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READING THE TBR, DAY 127: The Royal Book of Oz (1921) by Ruth Plumly Thompson

I don’t understand.

Ruth Plumly Thompson wrote 21 estate-approved Oz sequels.

Meanwhile, L. Frank Baum once wrote a collection of Oz stories.

So WHY, if you were putting together a box set of Oz books, would you include ONE of Thompson’s fanfic versions and not the original creator’s short stories? Was the box a fixed size, and The Royal Book of Oz was exactly the right size to fill it up? What and why and who decided this terrible decision?

Admittedly, in the early days of these posthumous sequels, L. Frank Baum was credited as the author. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Thompson was given as the author, Baum basically becoming the Virginia Andrews of his day. But this box set was released in 2015! They knew better!

As you can tell, this has me very upset.

For the book itself, it’s… fine. I don’t know how much my appreciation of it is hampered by the awareness that it is not one of Baum’s originals, maybe readers of the book in its original release would have been enchanted. But for me it has something missing — it has all the pieces of the puzzle, but the picture is missing, so it’s like the edges have been filled in but all the middle remains disassembled and chaotic.

Also, it’s racist as hell.

On the bright side, the Wogglebug has a decent part, when he makes a family tree for everyone in Oz, and sends the Scarecrow on a quest for relatives. If only this made sense, and didn’t end up with him in a distasteful simulacrum of China! 

Dammit, book. You even made me mad at my Wogglebug.

I think I’m done with Oz books now.

I might go watch Tin Man again, though. Or maybe The Wiz. I might even assay Return to Oz again, even though I remain traumatised from a childhood viewing that still occasionally wakes me in fright.

I’m just not sure I can let it all go. Which is why this book (and its plenitude of sequels) exists, of course. I get it. But I don’t have to like it.


TBR DAY 126: The Royal Book of Oz (Oz #15) by Ruth Plumly Thompson
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Classics
TIME ON THE TBR: 3 years.  
KEEP: Yep!

Published inTBR

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