While visiting family in California, Dorothy, her new kitten Eureka, cousin Zeb, and Zeb’s buggy horse Jim fall through a giant crack in the Earth. Far down in the center of the earth live a land of vegetable people, who grow on vines, and are picked when ripe into consciousness. While there, Oz floats down in his air balloon, and joins the company. All together, including Oz’s nine tiny piglets, they travel through several more lands on their journey back upward and onward toward the Earth’s surface. In every land they encounter dangers, including the invisible bears, the wooden gargoyles, and dragonettes, but despite their imaginative descriptions, are significantly less haunting compared to the previous books’ creatures.
Near the surface of the Earth, Dorothy and crew find themselves blocked in. Dorothy then remembers that Ozma checks up on Dorothy every day with magic, so she makes the appropriate signal, and they are whisked away to Oz, which seemed a rather easy way out.
In Oz, many of our previous friends re-unite. What’s interesting about this book is the newcomers, Zeb, Jim, and Eureka, each have their own circumstances arise in which they decide that they are not unique enough to be comfortable inhabitants of Oz, and are eager to return to America. My favorite is the race between the real horse Jim and the magical saw horse, called Saw-Horse. At first, Jim is confident that as a real horse, he is superior in all manner, but when Saw-Horse wins the race, and Princess Ozma declares the Saw-Horse the real horse of Oz, Jim loses his temper and strikes out at Saw-Horse, kicking off one of his wooden legs. This book left me with a feeling of real sadness, as this was the first scenario that excluded certain characters from the magical world of Oz, as if they were not worthy of it.