Sunday, April 14, 2024

Little Wizard Stories Of OZ!

Frank Baum enjoyed the success of the OZ series, but he was always bristling to bring new and different stories to his vast audience and so attempted to end the OZ series with 1910's The Emerald City of OZ. But those other efforts largely were unsuccessful and facing economic hardship he returned to OZ with The Patchwork Girl of OZ in 1913. In the interim he produced six little books for very young readers to attract those readers to the OZ series. The collection titled Little Wizard Stories of OZ brings together those six little books originally published independently. They are graced with a great deal of artwork by John R. Neill and tell brief vignettes featuring many of the OZ favorites. 

The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger serve as official guard for Ozma the Queen of OZ, but that proves to be a boring gig at times, so they decide to spend some time getting back to their roots and eat a baby and tear up a citizen. They of course change their minds when the moments come. 

Dorothy and Toto like to spend time wandering in the country when they get bored with the doings in OZ. The Little Wizard suggests that's too dangerous, but they ignore him. The have reason to remember his cautionary advice when they run into the size-changing Crinklink who takes them both prisoner. 

Tiktok the Mechanical Man pays a visit to the Nome King in order to get a few new springs to make him more efficient. The Nome King in rage smashes Titkok and orders him cast into a dark pit. But thankfully Kaliko, one of the Nome King's servants attempts to put Tiktok together again to avoid Ozma's retribution. 

Ozma and the Little Wizard run afoul of three imps named Udent, Olite and Ertinent. When the Wizard changes the three imps into bushes the trouble only gets worse. The same is the case when he changes those shrubs into pigs. 

Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse go to save two kids who have been captured by the King of the Squirrels for taking some of the store nuts the squirrels will need in winter. When Jack's head is smashed, the adventure is really only beginning when the Little Wizard lends a hand. 

The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman decide to go on a sailing jaunt, but things get prickly quickly when they capsize. Crows gather as the Scarecrow tries to rescue the Woodman who is trapped on the bottom on the bottom of the riverbed. It's not long before the Woodman begins to rust, and the Scarecrow starts to lose parts of his face due to the water. Once again, the Little Wizard rides to help. 

Baum returned to OZ full time with 1913's The Patchwork Girl of OZ. More on that next time when we pick up the series this summer. 

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