In my continuing attempt to finish the Ultimate Collection of the Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum, I brought my Kindle in my recent Tubbataha/Palawan trip. Living on a boat for 5 days, I used Oz as an escape from the heat and physical exhaustion. Fortunately enough, the three succeeding books I finished featured my favorite elements from the Oz stories. It was just simple storytelling with lots of fun, heart and soul.
Title: The Scarecrow of Oz
This story explores a country under the rule of Oz but separated from it by treacherous mountains. It covers three phases interwoven beautifully by the author. I got to know Captain Bill and Trot, who eventually gets to live in the magical land of Oz. Then, it shifted to Jinxland ruled by The Wicked King. Pon is a very nice kid and got the dream ending he deserves. And then of course, I got to meet the wonderful people of Oz once more to deliver justice and ensure that love and peace continue to reign within its boundaries.
My favorite quote in this book is:
“But nobody can stay alive without getting into danger sometimes, and danger doesn’t mean getting hurt Captain; it only means we might get hurt. So I guess we’ll have to take the risk.” – Trot
Title: Rinkitink in Oz
This story had a strong plot with lots of interesting sub plots, which makes it a great read. I got to meet a simple family trying to live an honourable and honest life in the Kingdom of Regos and Coregos. I also revisited King Kaliko, who has taken over the rule from the Nome king. King Rinkitink and Bilbil the Goat’s back stories are also included in the mix.
But the core plot remains on the destruction and eventual restoration of the peaceful island of Pingaree. The Island of Pingaree is a new Kingdom slightly outside Oz since it is separated by the Nonestic Ocean. It is very lucky to have the three magical pearls and great set of rulers – King Kitticut, Queen Garee and the hero of the story, Prince Pinga.
I have two favorite quotes from this book:
“This is the way to get ideas: never to let adverse circumstances discourage you, but to believe there is a way out of every difficulty, which may be found by earnest thought.” – On Prince Pinga facing the challenges set by King Kaliko
“The beauty of life is its sudden changes. No one knows what is going to happen next, and so we are constantly being surprised and entertained. The many ups and downs should not discourage us, for if we are down, we know that a change is coming and we will go up again.” – King Rinkitink
Title: The Lost Princess of Oz
Yes, the title was very catchy and puzzling especially since it is consistent throughout the book how powerful Ozma is. But the story did use it as an anchor and it was so heartwarming (albeit expected) to see the support from her kingdom and the various friends she met along the way. There is a lot of nostalgia in this one as almost every hero from the series and additional stories lent their support in the quest to find Ozma. The quest was even made harder since the regular elements used – The Magic Picture and Great Book of Records – were also gone from Oz. I also found Ugu the Shoemaker a surprising and unlikely villain of the story. My favorite new character from this book was definitely the Big Lavender Bear and the Pink Little Bear. I was glad they offered their assistance in the quest.
“To be individual, my friends, to be different from others, is the only way to become distinguished from the common herd. Let us be glad, therefore, that we differ from one another in form and in disposition. Variety is the spice of life, and we are various enough to enjoy one another’s society; so let us be content.” – Cowardly Lion
Sometimes I wonder if I am already too old for these stories. But as Frank L. Baum puts it in his letter to readers in the succeeding book: “my books are intended for all those whose hearts are young, no matter what their ages may be.” I guess that explains a lot.
Currently reading: Ultimate collection of the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (E-book) (79% completed)