The Lost Princess of Oz

by L. Frank Baum
Series: Oz 11
Reviewed date: 2019 Sep 24
281 pages
cover art

Too much magic
Oz has a problem: there's too much powerful magic. Ozma has a magic picture that can show what is happening anywhere--in Oz or beyond. If there's any person, any place, anything that Ozma needs to know about, she can look into her picture and see, in real time, what is happening.

Meanwhile, Glinda has her Great Book of Records. It's an enormous book in which everything that ever happens, anywhere, is written as it occurs. If there's anything that Glinda needs to know, past or present, she can open the Book of Records and read about it.

In addition to owning these priceless oracles, both Glinda and Ozma possess a great many other magical instruments. In particular, Ozma possesses the Magic Belt of the Nome King, which grants wishes. Nobody else in Oz is permitted to practice magic, with the exception of the Wizard of Oz, who has learnt some magic under Ozma's supervision.

Between Ozma's Magic Picture and Glinda's Great Book of Records, there should be no secrets in Oz. And with the Magic Belt and their other magical instruments, Ozma and Glinda should be able to solve any and all problems that might befall Oz and its inhabitants.

Plot Problems
With that kind of magic available, it's hard to concoct a plot that can't be solved in two steps: consult the Great Book of Records, and then fix the problem using the Magic Belt. To tell a compelling story, Baum needed to level the playing field.

Stolen Magic
So, one night, an unknown assailant steals all the magic is Oz. The Magic Picture: gone. Great Book of Records: gone. All of Glinda's magical herbs, elixirs, and instruments: gone. The Wizard's black bag of magic instruments: gone. And worst of all, Ozma herself: gone.

Now Dorothy and her friends must find and rescue Ozma without the help of any magic.

No magic at all?
Well, when I said no magic, I didn't mean no magic at all. Baum couldn't bring himself to fully commit, so he left himself an out. Although the thief stole every single other magic item in the land of Oz, he apparently did not know about the Nome King's Magic Belt, so he didn't steal it. Dorothy wears the Magic Belt when she goes searching for Ozma, but conveniently has forgotten how to make it work. Later, when Baum writes himself into a tough situation plotwise, Dorothy conveniently remembers again.

But besides the Magic Belt, Dorothy and her friends must find and rescue Ozma without the help of any magic.

The Little Pink Bear
Well, without any magic except the Little Pink Bear. Deep in an unexplored part of the Winkie Country, Dorothy and her friends stumble upon a tribe of stuffed teddy bears. The Lavender Bear is their king, and he possesses a magical Little Pink Bear. The Little Pink Bear correctly and accurately answers any question asked of him--except those about the future.

OK Mr. Baum: you contrived to have the Great Book of Records taken out of the picture, but now you introduce a magical Little Pink Bear who functionally has the exact same powers?

Anyway, besides the Magic Belt and the all-knowing oracle of the Little Pink Bear, Dorothy and her friends must find and rescue Ozma without the help of any magic.

Dorothy and friends visit the city of Herku, where the Czarover of Herku gives the Wizard a bottle of zosozo--a mere teaspoon of which gives a person enough strength to throw a giant headlong out of a window. (The Czarover demonstrates.) Is zosozo magic? Well, is it magic if a single spoonful of a strange elixir grants a person super-human strength for an entire year? Of course it is.

So except for one measly Magic Belt, a hardly-worth-mentioning magic Little Pink Bear, and only six doses of a zosozo--a potion of pure strength--Dorothy and her friends must find and rescue Ozma without the help of any magic at all!

Ugu the Shoemaker
The bad guy who stole Ozma and all the magic is Ugu the Shoemaker. Dorothy and friends travel to his castle and confront him about it. He imprisons them. Dorothy uses the Magic Belt and turns the tables, and turns Ugu into a dove. As a dove, he repents of his wicked ways and apologizes for all the trouble he's caused. Ozma is restored to her rightful place, and all the stolen magic is returned. The end.

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