Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

First edition cover
Author L. Frank Baum
Illustrator John R. Neill
Country United States
Language English
Series The Oz books
Genre Children's Literature
Publisher Reilly & Britton
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover)
Preceded by Ozma of Oz
Followed by The Road to Oz

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is the fourth book set in the Land of Oz written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by John R. Neill. It was published on June 18, 1908 and reunites Dorothy with the humbug Wizard from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). This is one of only two of the original fourteen Oz books (the other being The Emerald City of Oz (1910), to be illustrated with watercolor paintings.

Baum, having resigned himself to writing a series of Oz books, set up elements of this book in the prior Ozma of Oz (1907).[1] He was not entirely pleased with this, as the introduction to Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz opens with the protest that he knows many tales of many lands, and hoped that children would permit him to tell them those tales.[2]

Written shortly after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and around the time Baum moved to California, the book starts with an earthquake in California. Dorothy and others are swallowed up by cracks in the earth, and fall into an underground cavern, where they begin their adventures.

Very little of the story—six of the twenty chapters—actually takes place in Oz.[3] As in Ozma of Oz before it, and in some of the books after, Oz is not the land where the adventures take place, but the land the characters are seeking as a refuge from adventure.[4]

The book was dedicated to Harriet Alvena Baum Neal, the author's eldest sister.

Plot summary

Dorothy Gale is gladly joining her Uncle Henry in California to visit relatives who live at Hugson's Ranch, after their vacation from Australia in Ozma of Oz. Dorothy meets Hugson's nephew who is her second cousin, Zeb of Hugson's Ranch. Dorothy, Eureka (her cat) and Zeb are riding a buggy being pulled by a cab-horse named Jim when a violent earthquake hits and starts to open a crevice beneath them that sends them all hurtling deep into the chasm, being swallowed by the bowels of the Earth.

Dorothy, Eureka, Jim, Zeb, and the buggy alight into the Land of the Mangaboos, a race of people made entirely of vegetables and who accuse them of causing the "Rain of Stones" which has destroyed and shattered their glass kingdom. Zeb is very surprised by this strange new land, but Dorothy, who is no stranger to undiscovered realms and magical countries, surmises that they are in a fairy country because they are meeting vegetable people and Jim and Eureka are now speaking real words. Just as they are about to be sentenced to death by the Mangaboos, a hot air balloon randomly falls out of the sky and in the basket is Oscar Diggs, the humbug wizard who once ruled the Land of Oz, (and whom Dorothy last saw as he floated away into the sky from the Emerald City).

The Wizard brags about his showmanship and with the others' aid attempts to awe the Mangaboos into sparing their lives. After defeating their Wizard Gwig by slicing him in half and showing him completely solid inside, he is appointed by the Mangaboo prince as their temporary wizard. The Wizard, Dorothy, and Zeb temporarily escape the fate of all flesh intruders (to be tossed into a garden of carnivorous "Clinging Vines") when they release a Princess from the garden who assumes authority, as the former Prince exiles himself never to be seen again. The cold Princess, however, vows to have Jim and Eureka killed nonetheless, so they all plan to escape higher into the earth where the Mangaboos cannot follow them due to the stronger pull of gravity the further they rise.

"Dorothy and Ozma", a watercolor plate from the book

Dorothy, Eureka, Zeb, Jim, and the Wizard enter a beautiful green valley and the Wizard's nine tiny piglets devour an enticing fruit which they find makes them invisible. They enter a seemingly empty cottage and are welcomed by invisible people, for they have entered the Valley of Voe, whose inhabitants use their invisibility to hide from marauding bears. The inhabitants of Voe help them escape the bears and explain what lies ahead, particularly the terrible Gargoyles (a story the Voe people tell seems to indicate that by now Baum had decided that people in a fairy land do not die; even cut into pieces, an individual is still active and aware. See The Tin Woodman of Oz for another example of this).

The companions reach the base of Pyramid Mountain and meet the Braided Man halfway up. He used to make holes, Flutters (guaranteed to make any flag flutter on a windless day), and Rustles for silk skirts. One day he stacked up many postholes he had made and fell into Pyramid Mountain and since then kept shop there, continuing to make his wares. His facial hair has gotten so long, however, that he has had to braid it to keep from tripping. Dorothy had given him a blue bow, for he had tied each braid with a different color hair bow. The only color he didn't have was blue so Dorothy gave him one. They head into the Land of the Gargoyles and at first repel them successfully because the winged wooden creatures are startled by loud noises. However, they do not tire and soon imprison Dorothy and her friends. They manage to escape the Gargoyles' grasp, using their detached wings and Jim's guidance.

After a close encounter with the Dragonettes (baby dragons whose mother has tied their tails to a post until she returns from hunting), they find themselves trapped in a cave which they can not exit. Dorothy suggests that she signal Ozma to bring them to Oz by using the Magic belt which she'd captured from the Nome King in Ozma of Oz. She does so at a prearranged time of day, and Dorothy, the Wizard, Zeb, Eureka, and Jim arrive within the Emerald City where Dorothy reunites with her old friends and meets new ones. As she walks down the hall, she meets the Gump who talks to her about the life he had as a flying machine; but then Ozma (who somehow dislikes the Gump's talking) shows up, making the Gump tell Dorothy that he must be quiet.

Soon after renewing his acquaintance with the Emerald City staff and making the acquaintance of Ozma, the Wizard elects to remain in Oz permanently. The others' visit is highlighted by the wooden Saw-Horse beating Jim in a race and the trial of Eureka for eating Ozma's pet piglet given to her by the Wizard. In fact, Eureka is innocent and the piglet is alive and well, but the obstinate Eureka will not say so. After the piglet is restored to Ozma and Zeb and Jim decide they've had enough of fairyland, Ozma then uses the Magic Belt to send Dorothy and Eureka back to Kansas, and Zeb and Jim back to California.

Publication history

Four years passed between the first and second Oz books (1900-4), and three between the second and third (1904-7). By 1907, however, it was clear to Baum and to his publisher, Reilly & Britton, that the Oz books were more popular and sold better than any of Baum's other works. After 1907's Ozma of Oz, Baum devoted more of his energies to Oz. A 1906 contract between Baum and his publisher called for new Oz books at two-year intervals between 1907 and 1911.

In fact, Baum accelerated this schedule, producing Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz only a year after the previous book. The effect of this effort on the quality of the resulting work can only be a matter of speculation; but commentators have noted that this fourth Oz book is darker and more troubling than usual. In it, Baum violates his own standard of leaving out most elements that can disturb or frighten children. "In the first two-thirds of the book, Dorothy and her friends...barely escape from an unrelenting succession of threatening magical countries...." In the company of the Wizard, "Dorothy is a helpless little girl, given no opportunity to show her resourcefulness." When Oz is finally reached, it is a bland "goody-goody place" with few positive events to offer.[5]


In the early 1900s, continuity does not seem to have been high on the list of priorities, as the fantasy genre was just then a burgeoning field. While Baum indicates that he was the "royal" historian of Oz, there are several incongruities throughout the series that do not match up across the entire canon. Some of these were later reconciled by modern stories.


  1. Peter Glassman, "Afterword", L. Frank Baum, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, p 259 ISBN 0-688-09826-6
  2. Peter Glassman, "Afterword", L. Frank Baum, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, p 259-60 ISBN 0-688-09826-6
  3. Michael O. Riley, Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum, p 144, ISBN 0-7006-0832-X
  4. Michael O. Riley, Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum, p 141, ISBN 0-7006-0832-X
  5. Katharine M. Rogers, L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz, New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002; pp. 160-1.
Wikisource has the complete text of:
The Oz books
Previous book:
Ozma of Oz
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
Next book:
The Road to Oz
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