Monday, August 21, 2017

MMGM: Ozma of Oz

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday pick:

Ozma of Oz, The Books of Wonder edition 
Ozma of Oz

Written by L. Frank Baum
Illustrated by John R. Neill
Originally published by Reilly & Lee, 1907
Wiliam Morrow/Books of Wonder, 1989
Ages 8-12, Lexile 1070L
272 pp, 37000 words

Fantasy Adventure

"The wind blew hard and joggled the water of the ocean, sending ripples across its surface. Then the wind pushed the edges of the ripples until they became waves, and shoved the waves around until they became billows. The billows rolled dreadfully high: higher even than the tops of houses. Some of them, indeed, rolled as high as the tops of tall trees, and seemed like mountains; and the gulfs between the great billows were like deep valleys.
"All this mad dashing and splashing of the waters of the big ocean, which the mischievous wind caused without any good reason whatever, resulted in a terrible storm, and a storm on the ocean is liable to cut many queer pranks and do a lot of damage.
"At the time the wind began to blow, a ship was sailing far out upon the waters. When the waves began to tumble and toss and to grow bigger and bigger the ship rolled up and down, and tipped sidewise—first one way and then the other—and was jostled around so roughly that even the sailor-men had to hold fast to the ropes and railings to keep themselves from being swept away by the wind or pitched headlong into the sea."

Dorothy, accompanied by Billina the hen, travel to Ev to battle the Nome King and free the royal family.

I was surprised how much I liked this book. Though I like Oziana, I would not consider myself a fan of the original series. In general I find I like the ideas more than the stories themselves. Ozma is an exception. Perhaps I've grown wiser or perhaps this book is just funnier. I loved the writing style better than previous books. Of course, I saw the movie when I was in high school (do the math) and absolutely fell in love with many of the characters from Ozma. The movie played in my head as I read.

Have you read any of the other Oz authors? Most people say the sequels are inferior to L. Frank Baum's stories, but I am fond of John Neill's The Purple Prince of Oz. 

You'll find my review of the movie Return to Oz on last Friday's Summer Drive-In.

1. Fans can join the International Wizard of Oz Club.

2. Ben, of My Comfy Chair, reviewed Rinkitink in Oz for MMGM way back in 2011.

3. Other MMGM bloggers recommend

Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms, by Chris Colfer, reviewed by Reading Violet.
The Ever Afters: Of Sorcery and Snow, by Shelby Bach, reviewed by Green Bean Teen Queen.
The Aviary, by Kathleen O'Dell, reviewed on That's Another Story
No Passengers Beyond This Point, by Gennifer Choldenko, reviewed here on Middle Grade Mafioso.
Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis, reviewed by BookishAmbition.

The Land of Stories book 4,
by Chris Colfer
and Brandon Dorman
Ever Afters book 1,
by Shelby Bach and Cory Loftis

The Aviary,
by Kathleen O'Dell
Cover by Molly Bosley
No Passengers
Beyond This Point, 

by Gennifer Choldenko
and Tyson Mangelsdorf

Check out the Summer Drive-In review of Return to Oz partially based on Ozma of Oz, from
August 18, 2017.
View all the Summer Drive-In reviews for 2017.

Check out all the recommended titles for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday for August 21, 2017August, 21, 2017 available on Shannon Messenger's Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe.


  1. I'd never heard of this one although I knew L. Frank Baum had written other Oz type adventures. I'll be looking for this one on my next library trip.

    1. These books have been reprinted many times, but now that I think about it, I'm not sure my library even HAS any. I think the books are hit and miss in general. The writing is usually interesting in an old-fashioned way, but the gimmicks are sometimes too bizarre for my taste. Thanks, Greg.

  2. I have never read or heard of Ozma of OZ. I have an 1904 original cloth cover copy of The Land of OZ: The Sequel to the Wizard of Oz, by Baum. It survived a big flood in the 1900s and is very fragile. My grandfather, my mother and my siblings all read it. I remember loving it. But don't dare touch the book now as it could fall apart. Thanks for the recommendations.

    1. Wow. I bet your copy is beautiful. I read some interesting facts about Land of Oz. Basically, since Baum's treatment of the first book had been a hit onstage, he wrote the second book with the theater in mind. If you are a student of plays at the turn of the century, they were pretty formulaic. Evidently Land of Oz contains spots for chorus girls, 19th century stage special effects, and typical boys-played-by-girls roles. I'm planning to read it again with those thoughts in mind. It should be interesting. THanks, Pat.

  3. I agree with you that the idea of Oz is better than the story, in my opinion. This one sounds much more intriguing though!

    1. I enjoyed it, though I used the Gutenberg Project which has an annoying format. Thanks, Sue.

  4. I never read the Oz books, but my husband read every one as a child, and he loved them. It's great that you might introduce a whole new group to these books. Thanks for the post.

    1. Most people seem to find something to love, and people who read them as kids are usually diehards. They certainly have enduring appeal. Thanks.


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!