What a fantastic book! Hilarious and visionary, this one stands above the original, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I cannot tell you how much laughing my kids did at the antics of this motley assortment of characters, Jack Pumpkinhead most of all. I couldn't even read many parts dealing with Jack without taking a moment to laugh and then compose myself. I think Baum wrote this one for adults.
My (our) favorite scene involves the Scarecrow (still not packing a whole lot of brain cells in his head) meeting Jack Pumpkinhead for the first time. They quickly decide that because they are from different lands they need an interpreter. Both readily agree and then proceed to just make a mockery of communication. I couldn't read that part I was laughing so hard.
Perhaps this novel's greatest strength is the unexpected feminist overtures; the female characters are strong in this one, and take charge of situations the males have repeatedly proven themselves incapable of handling. Quite a turn from the often-helpless Dorothy of the first novel of the series. Even the astonishing end reveals something to say about the power of the female. I did not expect that ending by any means and it must have been even more of a shocker when the book was written.
This one is nothing short of fantastic and fun. I'm glad I read it and will continue with the series.
Important history from that special Oz historian, L. Frank Baum. Meet the witch Mombi, Tip (who isn't who he seems to be), Jack the Pumpkinhead and the wooden Sawhorse, Professor Wogglebug, The Patchwork Girl - oh a whole panoply of woderful characters.