Rating: 7.2 out of 10.0
Author: L. Frank Baum
Genre: Children’s Literature (Classic Literature)
About: According to one source, “Baum’s motives [in writing more Oz books] were as much financial as creative. Extending the Oz series provided him with the earnings he needed to dabble in projects outside of it” (Fall River Press edition, vi). The first edition of Tik-Tok of Oz sold 14,000 copies, which is 3,000 less than the previous book in the series, The Patchwork Girl of Oz. Interestingly enough, Tik-Tok of Oz was the first Oz book to include a map of Oz.
Likes: Alright, here we go on my eighth Oz book. Baum delivered what readers have come to expect from his books: vibrant and unique characters, a quick wit, and an overdose on creativity. He never fails to thrill readers of all ages with his world-building ability. Each new land is creative, unique, and generally either hilarious or stunning (or both). In this book, he brings back some of the most well-loved characters, including Polychrome, Shaggy Man, and the Nome King, who is the book series’ most frequently used villain (despite the stereotypical understanding of the wicked witch being the primary antagonist). Also, this book had more of a plot than some of the other books, but I would still say that plot is not Baum’s strong suit in this book (or the series as a whole, really). This book promotes kindness and forgiveness, especially shown in the end, when a cruel character is forgiven by the heroes of the book. Overall, this book made me laugh at its absurd little jokes that are littered throughout the pages and was a rather enjoyable read, especially for fans of the other Oz books.
Dislikes: In reading this book, you have to look past several flaws to enjoy it. First of all, Baum repeats his previous mistake of messing with the continuity of the series. One such example is the use of the Love Magnet. In the previous books, the Shaggy Man simply having the Love Magnet in his pocket was enough to win the favor of all who were near. However, in this book, Baum changed it to be that its power worked on whoever looked at it, which ends up playing into the plot a bit, but I won’t spoil it. While they did have a story goal, it was only really a goal for one of the characters; the rest were just along for the ride because they had nothing better to do. Evil is portrayed as evil, which has become pretty standard in the Oz series. Also, the title does not reflect who the main characters in this book are. Tik-Tok plays a very minor role in this book. Lastly—and this is a comment on the series as a whole—Baum keeps introducing more and more AMAZING characters. The problem is, soon he has way too many characters on his hands in a land where they can’t die. Minor detail, I suppose.
Summary: Join Tik-Tok the machine man, Betty Bobbin and her mule Hank, Shaggy Man, Polychrome, Queen Ann, Files, and several others on a journey throughout the regions surrounding the Land of Oz to find Shaggy Man’s brother. They face many trials, such as the Nome King, but meet new friends along the way. Enjoy marvelous new settings and characters in Baum’s eighth installment, Tik-Tok in Oz.
Book Length: 149 pages (Fall River Press edition)
Favorite Character: Polychrome
Suggested Age: 11+
If you liked this, check out my other Oz book reviews!
(It may be a week or two before my next review–I’m going to start reading either “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy or “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper. Either project will take me a week or two.)