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READING THE TBR, DAY 119: The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913) by L. Frank Baum

After bidding a sudden farewell to Dorothy and the gang at the end of the previous Oz novel, the magical land was clearly still preying on L. Frank Baum’s mind (or bank balance), so here he decided to revisit it, but initially centering his story on a whole new set of characters. (Though, there is a magician we’ve heard of before, the one who came up with the powder that brought Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse to life.)

Scraps, the titular patchwork girl, is brought to life by that magician as a maid for his wife — they explain to Scraps that she is a servant, aka “One who serves, a sort of slave”, which is not quite right, but okay — but she tires of this life and is soon off on an adventure with Ojo the Unlucky, a poor Munchkin boy on the brink of starvation as the book starts (dark!), to try to save his uncle, who has been turned into a marble statue.

Of course, they make new friends and various well-known Oz denizens are encountered on the journey, and it all ends happily enough, if a little too quickly. Baum is very fond of a deus ex machina, after all.

But the best of the book is Scraps herself, bad poetry and all; most especially, her meeting with a soon-smitten Scarecrow. I am shipping Scraps and Scarecrow hard now. It’s weird as hell, I know, but hey, that’s who I am.

Oh, and here’s a fun Oz fact! In 1914, Baum’s film company brought out a silent picture version of this book, the first Oz film ever on screen. It runs about an hour long, and it has the production values of a kindergarten play, and it’s so hard to follow — even when you’ve read the book — that it’s very easy to see how it lost money (as did all the Oz Film Manufacturing Company feature productions, of which there were… four. Two of which were not even set in Oz).

Still, check this out! It’s unintentionally hilarious, which is often the best kind of hilarious, isn’t it?


TBR DAY 119: The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Oz #7) by L. Frank Baum
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Classics
TIME ON THE TBR: 3 years.  
KEEP: Yep!

Published inTBR

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