The Patchwork Girl of Oz

by L. Frank Baum
Series: Oz 7
Reviewed date: 2018 Mar 4
347 pages
cover art

My favorite Oz book is still The Marvelous Land of Oz, following by Ozma of Oz. But The Patchwork Girl of Oz has a lot more going for it than the last few Oz books.

The story is fairly straightfoward. Ojo the Unlucky is a Munchkin boy who lives in a remote forest with his Unc Nunkie. A visit to Unc Nunkie's friend the Crooked Magician ends in disaster: a Liquid of Petrifaction spills upon Unc Nunkie and upon the Crooked Magician's wife, Margolotte, turning them into marble statues. The poor Magician sets to work making a batch of Powder of Life to rescue his wife. The powder will take six years to produce.

But he tells Ojo that there may be another way to reverse the spell. If Ojo can collect five essential items, the Magician can concoct a potion to reverse the petrifaction immediately.

So Ojo sets out to collect:

  • Three hairs from a Woozy's tail
  • A six-leaf clover
  • A gill of water from a dark well
  • One drop of oil from a live man's body
  • The left wing of a yellow butterfly

So it's a road trip, as most Oz stories are. The best part are the characters. There is the Patchwork Girl herself, sewn together from a crazy quilt, stuffed with cotton, and brought to life with the Magician's Powder of Life. She's a riot of color, a bit naive about the world, and is a loyal friend to Ojo. The Scarecrow is smitten with her.

The Glass Cat is terribly proud of being transparent, except for her beautiful pink brains. ("You can see 'em work!")

The Woozy is a square creature that reminds me of a Minecraft cow, and his eyes can flash fire when he's angry.

And who can forget the talking phonograph, brought to life by an accident with the Powder of Life? He won't shut up and must be chased away several times.

Ojo himself is a regular Munchkin boy, but because he's been living alone with his Unc Nunkie in a deep, isolated part of the forest, he knows almost nothing about Oz.

Our favorite characters from previous books make appearances: The Scarecrow, the Sawhorse, the Shaggy Man, Ozma, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Wizard, the Tin Woodman.

It's a satisfactory adventure altogether. There are lots of interesting adventures, and I dare say that Mr. Baum's imagination is firing on all cylinders this time around. I had found the previous books (Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, and The Emerald City of Oz) to be uneven.

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