Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz (1939) is the thirty-third in the series of Oz books created by L. Frank Baum and his successors, and the nineteenth and last written by Ruth Plumly Thompson. It was illustrated by John R. Neill.
The phrase “The Wizard of Oz” was included in the title to coincide with the MGM film The Wizard of Oz, which was released the same year the book was published. As such, the focus of the story is on characters who appeared in the first book. Thompson focuses the book most strongly on Jellia Jamb, though that character was unnamed in the first book and was absent from the film.
The story opens with a dinner party, attended by seven of the characters from Baum’s inaugural book, including the castle-housemaid Jellia Jam. After the dinner, the Wizard takes his guests to a glass-domed building that contains two gleaming silver aircraft, the newly created ozoplanes. The Wizard has named them the Ozpril and the Oztober. The guests enthusiastically pile into the craft to inspect them.
The Soldier with the Green Whiskers is suddenly overcome by a violent stomach cramp from eating too many pickles. He slams into the control panel of the Oztober, causing it to take off. The Wizard, startled and appalled, takes the Ozpril in pursuit and in search of the Oztober, accompanied by Dorothy, Lion, and Scarecrow.
Enduring a chaotic flight, the resourceful Tin Man eventually gets the Oztober under control; he lands in a previously unexplored sky-country called Stratovania. He enthusiastically but undiplomatically claims the place for Ozma as a colony of the Land of Oz. The ruler, Strutoovious the Seventh, also called “Strut of the Strat” for short, is outraged, and decides to turn the tables and conquer the land of Oz. He forces the Tin Woodman to fly him and his army to Oz, leaving Jellia and the Soldier behind in Stratovania.
The Wizard and company arrive at Stratovania in the second ozoplane. But the plane is blown up by the Stratovanians, and the Ozites have to leap off the edge of the skyland to save themselves, riding on winged staffs stolen from two Stratovanians. (The Stratovanians all own winged staffs and use them for transportation.)
The Wizard and his party land at Red Top Mountain in the Quadling Country. The place’s rightful ruler, Princess Azarine, has escaped the clutches of the usurper Bustabo (an even worse villain than Strut) who captures the travelers. This villain sends the Wizard in search of Azarine, and holds the rest of the party hostage. The hostages escape, and meet up with the Wizard, Azarine, and her protectors, the great stag Shagomar and his wife Dear Deer. The group reaches the palace of Glinda, though the sorceress is absent with Ozma; the Wizard is able to use Glinda’s magic to combat the Stratovanian invasion.
Strut and his forces reach the Emerald City; the residents flee or hide. Strut tries to obtain Ozma’s Magic Belt from her safe, but is frustrated; the Wizard has united with Ozma and Glinda to rescue the Belt, the most powerful magical talisman of Oz. Once in possession of the Belt, Ozma transports Strut’s army home and ends his bid for conquest. She turns the usurper Bustabo into a red squirrel, so that Azarine can resume her rightful place.
Thompson gives her protagonists some odd adversaries, including sky creatures called Spikers that are something like iridescent spiked blow-fishes, and a large fierce bugbear that is half insect and half bear. And she indulges in extravagant nonsensical tech talk, as with the Wizard’s “elutherated altitude pills” and Glinda’s “triple-edged, zentomatic transporter.” She also misuses the word “entomophagous” to mean insect-like; it actually means something that eats insects.
Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz First Edition Book Identification Points
Please refer to the gallery for detailed images of binding(s) and dust jackets.
|Year||Title||Publisher||First edition/printing identification points|
|1939||Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz||Reilly & Lee, ||First edition. Illustrated by John R. Neill, 272 pages. |
Textual points: 16-page gatherings. Pictorial endpapers in black and white. The front is a Binding: various colors of cloth: vermilion, dark drab-green, beige (textured), tan, yellow-orange (textured and untextured), turquoise, brick-red, and bright medium blue have been reported. No priority is known. Pictorial paper label in colors. Spine imprint in semi-script, “fancy” letters.
Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz First Edition Dust Jacket Identification Points
First edition binding(s) and various dust jacket printings identification.
- Bibliographia Oziana – Haff, Greeme, Martin. 2002