Everyone is familiar with L. Frank Baum’s immortal book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” but what is not as well-known is that he continued the stories of Oz in 13 other books.
The popularity of the first book, published in 1900, demanded sequels, so Baum kept writing a new Oz book each year, and they appeared under the Christmas trees of American children with comforting regularity.
By the time he reached the sixth book, “The Emerald City of Oz,” published in 1910, Baum wanted to move on, so he decided to say goodbye to the Land of Oz.
In the book, Dorothy goes to the Land of Oz for good, and Glinda, the Good Witch, performs a spell that causes Oz to be “cut off forever from all the rest of the world” in order to be protected from their enemies.
But Baum could not get away from his creation. Three years later, he had to bring Oz back.
The Oz book that celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, along with the Puyallup Public Library, is one of my favorites of the series: “The Patchwork Girl of Oz.”
Children had written to Baum, demanding more stories of Oz, and one asked why Dorothy couldn’t communicate to Baum through the new medium of the wireless telegraph. That way, there could be more stories, and Oz could still remain safe.
“The Patchwork Girl of Oz” tells the story of a young munchkin named Ojo and his Unc Nunkie, and a magician named Dr. Pipt, who uses is Powder of Life to bring the Patchwork Girl alive to be his servant.
But in her joy, the Patchwork Girl accidentally upsets another potion, the Liquid of Petrifaction, which turns Unc Nunkie and the magician’s wife in to marble statues.
Ojo is sent on a quest to search the Land of Oz for the ingredients that will create a compound that will bring his Unc Nunkie back to life. One of the ingredients is a six-leaved clover that can only be found in the green country around the Emerald City, and it’s scarce, even there.
As Ojo arrives near the Emerald City, he finds one of the rare clovers and picks it, not knowing it’s against the law to pick them. When he arrives at the gates of the Emerald City, his is promptly arrested and thrown into prison.
My favorite moment is when Ojo gets escorted to his cell and finds himself in a magnificent apartment. He asks, “May I stay here a little while before I go to prison?”
I’ve always loved this scene because it reminds me of the experience of discovering a wonderful book. There is nothing quite like finding a book that, for a time, transports you to an entirely different world, from which you are sometimes reluctant to return.
Come by the library, get a reading log for Puyallup Mayor Rick Hansen’s 100-book challenge, and we’ll help you find some books that you can stay with for a little while.Tim Wadham, the director of the Puyallup Public Library, can be reached at 253-841-5452 or by email at email@example.com.