Oz fans are mystery fans, too... so here is an Oz mystery
that is all tangled up in three strands of emeralds and the
strange magic that lies in the depths of their stones. Originally
intended as gift for a wood nymph named Lorna, they instead
fall into evil hands.
story starts in Skampavia (a poor and tiny country outside
of Oz near the Land of Ev) where Skamperoo an ambitious
and discontented king decides to take three emerald
necklaces from a scoundrel merchant named Matiah (who actually
had found them after they had been discarded by a squirrel).
Matiah makes his way into the castle, convincing Skamperoo
of the enchantment of the stolen stones and of the fact that
only he can work their magic.
the king wishes for a white charger, everybody (including
Matiah) is surprised when a white horse drops out of the sky
Chalk, the magnificent Wishing Horse of Oz. Well, when
Skamperoo realizes that the magical emerald strands must surely
come from the Emerald City, he decides to become king of all
succeeds for a time by making everyone in Oz forget Ozma,
the Wizard, and the other rulers of the land (who actually
all disappear). Everyone that is except for Dorothy who senses
that something has gone wrong. Maybe it's because the whiskers
of the Oz Army that is, the whiskers of the famous
Soldier with the Green Whiskers have suddenly turned
RED!. With the help of Pigasus, the winged flying pig (originally
introduced in The Pirates in Oz)
Dorothy sets out to save Oz.
the (good) Black Queen of the Black Forest (in the otherwise
yellow Winkie Country) grants Dorothy the magical gift of
darkness to aid her in her efforts to overcome Skamperoo and
Chalk. Of course, Dorothy must first tangle with Kaliko (the
current Gnome King) and his minions after all, Gnome
kings seem to have the upper hand at their single-sighted
mission to become the King of Oz. This time out, Kaliko is
teamed with the disagreeable Dooners who tie people
up with seaweed and pelt them with sand balls.
end is near when Dorothy and Pigasus encounter Bitty Bit,
the Seer of Some Summit and together with Chalk's good horse
sense, the missing rulers of Oz are freed from their enchantment
in Thunder Mountain and Skamperoo is sent contentedly back
After 29 titles and 35 years of Oz tales, public demand was
beginning to wane. Reilly & Lee's new president was not
an Oz fan and consequently marketing and promotion was not
what it used to be. 1935's The Wishing Horse of Oz is the
last Oz title with color plates (the reprints of earlier tales
had already resorted to black & white) and production
was so rushed that John R. Neill either forgot or didn't have
time to draw endpapers for the first time. Numerous typos
abound in this tale.
of all of this, Ms. Thompson went on to write four more annual
Oz titles, John R. Neill added three annually through 1942
(actually a fourth title, which was nearly complete before
his death, was added in 1993).