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The Lost Princess of Oz

The Lost Princess of Oz - L. Frank Baum, John R. Neill One fine morning in the Land of Oz Dorothy decided to show her friends around. Because nobody can as much as sneeze without asking Ozma's permission - I have this impression - Dorothy went to Ozma and realized that the latter disappeared: mysteriously and without any trace. Not to worry, Ozma had a magic picture which could show any what any person was currently doing. It turned out the picture is missing too, and so are all of Wizard's magic trinkets. The latter rushed to Glinda only to learn that her magic book and the rest of her magic junk disappeared as well. Actually both wizards appeared completely helpless and useless without their magical stuff, so a search expedition is assembled.
A Search Party

At the same time in a remote isolated corner of Oz a cook found her magic (can you see the common theme?) frying pan is stolen. She is determined to find it at all costs; Frogman - who is basically a giant frog - decided to accompany her. Two parties are destined to meet almost near their goal.

On the positive side I can definitely say this is an improvement of the tried-and-true generic plot of an Oz book: people ended up in a desolated place and try to get somewhere meeting a lot of bizarre creatures and ending up in Emerald City. However it is not as good as the last book which gave me a hope of series improvement.

The development of Frogman went exactly nowhere: there was an interesting buildup which has not resulted in anything by the time the book ended. Can somebody clue me in what was the point of Toto losing his growl subplot? This one went over my head completely.

Button-Bright deserves to be mentioned. It quickly becomes my second most disliked character in the series; Ozma steadily holds the first place. The guy is not exactly a genius as his name implies. His favorite pastime is to get lost. Who in his/her right mind would include such guy into a search party??? Let me ask a trick question: whom the said search party was looking for most of the time of the tale: Ozma, or Button-Bright? Let me give you a hint - if you think the answer is Ozma, you are very much wrong.

So an interesting beginning marred by so-so characters and somewhat contrived development of the plot give 3 star rating. It is still better than books 2-9.