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Literature / The Lost Princess Of Oz

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The Lost Princess of Oz is the eleventh book in L. Frank Baum's series Land of Oz. Baum dedicated the book to his new granddaughter Ozma Baum, the child of his youngest son Kenneth Gage Baum.

Trouble strikes in the palace of the Emerald City as Dorothy discovers that Princess Ozma is nowhere to be found in her bed chamber, or anywhere else in the palace. On top of that, the Magic Picture, which enables one to see whatever they ask it to show, is also gone, as well as the Wizard's magical implements. And in Glinda's palace in southern Oz, the Book of Records which tells whatever is going on in the world by the second, has also been stolen. Glinda travels to the Emerald City, and search parties are organized to scour Oz for any sign of Ozma and the missing magic items. Dorothy's party, the largest of the four parties, travels into Winkie Country, encountering many perils and strange settlements along the way.

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Meanwhile, in a (at first) seemingly disconnected event in a remote corner of southern Winkie Country known as Yips Country, Cayke the Cookie Cook discovers that her magic, golden and jewel-encrusted dishpan is gone. Without it she's unable to cook her delicious cookies, and this devastates her. She entrusts the Frogman, an intelligent anthropomorphic frog mutated by a magic pond who is regarded as the wisest citizen and de facto leader of Yips Country, to help her find the missing dishpan, setting foot for the first time out of her country and into the vastness of Oz.

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Tropes

  • Badass Bookworm: By spending a year studying in secret, Ugu the Shoemaker not only manages to become a dangerous wizard, but also learns a lot of useful information about Oz which he then uses in his plans. The 'badass' part comes when the heroes finally confront him: he puts up a serious fight and is only beaten thanks to the Nome King's Magic belt — an item which does not originate from Oz and which his research therefore couldn't prepare him for.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Ugu uses this to incapacitate Ozma. In the end, he falls victim to it himself, courtesy of Dorothy and the Magic Belt.
  • Beary Friendly: The Lavender King who rules Bear Center is very helpful and friendly. He does sentence Cayke and the Frogman to be executed, but only as a formality, scheduling it in ten years after their crimes are sure to have been forgotten.
  • Big Bad: Ugu, who arguably comes closer to succeeding in his goals than any other villain since the Nome King in Ozma of Oz.
  • Boring Return Journey: After Ugu is defeated the group stays in his castle for three days to sort through all the stolen items before taking a river ferry back to the Emerald City, avoiding the obstacles they'd encountered on the way to Ugu's castle. This is all briefly summarized in the book.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: After accidentally swimming in the Truth Pond, the Frogman can no longer lie about how intelligent he is and has to admit he's no smarter than any other human.
  • Cassandra Truth: The Lavender King and his magical Pink Bear repeatedly tell the party where Ozma is. Nobody ever believes him since she's been trapped inside a peach pit which Button-Bright put in his pocket, and thus her presence is not apparent.
  • Cast Herd: The various search parties (of which we only really get to follow Dorothy's), and Cayke and Frogman.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The golden peach pit Button-Bright finds about mid-way through the book is later revealed to be where Ozma is trapped by Ugu.
  • The Chessmaster: Unlike other villains, Ugu doesn't waste time preparing an invasion or recruiting minions. Instead, he makes a careful plan to seize all of the most powerful magic in Oz for himself while sabotaging his potential rivals, which he successfully executes in a single night. Unfortunately for him, he didn't know about the Magic Belt.
  • The Dandy: The Frogman wears rich, beautiful clothes and is immensely proud of his appearance.
  • Distressed Damsel: Ozma in this case, who was caught by surprise and kidnapped. Mind you, she is quite formidable and rarely someone who needs saving (although it happens more often in Ruth Plumly Thompson's books).
  • Frog Men: The Frogman, a human-like frog and leader of the Yips.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: A mere shoemaker, Ugu comes from a long line of magicians. When he found his family's old magic books in his attic and studied them, he quickly went from a shoemaker to a powerful sorcerer and nearly conquers Oz.
  • Gravity Screw: Ugu does this to Dorothy's party when they confront him in his castle, sending them falling upward to the domed ceiling.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Glinda splits up the main characters and sends them to different parts of Oz to cover more ground in their search. Dorothy gets the largest party.
  • Living Toys: The bears of Bear Center are essentially living teddy bears, created by fairies.
  • Mr. Exposition: The Lavender King's main purpose is to give the characters information about what's really going on. When not providing the exposition directly, he uses a magical item, the Pink Bear, which basically has the power to reveal parts of the plot on demand.
  • Save the Princess: The goal after Ozma disappears.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: An entire chapter is devoted to a conversation between the Cowardly Lion, Toto, the Woozy, Hank the Mule and the Sawhorse over which of them is more beautiful, and what it even means to be beautiful. It's actually a comedic highlight of the book.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The Frogman has a highly inflated sense of his own worth. He actually knows, deep down, that he's not nearly as wise as he pretends to be, but he still expects everyone he meets to hold him in awe; he is quite taken aback when they don't. He's eventually brought down to earth after swimming in the Truth Pond.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The plot mostly follows Dorothy's search party and their journey through Winkie Country, and Cayke and Frogman's search for her dishpan, spending a few chapters in a row on each before alternating. The two parties eventually meet and join forces.
  • Vague Age: Whether Cayke is young or old is never stated by Baum. A couple of vague remarks in the narrative could be interpreted to imply old age note ; however, the illustrations depict her as relatively young and attractive.
  • Villain Teleportation: Thanks to a stolen magical artifact; most of Ugu's plans hinge on his ability to do this. He also (temporarily) escapes this way during the final battle.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: Thi, a city of people with heart-shaped bodies and diamond-shaped heads; Herku, where overpowered people enslave giants to do their bidding, and Bear Center, a small kingdom of teddy bears. The latter two at least become relevant to the plot as a whole.
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