Dogeared Page: Ozma of Oz

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dorothy stepped inside the little room to get a back view of the copper man, and in this way discovered a printed card that hung between his shoulders, it being suspended from a small copper peg at the back of his neck. She unfastened this card and returned to the path, where the light was better, and sat herself down upon a slab of rock to read the printing.

"What does it say?" asked the hen, curiously.

Dorothy read the card aloud, spelling out the big words with some difficulty; and this is what she read:

| | SMITH & TINKER'S | | 
Patent Double-Action, Extra-Responsive, Thought-Creating, Perfect-Talking MECHANICAL MAN 
Fitted with our Special Clock-Work Attachment. 
Thinks, Speaks, Acts, and Does Everything but Live.
Manufactured only at our Works at Evna, Land of Ev.  All infringements will be promptly Prosecuted according to Law.

"How queer!" said the yellow hen. "Do you think that is all true, my dear?"

"I don't know," answered Dorothy, who had more to read. "Listen to this, Billina:"

For THINKING:--Wind the Clock-work Man under his 
left arm, (marked No. 1.) 
For SPEAKING:--Wind the Clock-work Man under his 
right arm, (marked No. 2.) 
For WALKING and ACTION:--Wind Clock-work in the 
 middle of his back, (marked No. 3.) 
N. B.--This Mechanism is guaranteed to work 
perfectly for a thousand years.

"Well, I declare!" gasped the yellow hen, in amazement; "if the copper man can do half of these things he is a very wonderful machine. But I suppose it is all humbug, like so many other patented articles."

"We might wind him up," suggested Dorothy, "and see what he'll do."

"Where is the key to the clock-work?" asked Billina.

"Hanging on the peg where I found the card."

"Then," said the hen, "let us try him, and find out if he will go. He is warranted for a thousand years, it seems; but we do not know how long he has been standing inside this rock."

Dorothy had already taken the clock key from the peg.

"Which shall I wind up first?" she asked, looking again at the directions on the card.

"Number One, I should think," returned Billina. "That makes him think, doesn't it?"

"Yes," said Dorothy, and wound up Number One, under the left arm.

"He doesn't seem any different," remarked the hen, critically.

"Why, of course not; he is only thinking, now," said Dorothy.

"I wonder what he is thinking about."

"I'll wind up his talk, and then perhaps he can tell us," said the girl.

So she wound up Number Two, and immediately the clock-work man said, without moving any part of his body except his lips:

"Good morn-ing, lit-tle girl. Good morn-ing, Mrs. Hen."
-Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum


  1. Whaaaat, this is great! I'm so into old book illustrations for some reason (I clicked and it said from 1989, which isn't really that terribly old, but I guess for 20 years ago there's quite a difference in illustration style now). Everything looks so colorblocked and the colors are even more muted than they are now. Idk it's just really interesting to me, haha!

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    1. It's from 1907, Ali. :-) I love old book illustrations too. This one enchanted me as a child - my favorite of all the Oz books - and 99% of it doesn't even take place in Oz! :-D (And Billina is such a sassy chicken - one of my favorite talking animal characters).

    2. Ali- The illustrator is John R. Neil. You should look him up; all his work is fantastic.

      Anna- This is my favorite Oz book too! (Actually, might be one of my all time favorites!) I love the trek to the Nome King and passing the hammer.

  2. It was the illustration that caught my eye. Great imagination.


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    1. John R. Neil does fantastic art work, and this book in some ways might have his best work. Or, at least, the most full color illustrations ( it is something like one every three pages!)

      I'm glad you liked it Suzanne!

    2. I also love the illustrations only colored with yellow. This book always makes me think of the color yellow.

  3. I used to love looking at the OZ books at my mom's store. What a great post! :)

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  4. I'm absolutely enamoured with that illustration!

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