Friday, February 1, 2008

On the road with Dorothy and Toto

Saul Turtletaub reviews ?The Road to Oz?

Express Staff Writer

Courtesy photo Saul Turtletaub

The Community Library's annual celebration, called Our Moveable Feast, chose Ann Tyler's "The Accidental Tourist" as its theme book, and travel as its overall theme for the March 9 event.

The celebration—to be held at the library in Ketchum—will highlight the cuisine of several different books in separate rooms and areas. For the next several weeks, reviews of each of these books will be featured in these pages.

"The Road to Oz" by L. Frank Baum, reviewed by writer Saul Turtletaub, will be represented in the Children's Library for the desert portion of Our Movable Feast. A Sun Valley resident, Turtletaub is the father of two and grandfather of three. He made his career as a humorist, comedy writer and talk show host and is a multi-Emmy Award nominee for "The Carol Burnett Show" and "That Was the Week That Was." He has written or produced over 30 major television shows, including "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Cosby Show," "That Girl" and the legendary "Jackie Gleason Show." He received a Peabody Award and was nominated for a Humanitas award for the development of the Shari Lewis and Lambchop program.


"The Road to Oz" is paved with good intentions. This is the fifth Oz book in a series of 15 that L. Frank Baum wrote, and it displays an imagination that leads the reader to believe Mr. Baum could have no room left in his mind for reality.

Just when you think he could come up with no new names for characters, he introduces us to Shaggy-Man, Button-Bright, King Dox a.k.a. King Renard the Fourth, King of the Foxes, Johnny Doit and the beautiful Polychrome, daughter of the Rainbow.

And then we also meet the Winkies, the Quadlings and the Gillikins, all residents of the Kingdom of Oz ruled by the beautiful Princess Ozma.

In this book, Baum fulfills his purposes as stated in his opening note to his readers: "I write only to please the children." This book will please all children and, in my case, a grandfather of three of them.

"The Road to Oz" in our story is taken by accident. Dorothy and her loveable dog, Toto, are walking one afternoon near their farm in Kansas when she meets a stranger, Shaggy Man, who is looking for the road to Butterfield. She offers to show him the way and they quickly get lost. They are joined by little Button-Bright, a young boy who not only has no idea where he is going but has a smaller idea of how to get back to where he came from.

And so they are off in search of Butterfield. After dodging the perils of the City of Beasts, facing the Scoodlers and barely escaping being thrown into the Soup Kettle, they cross the Deadly Desert and head to familiar territory for Dorothy, the Wonderful Land of Oz. There they come upon the birthday party of Princess Ozma, who invites them to join her.

We, the readers, go with them to this most enjoyable, exciting event ever, and how could it not be with Santa Claus presiding and the Wizard of Oz performing?

This is a book you will happily read while moving your lips, as hopefully your children and grandchildren will be listening.

—Saul Turtletaub

Our Moveable Feast

What: A silent auction and dinner fundraiser.

When: March 9, 5:30 p.m.

Where: The Community Library, Ketchum.

Tickets: $100, with $90 tax-deductible.

Available at or at the library.

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