This was published shortly after Mr. Otto's death. It tells a story of how the silver whistle in Ojo in Oz came to be, how Ozma met the Hungry Tiger and the Cowardly Lion, and how she got the Magic Picture. Also, the surprising origin of the Truth Pond!
The story is set shortly after Ozma's coronation as Ozma tries to discover what happened to the emeralds that originally studded the Emerald City. Mr. Otto theorizes that the Wizard paid off the Wicked Witch of the West with them, which is why she wasn't actively attacking the Wizard in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This is why the green spectacles were required back then, so the people wouldn't notice the emeralds were replaced by glass.
I like the story, however, I did have a few questions. A large number of characters must bathe in the Truth Pond as a crucial part of resolving the plot, including Ozma, the Hungry Tiger, and the Cowardly Lion. If we take this as canon, everything they say in Ozma of Oz and beyond must be the truth. But that makes them too innocent.
Also, Ozma meeting the Cowardly Lion and Hungry Tiger seems to be a point writers return to, here, Onyx Madden's The Mysterious Chronicles of Oz, and Edward Einhorn's excellent "Ozma Sees Herself." (The latter of which I do consider canon since it's simple and doesn't cause problems with other Oz stories.) So, good story, but it's not in my canon.
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This is a follow-up to Schulenberg's The Tin Castle of Oz, and very much the same type of story. This is how the Scarecrow came to build his corn-shaped tower that was revealed in The Emerald City of Oz, with Jack Pumpkinhead's help. Plus, meet Miss Cuttenclip's cousin Aura Gami and Alecksander, a former sand person who's been fused into glass by lightning.
Also, a short story detailing how Jack Pumpkinhead's pumpkin home came to be.
Overall, fun stories about how certain Oz celebrities got their homes, but no real conflict. Peter manages to make the story interesting enough to keep reading, but you can't beat conflict as a true plot device. Still, quite worth checking out for an idea of how the people in Oz might spend an "off day."
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