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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Thriving Family, a marriage and parenting magazine published by Focus on the Family. It incorporates many of the characters from within the author's great-grandfather's "Oz" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Dorothy is summoned back to Oz and finds herself in Candy Country, where everything and everyone is made of candy. She inadvertently breaks the land's most important law of not eating any candy (lest the land and its inhabitants be devoured). In time, she finds mercy with the land's ruler because she is able to diagnose his stomach problem.

She then meets Jester. At first, he seems quite friendly and funny, but turns out to be under the evil influence of the long-dead Wicked Witch of the West. The Witch's wand was left at the castle, and Jester has come under its spell. He uses it to turn all the castle's residents, including the ruling Prince and Princess, into porcelain dolls. Dorothy discovers her old friends have been held hostage in the castle: the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Lion. She is able to gain their freedom in exchange for a promise to capture Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

The four adventurers set off on the journey together. They get travel advice from an owl named Wiser and build a boat named Tugg from the magical Talk Trees, which means the boat can talk once they remember to paint a smile on it. In an extraordinary display of teamwork and perseverance, this group solves a magical maze, not only saving their own lives, but also freeing the villagers from an evil spell. The friends navigate rough waters on the river, finding and escaping from a family of hungry, cramped, cranky dragons. They also break an anti-sunshine spell and restore the damaged beginnings of the Yellow Brick Road. On the way to Glinda's castle, they return a China Doll Princess to her home country. (She is not a victim of Jester's spell — all residents of Dainty China Country become immobile outside their country's borders.)

Once at Glinda's castle, the friends learn the final secrets needed to trick Jester into relinquishing the evil wand so its spell can be destroyed. Their plan requires the expertise of the skilled workers in Dainty China Country, who willingly and skillfully do their part. Back at Jester's castle, the plan goes awry, and Jester realizes their trickery. Before he can destroy them, Dorothy stands up to him, telling him that he ought to be ashamed of himself for being such a bad jester. She shows him his face in her (very ordinary) mirror.

He realizes that she is right, that he is supposed to be bringing happiness instead of sadness to the castle residents. So he gives the evil wand to Dorothy (in spite of great protests by the disembodied spirit of the dead Wicked Witch of the West).

Once Dorothy breaks the wand, the spell is broken, and all the castle residents are returned to normal. Amid celebrations, Dorothy asks the Prince and Princess if they will let Jester work for them again, since he is basically good at heart and sad that he has caused such grief. They agree to it, which delights Jester to no end. The remaining good rulers of Oz (Glinda the Good Witch, also known as the Sorceress of the South, Ozma the Fairy Ruler and the Wizard) appear and thank Dorothy and her friends. Dorothy and Toto say their goodbyes and depart, once again, for Kansas.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Magic and spells are commonplace in Oz, and local rulers — witches, sorceresses, fairies and wizards — readily acknowledge the stronger powers of both the natural world and love as a means for breaking evil spells. Jester does feel shame over his behavior and is shown as being basically good until he fell under the influence of the evil wand. The Wicked Witch of the West is the ultimate source of all the evil in this story and remains fiercely unrepentant to the end. The rulers of Oz emphasize that she and her evil can only be defeated by natural means, not by anything magical. When the Princess welcomes Jester back to his old job, she tells him that he is actually very important because he alone, out of all of them, had to actively choose love, with his friends' help, and defeat the evil within himself.

Authority Roles

Dorothy and her friends are quick to comply with the advice of good authority figures in Oz, such as Glinda and Ozma, and the less official authority of Wiser the Owl. They resist the authority and plans of the evil authority figures (or holders of power) in Oz, such as Jester and the Wicked Witch of the West. But Dorothy doesn't seem especially concerned about authority figures back in Kansas — rushing off to the rainbow despite knowing that Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are both trying to get her attention.


A family of dragons tries to eat the travelers, but they decide to let them go after finding the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow unappetizing.



Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at ThrivingFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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