The Wonder City of Oz (1940) is the thirty-fourth in the series of Oz books created by L. Frank Baum and his successors, and the first written and illustrated solely by John R. Neill.
Jenny Jump captures a leprechaun named Siko Pompus (apparently a pun on “psychopomp”) and forces him to make her into a fairy; but he only does half the job before escaping. Jenny then jumps to Oz using her half-fairy gifts. She lands in the carriage of Princess Ozma during a parade — and quickly expresses her desire to be a queen herself.
Jenny displays a bold and tempestuous nature; when she loses her temper she spits flames from her mouth. Yet she is also enterprising and resourceful; she soon sets up a Style Shop with a magic turnstile which gives fashion makeovers (the turnstile turns styles). Jenny half-adopts a Munchkin boy called Number Nine (he’s the ninth of fourteen children) who is overwhelmed by the force of her personality, and she treats him like a slave.
Jenny’s disruptive nature quickly becomes apparent. In response, the Wizard removes her fairy abilities and starts making her younger. Jenny has her good points too: she saves the Emerald City from conquest by an army of chocolate soldiers. Yet her ambition lures her into running against Ozma in an Ozlection to become ruler of the Land of Oz. It is clear that Ozma will win any fair election by a landslide — but a landslide is a terribly dangerous thing to have in the Emerald City. So Prof. Wogglebug cooks up a more random choice, in which citizens are weighed on scales to determine their votes. In the end, the Ozlection is exactly a tie, with a precisely equal number of votes cast for Ozma and for Jenny Jump. Only one person has yet to vote: the leprechaun Siko Pompus. He assures Jenny that he is her friend, and then he steps forward to cast the deciding vote…for Ozma. He claims it’s for Jenny’s own good, to save her “a heap of responsibility.”
Jenny is so irate at this outcome that she causes chaos in the city: she releases the tigers from tiger-lilies, the bulls from bullrushes, the lions from dandy-lions, etc., to rampage through the streets. The Wizard resolves matters with his magic: he extracts Jenny’s bad temper, envy, and ambition, so that these faults no longer plague her. He makes these faults visible for Number Nine, Dorothy, and other assembled friends: bad temper is a black wasp, envy is a green snake, and ambition is a fat red toad. Jenny is delighted with the change in her by quoting “How grand I feel!” Ozma and Glinda make Jenny a Duchess of Oz and she is now young and carefree enough to be a fitting companion for Number Nine.
Finally, Jenny’s leprechaun godfather gives her back her fairy gifts, in externalized and material forms: “an ivory-handled eyeglass for one eye” that provides fairy sight, and a pair of rose-colored gloves, “a golden slipper for her left foot, and a pair of thistle-down earmuffs” that enable her other fairy powers, whenever she needs them.
The Wonder City 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|
|1940||The Wonder City of Oz||Reilly & Lee, ||First edition. Illustrated by John R. Neill, 318 pages. |
Textual points: 16-page gatherings. Pictorial self-endpapers in black and white. The running-titles on pages 306-318 have the chapter-number on the versos (left-hand pages) and the book-title on the rectos (right-hand pages). The double-page picture on pages - is printed correctly.
Binding: various colors of cloth: blue (textured and untextured), emerald-green (textured), light-green, red, very light beige, and orange (textured and untextured) have been reported. No priority is known. Pictorial paper label in colors. Spine imprint is in semi-script, “fancy” letters.
Size of leaf: 8 7/8 by 6 5/8 inches. Thickness of volume: 1 3/8 inches.
Later printings are made up of 32-page gatherings. The running-titles on pages 306-318 have the chapter-number on the rectos and the book-title on the versos. In re-imposing the book, the printer erroneously placed what had been the right section of the double-page picture onto page  and the left section onto page .
The Wonder City of Oz First Edition Dust Jacket Identification Points
First edition binding(s) and various dust jacket printings identification.
- Bibliographia Oziana – Haff, Greeme, Martin. 2002