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The Lost Boy of Oz

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The Lost Boy of Oz is a modern Oz novel written by Paul Dana. Published in The Law of Oz and Other Stories in 2013, along with its sequel and predecessor, Dana's Time Travelers of Oz, and like that story, was formerly available on The Royal Timeline of Oz website.

Summary

The story begins where the previous book ended. Button-Bright is moping around the Royal Palace of Oz in the Emerald City, missing his absent friend Ojo. After witnessing Trot watch her mother in the Magic Picture, he decides to pay a return visit to his family in Philadelphia. Ozma sends him there with her Magic Belt. His uncle Bob reveals that Button-Bright was a foundling, and not his late parents' biological son.

A generation earlier, Uncle Bob had used the family's Magic Umbrella to travel the world, as his nephew would later do. Bob once told the talisman to take him to the source of the world's strongest magic — and ended up among the Phanfasms of Mount Phantastico. After surviving their abuse, Uncle Bob is sent home with a toddler who had gotten stranded on the mountain. (A storm had blown the child there when he was enchanted into the form of a goose.) That toddler was adopted by Bob's brother and his wife, and grew up to be Button-Bright.

The boy borrows the family umbrella once again, and sets off on a journey to discover his true origins.

His quest leads him to visit Polychrome and her father, the Rainbow, in their skyey environment. From there he lands on a ruined and desolate Mount Phantastico, to confront the last remaining Phanfasm; he learns their strange origins. Next is a visit to a humble, happy family in Ev, and finally a return to Oz. In the Forest of Gugu in the Gillikin Country, he finds his real mother, and endures a difficult initiation before he can absorb and accept the facts of his magical nature.

Background

In this book, Dana provides a thoughtful treatment of a crucial issue in the Oz mythos. Baum and his successors often made their child protagonists orphans, freeing them from family pressures and obligations. In some cases, though, Baum's children abandon living parents to come to live in Oz — a remarkable thing that is passed over without much comment. Trot is one of these children; the scene in the book's first chapter, in which she reveals that she regularly looks in on her mother through the Magic Picture, is striking. Button-Bright is another of these children. Dana makes him an orphan, something that is never specified in Baum's books; but the boy also shows a new, more mature recognition of family connection and obligation.

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