver Islands. The Emperor of the Silver Islands had been transformed into a crocus by an enemy magician – this magical crocus had sprouted and grown into the beanpole all the way up to the surface of the earth. When the farmer placed his scarecrow on the beanpole, the spirit of the transformed Emperor entered the Scarecrow's body, causing him to come to life. The Scarecrow digs at the base of the beanpole and slides down the beanpole to the Silver Islands. The islanders hail him as the Emperor, returned to save his people. After spending some time in his former kingdom ruling the quarrelsome Silver Islanders, the Scarecrow decides to return to Oz and continue his carefree existence there. The islanders, however, are reluctant to let him go, and plot to change him back into his human form, an 85-year-old man. Dorothy and her party reach the Silver Islands, rescue the Scarecrow from the islanders, and accompany him back to the Emerald City. The Royal Book of Oz is written somewhat well. Thompson has created a wonderful extension to Baum's wonderful Land of Oz and I adore the narrative, but I wished it was executed much better. This installment gives the back story to the Scarecrow, similar to the story of the Tin Woodman in The Tin Woodman of Oz, however the execution was slightly off. Thompson replicated the voice of Baum rather well, but fails to replicate the heart behind the words and at the end of the novel; I can’t help to wonder what Baum would have written as the Scarecrow's background. All in all, The Royal Book of Oz is written somewhat well. However, I have decided to end my trek into the Oz series (for now) as I intended to only read the Baum written books of the series, but read this book for sake of completeness from the anthology that I reading from.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Suren Oganessian

    This was not the best debut for Ruth Plumly Thompson unfortunately; her next book, the much better Kabumpo in Oz, would have been a much stronger debut. It seems as if Thompson hasn't quite found her footing and struggles to fill Baum's shoes. So to start with, Thompson endeavors to explain the Scarecrow's origin. Readers may have wondered up to this point why most of Oz's characters who began their existence as inanimate objects were brought to life via a Powder of Life, except the Scarecrow, w This was not the best debut for Ruth Plumly Thompson unfortunately; her next book, the much better Kabumpo in Oz, would have been a much stronger debut. It seems as if Thompson hasn't quite found her footing and struggles to fill Baum's shoes. So to start with, Thompson endeavors to explain the Scarecrow's origin. Readers may have wondered up to this point why most of Oz's characters who began their existence as inanimate objects were brought to life via a Powder of Life, except the Scarecrow, who was just always alive for some reason. Well, guess what; it's because he's a reincarnated emperor from the Silver Islands, a racist stereotyped version of China, whose soul was transferred through the Scarecrow's beanpole, which reaches through the whole planet, into the Scarecrow when he was mounted there. Oh how fun! After reading all of Baum's books, this one might sound more like someone's bizarre fan fiction. Not only is this origin story extremely convoluted, but it hasn't aged well at all. Now as Scarecrow gets in touch with his roots in the Silver Islands, there's a subplot of Dorothy trying to find him, with the help of a knight she meets. These parts, at least to me, help redeem the book somewhat, and I actually liked it for the most part. You'll probably find yourself looking forward to these chapters as the Silver Island ones get progressively more cringe-worthy. But, amusing as Dorothy's misadventures can be, they're not really enough to save the book. I would probably give this story one and a half stars if possible; maybe I just can't bring myself to actually hate an Oz book. But if I'm being honest with myself, this one is probably worse than even The Road to Oz because of how it messes up the backstory of a beloved character. At least it avoids being boring like that book, I'll give it that. For those of you who want to quit the series with this book though: at least read the next book, and maybe you'll change your mind. Thompson does improve.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Izzati

    I only read this because it came as a set with the rest of Baum's books in the series. I never meant to continue reading any books in the series even if I were to like Thompson's writing, which I highly doubted before I even started reading it, to be honest. At first the story began nicely and I thought maybe Thompson could do the series justice after all. Until it introduced some characters with Chinese background. See, Baum never really brought any specific race to the story. He created charact I only read this because it came as a set with the rest of Baum's books in the series. I never meant to continue reading any books in the series even if I were to like Thompson's writing, which I highly doubted before I even started reading it, to be honest. At first the story began nicely and I thought maybe Thompson could do the series justice after all. Until it introduced some characters with Chinese background. See, Baum never really brought any specific race to the story. He created characters that are pretty much free from the ethnicity we recognize in our world. And I felt as if Thompson was somehow belittling Chinese in her writing (that unlike the friendly people of Oz, the Middlings abide strictly by hierarchy; and the future successors only wish for inheritance and to ascend to the throne and would use cunning ways to be crowned king). And the fact that she made these people wear pigtails and kimono just showed Asian generalization at its best, of course, when people can't be bothered to differentiate between Chinese and Japanese. All of these scream racism to me, it made me feel uncomfortable reading. Unlike Baum, Thompson's story lacked the sass and poking fun at human's silliness. It also didn't have any sort of message which Baum so smartly weaved into his stories every time. Thompson's merely nonsensical style reminds me more of Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland than the Baum's Oz series. I also felt like there were one too many poems within the book. While I love poetry, especially rhymed ones, I couldn't help but feel like too many of them were something like a cop out way to fill the pages with rhymes and spaces instead of a more fleshed out story.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    I have no idea how this book has a higher average rating than any of Baum's books. The authorship of The Royal Book of Oz was assigned to Baum on the first edition's title page, which also included the ascription "Enlarged and Edited by Ruth Plumly Thompson." In her private correspondence, Thompson called this "a pleasant little fiction invented by the publishers" to smooth the transition from Baum's series to hers. Modern scholarship dismisses the notion that Baum had any input on this novel an I have no idea how this book has a higher average rating than any of Baum's books. The authorship of The Royal Book of Oz was assigned to Baum on the first edition's title page, which also included the ascription "Enlarged and Edited by Ruth Plumly Thompson." In her private correspondence, Thompson called this "a pleasant little fiction invented by the publishers" to smooth the transition from Baum's series to hers. Modern scholarship dismisses the notion that Baum had any input on this novel and it shows. The puns and word play (the rhyming speech of the Patchwork Girl quickly becomes a chore) make it seem the author was targeting a younger audience than the 14 core books. The dramatis personae are written out of character, especially the Woogle-Bug and Dorothy. It makes a MAJOR change to the Scarecrow's backstory - the sort of thing that modern fandom would not tolerate from an author continuing an established series. Most reprehensibly the book is only slightly less racist than the infamous "Woogle-Bug Book". The portrayal of the "celestial" people is offensive by today's standards and, unlike the Woggle-Bug Book, there is nothing remotely funny about this story. I'm told Ruth Plumly Thompson eventually found her voice and some of her Oz books are good, but I doubt I will ever read another one. I think my time may be better spent reading Baum's Capti'n Bill and Trot non-Oz novels.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean McBride

    Wow. What a strange trip this book was. You could follow Mrs. Thompson's evolution as a writer through this story entirely (I know, I know, it's not her first book). The book starts as you'd expect for someone who was asked to continue a series of a diseased author. It starts slow, as though Mrs. Thompson was struggling with voice, so she was just trying to basically plagiarize Baum. Then you go down the rabbit hole. Literally. It becomes a mix between The Forbidden Zone and The Nightmare Before Wow. What a strange trip this book was. You could follow Mrs. Thompson's evolution as a writer through this story entirely (I know, I know, it's not her first book). The book starts as you'd expect for someone who was asked to continue a series of a diseased author. It starts slow, as though Mrs. Thompson was struggling with voice, so she was just trying to basically plagiarize Baum. Then you go down the rabbit hole. Literally. It becomes a mix between The Forbidden Zone and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Yes this book is better if you listen to Danny Elfman in the background. Then the book kind of smooths out, it becomes a quintessential OZ book, but in Thompson's own language and voice. It, in retrospect, almost seems like a purposeful choice. Thompson knew she had to diverge from the shadow of Baum if her series was to be successful. So she took us on a short, strange journey, then brought us back. Thompson has a very visual style. Her story reads like it's a movie or show, which makes the strangeness of the fairy land that much, well, stranger. I already got the next book, and I'm interested to see where her stories take us. I know that the movie Return to Oz, got it's storyline from earlier Oz books, but the style and feel of that movie is what you feel when you read this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    Flawed, but fun. Not sure how many of Thompson's Oz books were based on notes or drafts from Baum, but with this one, you can feel the two styles and it actually works fairly well. They seem to balance out each others weak spots. Baum could get more focused on jokes and ideas, over story, and Thompson was good at story structure, but wasn't always as imaginative. Though, she did tend to dig a little deeper into characterization than Baum. The Scarecrow, seeking his 'family tree' falls through the ea Flawed, but fun. Not sure how many of Thompson's Oz books were based on notes or drafts from Baum, but with this one, you can feel the two styles and it actually works fairly well. They seem to balance out each others weak spots. Baum could get more focused on jokes and ideas, over story, and Thompson was good at story structure, but wasn't always as imaginative. Though, she did tend to dig a little deeper into characterization than Baum. The Scarecrow, seeking his 'family tree' falls through the earth and ends up in the problematic silver kingdom. Meanwhile, there's a parallel story, where Dorothy is searching for him, once it's noticed the Scarecrow is missing. The Scarecrow, dealing with a very foreign culture and politics, is out of his depth and shenanigans ensue. It's a shame the writers didn't put more effort into the silver kingdom, because it could have become a nice addition to Oz lore, as well as teaching kids a bit more about Asian culture. The Gilbert and Sulivan version we get, has some fun moments, feels weak. Still a good Oz story, with some clever ideas and actually chuckle worthy jokes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    The last and final book of the Oz series may in fact be my favorite after the original. It follows three of my favorite characters ever, Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow on an adventure to the other side of the world. The Scarecrow, going in search of his family tree, ends up in another world, the Land of the Silver Islands, and is deemed the long lost emperor. While finding out one is royalty is exciting, Scarecrow is also trying to figure out how to get back to his friends in Oz. D The last and final book of the Oz series may in fact be my favorite after the original. It follows three of my favorite characters ever, Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow on an adventure to the other side of the world. The Scarecrow, going in search of his family tree, ends up in another world, the Land of the Silver Islands, and is deemed the long lost emperor. While finding out one is royalty is exciting, Scarecrow is also trying to figure out how to get back to his friends in Oz. Dorothy and the Lion go out in search of the Scarecrow, fearing his feelings were hurt by Professor Wooglebug's investigations into each characters family histories, and the two of them end up on their own adventure where they find new friends. It feels much like the original in that there are adventures and magic to behold without too many superfluous characters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rick Brose

    As a huge fan of the original Oz series, I have always wanted to read these follow ups. Unfortunately, the first of Thompson's books fails to live up to the standards of Baum. The story starts out slow, and if not outright racist, it definitely feels like it walks the line. There are great moments in it however, and I like that it attempts to expand the wonderful world of Oz. I am hoping that Thompson improves over the course of the series. This was just a rougher start then I would have liked. As a huge fan of the original Oz series, I have always wanted to read these follow ups. Unfortunately, the first of Thompson's books fails to live up to the standards of Baum. The story starts out slow, and if not outright racist, it definitely feels like it walks the line. There are great moments in it however, and I like that it attempts to expand the wonderful world of Oz. I am hoping that Thompson improves over the course of the series. This was just a rougher start then I would have liked.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Momo

    I received an advanced reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley and the publishers. This is the first Oz book I have read since I was a child! Amazing story as we all know, but I had seen only as movie! I loved to have the opportunity to read finally this story, it was fantastic! I loved the illustrations and cover by Sara Richard.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I have now completed the series. The books were very enjoyable and regret not having read most of these before. Just proves that no matter how advanced in years you may be there is still magic to be found in reading. Would highly recommend having children read them as there are so many truths to be learned from the wisdom expounded by these wonderful characters.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Professor

    I dreaded this one as a non-Baum Oz book but it was surprisingly fun and featured a strong return of puns and wordplay. The only issue is the Silver Islanders are 100% old stereotypes of Chinese people and while it's easy enough to edit the worst out as you read, it was still very disappointing. I dreaded this one as a non-Baum Oz book but it was surprisingly fun and featured a strong return of puns and wordplay. The only issue is the Silver Islanders are 100% old stereotypes of Chinese people and while it's easy enough to edit the worst out as you read, it was still very disappointing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carrie-anne

    While the stories before had become a bit repetitive by this point, the introduction of new characters gave the book some freshness. The story itself wasn't too bad but it did have some unfortunate racial comments which could be hard to explain if you're reading this to a child. While the stories before had become a bit repetitive by this point, the introduction of new characters gave the book some freshness. The story itself wasn't too bad but it did have some unfortunate racial comments which could be hard to explain if you're reading this to a child.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicolas

    I had read this book forever ago, but recently listened to a Librivox audiobook version. This one does not hold up well. It loses some of the magic Baum brought to the world, and what's worse, the dated stereotypes just feel downright offensive now. We discussed the series in more detail over on the All the Books Show. https://soundcloud.com/allthebooks/ep... I had read this book forever ago, but recently listened to a Librivox audiobook version. This one does not hold up well. It loses some of the magic Baum brought to the world, and what's worse, the dated stereotypes just feel downright offensive now. We discussed the series in more detail over on the All the Books Show. https://soundcloud.com/allthebooks/ep...

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...