A lazy good-for-nothing inhabitant of the Land of Oz
stumbled upon a magic work which transforms anything and anybody into anything and anybody. The guy completely lacked any ambition whatsoever so it would not be too bad, but he teamed up with a bad and ambitious villain from the previous books. They had the means of conquering the Emerald City and the whole land.
At the same time back in Emerald City Ozma’s birthday was coming. Everybody was busy trying to figure out what to give her as a present – after all it is hard to surprise a girl who has magic at her command. Finally Trot and Dorothy hit on two different ideas and two parties went out to collect exotic items. The several subplots are about to converge…
At this point L. Frank Baum was milking the popularity of the series for what is was worth.
He did have a good excuse though: his health was failing. He still had some moments of brilliance and his imagination still allowed him to create very unusual creatures and places, but in this case it happened very occasionally. The main idea was recycled from the earlier books, most notably The Road to Oz. The most interesting conflict was resolved too fast and too early – somewhere around the middle part of the book. The rest was spent on fairly unexciting happenings.
This is one of the weakest book of the series which barely made it to 3 star rating range. Still it is a decent read which does show (occasionally) why the series was one of the most popular and beloved children read in the early twentieth century.