The Road to Oz

The Road to Oz

Infobox Book |
name = The Road to Oz
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption =
author = L. Frank Baum
illustrator =
cover_artist = John R. Neill
country = United States
language = English
series = The Oz Books
subject =
genre = Children's novel
publisher = Reilly & Britton
release_date = 1909
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardcover)
pages =
isbn = NA
preceded_by = Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
followed_by = The Emerald City of Oz

"The Road to Oz" is the fifth of L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz books. It was originally published on July 10, 1909 and documents Dorothy's fourth visit to Oz.

The book was dedicated to Joslyn Stanton Baum, the author's first grandson, the child of Baum's eldest son Frank Joslyn Baum.

Plot summary

Dorothy is near her home in Kansas when the story begins. She and her dog Toto first meet the Shaggy Man, a wandering hobo who carries the Love Magnet with him, "en route" to avoid the town of Butterfield. Further on, the road splits into seven paths. They take the seventh and soon meet Button Bright, a little boy in a sailor's outfit who is always getting lost. Later, the companions meet Polychrome the Rainbow's Daughter, a fairy who danced off the edge of the rainbow just as it disappeared.

Dorothy, Toto, the Shaggy Man, Button-Bright, and Polychrome soon come to the town of Foxville, where anthropomorphic foxes live. With prompting from King Dox of Foxville, Dorothy deduces that she's on another "fairy adventure" that will ultimately lead her to Oz, just in time for Ozma's birthday party, which is now acknowledged as August 21 by Oz fans, even though the book only refers to the 21st of the month, Dorothy having mentioned that the current month is August in another passage. The king takes a particular liking to Button-Bright, whom he considers astute and clever due to his tabula rasa-like mind. Believing that the human face does not suit one so clever, Dox gives him a fox's head. A similar event subsequently happens to the Shaggy Man, when King Kik-a-Bray of Dunkiton confers a donkey's head upon him -- also in reward for cleverness, even though it's implied that Foxville and Dunkiton exist at odds with one another.

After meeting the Musicker, who produces music from his breath, and fighting off the head-throwing Scoodlers, Dorothy and her companions reach the edge of the Deadly Desert surrounding Oz. There, the Shaggy Man's friend Johnny Dooit builds a "sand-boat" by which they may cross. This is necessary, because physical contact with the desert's sands, as of this book and "Ozma of Oz", will turn the travelers to dust.

Upon reaching Oz, Dorothy and her companions are welcomed by Tik-Tok and Billina the Yellow Hen. They proceed in company, to come in their travels to the Truth Pond, where Button-Bright and the Shaggy Man regain their true heads by bathing in its waters. They meet the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and Jack Pumpkinhead who journey with them to the Emerald City for Ozma's birthday.

As preparations are made for arrivals from all over Fairyland (principally characters from Baum's non-Oz books, such as Santa Claus, Queen Zixi of Ix, John Dough -- a man made out of gingerbread -- and Chick the Cherub), the Shaggy Man receives permission to stay in Oz permanently. He is given, in addition to this, a new suit of clothes having bobtails in place of his former costume's ragged edges, so that he may retain his name and identity.

After everyone has presented their gifts and feasted at a banquet in Ozma's honor, the Wizard demonstrates a method of using soap bubbles as transportation by which to send everyone home. Polychrome goes home upon a rainbow, Button-Bright goes home with Santa Claus on a soap bubble, and Dorothy is wished home by Ozma's use of the Magic Belt.

The sales figures of Baum's other fantasy novels always lagged behind his Oz novels; It has therefore been theorized that the "guest appearances" of his non-Oz characters in "The Road to Oz" were a marketing ploy to raise interest in those other titles.


*This is the only Oz book to be printed on colored pages instead of with colored pictures. The colored pages represent the signature colors of the various countries of Oz that Dorothy and her companions travel through on their way to the Emerald City.
*The Tin Woodman's garden features images of Dorothy and Toto, representing them as they first arrived in Oz. The illustrator, John R. Neill, apparently takes this description literally, by causing the statues to resemble the illustrations made by his predecessor Denslow. This is in contrast to the "real" Dorothy, who is drawn here much as she is drawn in all books illustrated by John R. Neill. It is implied that she is amused by the differences present; she has apparently lost weight, as well as changed her attire.

External links

*gutenberg|no=485|name=The Road to Oz
* [ Free audiobook] from [ LibriVox]
* [ Free PDF] from [ The Internet Archive]

oz books
before=Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
after=The Emerald City of Oz
title=The Road to Oz

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