Dorothy returns to a world of magic with her yellow hen Billina (formerly Bill), though this time it’s a neighboring land of Oz, called Ev, which is filled with even more imaginative characters. Washed ashore tired and hungry, Dorothy picks two lunch pails from a lunch pail tree, and her and Billina are subsequently ambushed by the Wheelers, loud and threatening creatures who have wheels for hands and feet and roll on all fours, and who have claimed the land formerly ruled by the captured Queen and her brood of offspring. Dorothy and Billina escape the Wheelers with their new friend Tik-tok, a mechanical man who must be wound up for thought, speech, and action. Their adventure begins as they attempt to find out what happened to the royal family, and soon team up with Ozma, Scarecrow, Nick Chopper (Tin Man), and the Cowardly Lion in addition to several new friends.
Through his characters, Frank Baum continues to illustrate that people are often not what they seem, and what you most desire can often be found within. The antagonist Nome king seems kind and resembles a rock Santa Claus, but he is cruel and tricksy; the Wheelers are just as frightened themselves as other creatures are of them; Tik-tok shows loyalty despite not being alive; a private is often braver than his commanders; and even the smallest person (or yellow hen) can change the course of the future.
Arguably the most frightfully intriguing character is Princess Langwidere, who has 30 interchangeable heads, and wants to add Dorothy’s to her collection in exchange for head #26. She spends most of her time admiring her own reflection, and only devotes 10 minutes a day to governing matters of state. A truly terrifying and imaginative story that is just as good as the original.
“Only I never wish to get up in the morning”