The Shaggy Man, a pleasant and philosophical hobo person, happens by Dorothy's farm in Kansas, and after a friendly conversation she and Toto find they are lost. So they go wandering with their new acquaintance and encounter various old friends, make new ones (notably Button-Bright, the little boy in the sailor suit, and Polychrome, the lovely Rainbow's Daughter) and experience new curiosities on their way back to Oz in time for Ozma's birthday party. (This time Dorothy crosses the deadly desert into Oz in a sand-boat quickly built by contractor Johnny Dooit, who is summoned instantly by the Shaggy Man.) The fifth Baum story of Oz (1909) proves to be even weaker than its predecessor, because apart from a couple misadventures (the Shaggy Man gets temporarily stuck with a donkey head and Button-Bright a fox head), and only one brief, delicious threat (the Scoodlers, who have a black side and a white side and can show and walk in either direction, are able to toss their heads at our heroes as weapons, and intend to cook them for soup!), it's mostly old home week: not only reuniting with a range of characters from the earlier four books (from the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow to Tik-Tok and Billina), but meeting a variety of characters from Baum's other recent books, such as Queen Zixi of Ix, the Queen and Candy Man of Merryland, King Dough the First (a gingerbread monarch), and even Santa Claus.
This report prepared by David Loftus