This is the third in the Oz series published 1907. This book introduces us to Dorothy again, but she is not traveling with Toto, but on a ship. She becomes shipwrecked and survives by floating away in a chicken coop. The next morning she discovers a talking chicken in the coop, and wonder of wonders, the chicken is talking. This lets you know that Dorothy is close to a magical kingdom, but no Oz but the Kingdom of Ev. Dorothy discovers a wind-up man, Tik-tok. He is not alive, but has motion, talking and thinking capabilities if he is wound up properly. He was built by Smith and Tinker. However in visiting the Kingdom of Ev they run into trouble. The Ev family is captured by the Nome King. Their aunt is in charge and she wants Dorothy's head as it is pretty and young. She would trade one of her own for it. Dorothy refuses and ends up in the tower, Tik Tok runs down and becomes a statue in the parlor. Bellina the chicken ends up in the hen house.
Luckily, friends from Oz, who have traveled across the desert by way of a magic carpet, arrive they next day as they are hoping to free the royalty of Ev. They put things right, and no one is hurt except for Bellina who has had a row with a forward rooster. Ozma is leading the company, and we see her for the first time in the role of leader of the People of Oz. They set off the next do for the Nome Kingdom, which is under a mountain. The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger pull the chariot with Ozma and Dorothy and Bellina. The Scarecrow rides the Saw Horse. The Tin Man leads an army of 26 officers and one private.
The Nome King has preserved the Family of Ev as bric a brac, ornaments throughout his kingdom. He tricks the rescuers, and they all in turn join the Kings ornaments. Dorothy makes a lucky guess, and escapes being changed. However it is the smallest party member of all that saves the day. She, as a chicken, was sleeping under the King's throne and woke up in time to hear the secrets which saved the company. However she is unable to save the Tin Man, and they give him up for lost. It is only by chance they find him, and all are happy. Dorothy visits Oz for a few weeks, but her Uncle then is worried about her Uncle who has been ill.
A few witicisms. When the hen can first talk she says, "If on is going to talk, it's best to talk correctly." Talking of the army, "The generals commanded the colonels and the colonels commanded the majors and the majors commanded the captains and the captains commanded the private, who marched with an air of proud importance because it required so many officers to give him his orders. (Reminds me of places with too many bosses and not enough workers.) The hen requires the company to stop so she can lay her morning egg. The Tin Man is impatient and says she must hurry. However the Scarecrow responds, "No, no!" exclaimed the Scarecrow, "If she hurries she might lay scrambled eggs." There is the same discussion as the past two books, heart vs. brains. However this time Tik Tok is in the discussion, and he concedes he is inferior to his companions as he is not alive, and does not have emotions.
And this is a song the Saw Horse was singing:
"Would a wooden horse in a woodland go?
Aye, aye! I sigh, he would, although
Had he not a wooden head
He'd mount the mountain top instead."
I find L. Frank Baum to be an American treasure. I know others have tried to write their own sequels to his stories, but nothing compares to the originals.