An orphan boy called Tip was one of the inhabitants of a magical place called Oz. He lived with an evil witch Mombi who decided to turn him into a marble statue one day being fed up with his pranks. Tip escaped and headed for the Emerald City having nothing better to do. He arrived just in time to see the big trouble for the city's ruler: none other than Scarecrow. He got involved and had a lot of adventures in the Land of Oz as a result.
Let me get this straight: the only reason this book avoided the dreadful two-star rating is my overall respect for the series and its influence on children literature worldwide; this and the fact that I read it three times: the last time was to refresh my memory for the review.
I did not like the direction the series went after the first book. The main focus became to introduce new (granted sometimes fun) characters at a fast rate. This combined with the struggle to show the majority of the characters from the previous installments resulted in a real overpopulation of Oz. This means each character received less and less screen time in each subsequent installment. The result of this can already be seeing in the second book.
I insist that Dorothy was the real star of the original story and I doubt anybody would argue with this. To my complete disappointment she is not here at all, and neither is Cowardly Lion.
Tip is a poor substitute for Dorothy. For starters he is not exactly Oliver Twist, despite being an orphan living with an old hag. He is lazy and he manages to get away with it, unlike Cinderella for example. Character wise he looks pale compared to the beloved heroine of the first novel.
The first new character we met - Jack Pumpkinhead - looks like a carbon copy of Scarecrow most of the time. I even found some sayings of the former that could be said by the latter with none being the wise.
Speaking about Scarecrow he acts retarded at times here. This does make for some amusing moments, but I thought one of the main idea of the first book was that he became very intelligent even with the fake brains from the Wizard of Oz.
As everybody and their brother know the Wizard of Oz was fake. This is so well-known fact that I do not even bother to hide it in a spoiler tag. In this book it turned out he was
a powerful wizard. I understand that we are talking about children books here, so logic does not need to apply all the time, but this is about continuity problems!
After all of my trashing I need to admit it is not all bad. I really liked Mr. H.M. Woggle-Bug, T.E. (Mr. Highly Magnified Woggle-Bug, Thoroughly Educated). He is exactly what he sounds like.
If you like lame puns, add one more point to Griffindor, oops sorry wrong book.
The feminist army riot was amusing if outdated in modern times.
There was also a moment which quite a few modern critics declared to be support for transgender people, but considering the time the book was written I inclined to think it is more about just being yourself despite the appearances.
All in all this novel is only good as a transitional points between the first one and the following; books 3-6 while not being on the level of the first one, are still good and are improvement over this one.