I am torn about this book. It is an Oz book, but it is not written by Baum, and that is plainly evident. It is not badly written, just differently. The story takes place soon after the second book of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, and starts to fill in some of the story on how Ozma settled into her tenure as Queen. There are a handful of new characters and peoples that are met along the way, who are at the outset very typical of Oz denizens and very fascinating. But still, you can readily tell it is not Baum.
First, the book tends to be very morals based, almost to the point of preaching. At times, the ethics posited can be very heavy handed and almost feel like a wrap on the knuckles warning or a lecture.
The period is off compared to the other books having been written at some time around the end of the 20th century, or could be early 21st; I cannot seem to find an accurate date. But this surprises me anyway as it seems to have been written around the 1950’s or 60’s. Regardless, there are references to technologies and even some political events, that are a far cry away from Baum’s period.
Towards the latter third of the book is a long story about baseball. While an interesting segue I do not see how it fit into the rest of the story and the character is merely a vehicle for this story, leaving upon the continuation of the quest when they arrive at their destination.
There was a point in the story where it felt like a chapter had mystically disappeared. One minute the party (Ozma and the animals) is fighting the land sharks and the next minute a major arc of the quest is resolved. Somehow their long journey took them in a complete circle both story wise and geographically. Avery and myself were a bit perplexed.
While a fun read, it was definitely not a Baum book. If you have read all the Oz books by Baum and want to continue the journey, The Forest Monster Of Oz is a decent jaunt.