Rinkitink in Oz

ISBN: 1421818914
ISBN 13: 9781421818917
By: L. Frank Baum

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About this book

Here is a story with a boy hero, and a boy of whom you have never before heard. There are girls in the story, too, including our old friend Dorothy, and some of the characters wander a good way from the Land of Oz before they all assemble in the Emerald City to take part in Ozma's banquet. Indeed, I think you will find this story quite different from the other histories of Oz, but I hope you will not like it the less on that account.

Reader's Thoughts

Michael Tildsley

Very unrealistic and utopian, but with a sound message for children. A good book in early American fantasy, though a bit darker and grittier, at least earlier on, than most Oz books. In fact, if not for some last chapter cameos from Dorothy, the Wizard, and a holiday in the Emerald City, this would almost not be a book set in Oz at all. However, I enjoyed the story and the new characters in this Oz volume. There's a fairy tale feel to all the Oz books, and a familiarity. It's like walking into a new house and feeling like you used to live there as a kid.

Rich Meyer

Average entry in the Oz series, though it only qualifies as an Oz book because of a bit of deus ex machina in the end. It has some interesting characters, but it just doesn't have the panache of an Oz book that features the more noted Oz-ites (who do show up at the end, in the standard chapter re-introducing every single major character in the stories to inflate the word count).


One of the best Oz books I've read yet! I read in the afterword that Baum actually intended this as a non-Oz book originally (no surprise, since the Oz part at the end seemed an afterthought and somewhat contrived). It tells the story of Prince Inga, who rescues his parents and the people of his island nation with the help of three magic pearls. King Rinkitink is a funny character; I love his laugh. I'm glad Baum decided to re-purpose this book into his Oz series—I'm sure many more people read it as a result.

Joshua Gross

I like this one a little better. It's surprising the number of Oz books that don't actually take place in Oz. In a lot of them, the main action of the book takes place somewhere else and then ends with some grand banquet at the Emerald City. Also, often a book's title has little to do with the actual contents, such as this one. Rinkitink was in the book a lot and was a main character, but he was not the main protagonist and was mostly along for the ride. Also, he spent maybe one chapter actually in Oz.

Jason Pettus

(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally. This review covers all 14 of the Baum Oz books, which is why it's found on all 14 book pages here.)I think it's fairly safe by now to assume that nearly everyone in Western society is familiar with The Wizard of Oz, most of us because of the classic 1939 movie adaptation; and many realize as well that author L. Frank Baum ended up penning a whole series of sequels, because of the original book's astounding success back at the turn of the 20th century when it was first published -- 13 sequels altogether, before his death in 1919, which after the movie's success twenty years later became a literal merchandising empire, spawning hundreds more official sequels by various authors and hundreds more unofficial ones once the characters moved into the public domain. And like many others, I've always been interested in what these 14 "canonical" Oz books have to say; and that's why I decided this winter to sit down and read them all in a row for the first time, easy to do because of them being available for free at both Project Gutenberg and the email subscription service DailyLit (which is how I myself read them, and in fact is how I read many of the older books you see reviewed here; I'm a big fan of theirs, and highly recommend them).But of course, to even approach these books with the right mindset, it's important to understand that like so many other one-hit-wonders, Baum was not only eluded by success in most of his other endeavors but was an active failure at them -- in the 1870s, for example, he unsuccessfully tried his hand at breeding fancy poultry (a national fad at the time), then in the 1880s opened his own theatre and became one of the first-ever Americans to produce modern-style stage musicals, apparently a little too ahead of its time, then in the 1890s moved to the Dakota Territory and opened a dry-goods store that eventually failed, as well as starting a newspaper that folded too. So it was sort of a case of random lightning in a bottle when he decided in the late 1890s to try his hand at children's literature, and ended up with his very first title being the most popular kid's book in America for two years straight, and no surprise that Baum then spent the rest of his life desperately trying to figure out how to bottle that lightning again. Because now that I've read it myself, I can confirm that the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz is astonishingly great, a sort of miraculous combination of traits that makes for an almost perfect children's story; and although most of it follows the same storyline seen in the '39 movie, there are also significant differences, making it worth your while to sit and read the book version if you have the interest. (And by the way, for some really interesting reading, check out the academic analysis that was done of this book in the 1960s, arguing that most of its details symbolically correspond almost exactly to various political and economic issues of the late 1800s, including the yellow brick road representing the much-discussed gold standard of that age, the scarecrow representing the then-hot Populist Party, Toto representing the teetotaler [prohibitionist:] movement, and a lot more.)But of course, there are a couple of details about this book that have been forgotten over the decades too, which also help explain its record-shattering success -- it was an unusually lavish book for its time, for example, with two-toned illustrations on every page and several full-color plates, and let's also not forget that Baum himself mounted a Broadway-style musical of Oz just two years after the book was published, a huge hit which toured nationally for a decade and that was even more insanely popular than the book itself (including making national stars out of vaudeville performers Fred Stone and David Montgomery, playing the Scarecrow and Tin Man; the stage production left out the Cowardly Lion altogether, which is why he is also barely seen in any of the 13 canonical sequels). And so that's why when Baum attempted starting up other fantasy series in the wake of Oz's success, hoping to turn all of them into lucrative franchises like the original, the audience mostly responded with yawns; and that's why Baum eventually went back to writing more and more Oz books as the 20th century continued, because by now the strength of the brand far outweighed the relative writing skills of Baum when it came to any particular volume.That's why, at least to adults, it's perhaps actually the introductions to each book that are the most fascinating thing about them; because to be frank, most of the books follow a pretty familiar formula, with a danger-filled quest involving various kooky characters that is usually finished about two-thirds of the way through, followed by a massive parade or party that lets Baum trot out the growing number of main characters added to this universe with each title. (And by the way, prepare yourself for Baum's unending love of the deus-ex-machina plot device; over half the books end along the lines of, "And then our heroes took possession of a super-duper magical device, which they waved in the air and all their troubles went away.") In fact, for those who don't know, that's why the official map of Oz and its surrounding lands eventually grew so large, because Baum still hadn't given up on his dream of having a whole series of kid-lit cash cows out there generating revenue for him, and so would use many of these Oz sequels to introduce entirely new casts of characters who live in entirely new lands, "just over the mountains" or "just past the desert" of Oz itself. By the end of the original 14 books, in fact, Baum had built up a virtual aristocracy of licensable characters, all of whom would have to be dragged out for a cameo at some point in each book to remind the audience of their existence -- not just the cast of the original book and '39 movie but also various other princesses like Ozma and Betsy Bobbin, boy characters like Ojo the Unlucky and Button Bright, adults who help them like the Shaggy Man, Cap'n Bill and Ugu the Shoemaker, and of course a whole litany of quirky fantastical sidekicks, including but not limited to Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Great Jinjin, Billina the Angry Hen, Scraps the Patchwork Girl, and Polychrome the Rainbow Fairy. Whew! And so did the Great Oz Merchandising Experiment keep limping along for two decades, with each sequel selling less and less and getting lazier and lazier (for example, the tenth book in the series, 1916's Rinkitink in Oz, was actually a non-Oz book written a decade previous, published almost unchanged except for a hasty final chapter full of Oz regulars slapped onto the end); and thus did Baum's bad luck in business come back with a vengeance as well, with three more Broadway productions that were all flops, and even the establishment of a film production company in 1914 that eventually went bankrupt.You can see the progression of all this reflected in Baum's first-person introductions to each book, which like I said is why they might be the most fascinating parts of all for adult readers -- how in the first sequel, for example, he expresses legitimately gleeful surprise and joy at how passionate his fans were, and how thousands of children had literally written to him out of the blue demanding more Oz stories, while with each subsequent sequel his tone becomes more and more snarky, ala "Well, dear and wonderful children, you've yet again demanded another Oz book like the sheep you are, so here it is, you screeching little monsters." In fact, in book six of the series, 1910's The Emerald City of Oz, Baum flat-out states that it's going to be the very last Oz book, and it's no coincidence that many fans actually consider this one to be the best of the original fourteen, because of Baum's extra attention to and enthusiasm for this particular storyline, thinking as he erroneously did that it would be the grand finale of the entire Oz universe; but after his later financial failures forced him back into the Oz business again, the gloves finally come off in his introductions, with most of the rest sounding to today's ears something like, "Well, okay, here again is the sugary teat you all apparently can't get enough of suckling, you infuriating little animals, so open wide and take your medicine." Now, of course, you shouldn't feel too bad for Baum; by the last years of his life, his combined books and plays were generating for him in today's terms roughly a quarter-million dollars a year just in personal royalties.So all in all, an experience I'm glad I had, reading all fourteen original Oz books in a row, but not something I'd recommend to others; instead, maybe better just to read the first, then skip to the sixth, then skip straight to the 14th, 1920's Glinda of Oz, because of its unusual darkness (probably caused, many scholars agree, by Baum knowing that he was near death). As with many authors I've looked at here at CCLaP, history seems to have correctly adjusted itself in Baum's case, with most of his books now rightfully falling into the obscurity they deserve, even while his one true masterpiece is still rightfully recognized as such.


This Oz novel was more cohesive than some others I have read. It had a nicely developed plotline, but - of course - it also included the obligatory rescue by the beloved characters of Oz along with a celebratory banquet. Fun and somewhat whimsical.

Benjamin Thomas

Theoretically, this is the 10th Oz book in the original 14 Oz series of books, written by L. Frank Baum. There have been many more additions to the whole Oz multiverse but only the original 14 are considered canon. Whereas, the first book in the series, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is heralded as a classic of children's literature, Mr. Baum struggled fruitlessly ever after to recreate the magic of that first book. Books #2 through #9 were honest attempts to do so and, indeed, introduced many memorable and much-loved characters but this 10th book...well, let's just say Mr. Baum took the lazy way out. It was actually written about 10 years prior to its publication, an early attempt to create a whole new children's fantasy world (and, incidentally, a whole new cash cow as well), but alas, Oz seemed to be the only answer for any further success for Mr. Baum.And so it was that this story, Rinkitink in Oz, is all about Prince Inga, his friend Rinkitink, a talking goat named Bilbil, and three magical pearls which serve as deus ex machina on multiple occasions. It is only near the very end of the book that we have any mention of Oz or its major characters at all. It seems the only way this story would have a chance at selling was to make it an "Oz book" and so Dorothy puts in a cameo appearance at the very end.Overall the story was OK but too silly for my taste. I am hopeful book #11 will be a return to the real Land of Oz.

Nicole Luiken

Reading this series to my children. I've read most before, but not this one. Despite the title, the main character is Prince Inga who lives in a kingdom nearby Oz. One of Baum's better plotted ones: instead of random adventures Prince Inga has a goal (saving his parents) which he pulls off using the magic of three pearls.Quibble: the Oz stuff at the end wasn't truly needed


Baum has definitely refound his footing as an author when it comes to the Oz books. He has found a formula that allows him to tell other stories, but still have them take place in the world of Oz. Some of his issues it appeared to be previously is he didn't want to continue Oz stories, but didn't recognize that he could tell stories about other countries by just including the last part of the book taking place in Oz, which is what he has done in the last few books. In this one it appears for the majority of the book oz will not be seen at all, but then finally in the final few paragraphs we see Dorothy and many of the other favorites of the series. This story is one of his better stories as well because it is a mystical adventure where he created magic items that are simplistic in nature but also are ingenious. In this story the Prince of Pinagree (Inga) inherits three magical pearls that give him various powers. This allows him to complete many feats that others could not and as a result he works to free his family and rebuild his own kingdom. Baum created a story of friendship between countries, people, and how one can have a simple adventure story without blood and gore. Parents would find this series to be ideal for their children because it keeps the imagination active for a child, but also teaches them various lessons about not being mean to others, not being envious, and other important lessons that children need to have. As an adult you will take some things away from it as well, but you will take less away morally and probably be like me where I just enjoyed a great adventure story that was a quick read. I highly recommend this book for anyone just wanting some good pleasure reading.


(4.5) I remembered almost everything about this one - I think I read it a lot as a kid, and I reread it within the last couple years. It's still good! Baum warns us in the intro that it is a different kind of Oz book than the others, and he's right. The key difference is really in the plot: It is more cohesive and less episodic, essentially. There is an overarching and very specific goal - Inga wants to free the people of Pingaree and especially his parents - and there are few if any distractions en route to success, and the small obstacles build to the bigger ones rather than just being more or less sequential and otherwise unrelated (cf. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, the Patchwork Girl of Oz, and even the beginning of Scarecrow of Oz). Maybe that's actually one of the reasons I like Ozma of Oz so much, because it is plotted almost as well as this one.I like Inga, although I miss the girls, and Zella is kind of a non-person. Bilbil is obviously my favorite. I enjoy the magic pearls and the way they're not entirely panaceas, especially when lost, although I sort of wish Inga et al. could save his parents without Baum's standard Ozian-ex-machina help at the end (you know, the kind that usually manifests as Glinda swooping in to fix at the end what she could have fixed at the beginning, but almost as often involves Ozma and/or Dorothy watching the whole sequence of events in the Magic Picture until deciding to go save everyone).Anyway, this is a good one. (Aren't they all?)


Once again, Baum produced an excellent child's novel. I believe one can see the maturation of Baum as a writer as one progresses though the Oz books because this book had a much better story arc than most of his previous works. However, his love of deus ex machina to solve the story's main conflicts at the end still remains a sore point for me.Rinkitink in Oz almost has nothing to do with Oz whatsoever for the vast majority of the book. Instead it takes place on islands in the ocean that surrounds the countries that border on the deathly desert that surrounds Oz. When characters from Oz do show up in the story it feels hastily thrown in. Personally I think the story would have been better if Oz didn't play a role at all.If you enjoyed the Oz books thus far, you will likely enjoy this one. The pace of the story is good and there is plenty of action to keep the attention.

Andrew Brady

Maybe Baum was getting better as he wrote these books. Though the ending was quite lacking, but that has come to be expected in the series.


This book was a refreshing change of pace from the usual story lines I started to complain about last review. Instead of the usual disaster, roam the land of oz, get rescued by Ozma or whatever we have a tale which mostly transpires outside the land of Oz on islands in the Nonenastic Ocean. In fact we don't see any of the usual Oz protagonists until the last few chapters. The action in this story is quick and exciting, the challenges unique and refreshing and the cast of characters were thoroughly enjoyable. I hope there are more like this casting an light on some of the different areas circling the fairy countries.

Don Gubler

Even after all the years still as good as anything before or since.

Steve Shilstone

L. Frank almost wrote a beauty of an old fashioned fairy tale about Prince Inga of Pingaree and how he went on a rescue quest with 3 magic pearls. After 275 pages, though, Baum felt obliged to bring in the Oz regulars to close the tale in the last few chapters. It's a thoroughly splendid tale as it is, but it would have been thoroughlier splendider if he'd been able to ignore Dorothy and the Emerald City gang.

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