The Woggle-Bug Book

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

Nope. Nobody wants to read about a giant bug making a fool of himself in a modern 1905 American city, in a plotline replete with turn-of-the-century ethnic stereotypes. It's not terribly racist (which is not surprising, this is Baum after all), and any racism that is present is considerably softened because it's the Woggle-Bug who is the butt of the jokes, but the stereotypes are crude and unfunny.

Why the Woggle-Bug became a phenomenon worthy of a musical play, a board game, a plethora of collectible merchandise, and this short illustrated book is anybody's guess. Maybe Baum was just looking for a character to turn into a cash cow. (Spoiler: it didn't.) Or maybe the Woggle-Bug resonated with lower- and middle-class Americans. Perhaps the lower- and middle-class really liked to laugh at the rich and arrogant upper class, and the Woggle-Bug was a stand-in for a pompous over-educated upper-class fool? Americans like to think of America as a classless society, but it isn't now and in 1905 it certainly wasn't.

In any case, there's nothing to recommend here.

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