A 15-year-old Ozian boy named Septimius Septentrion has worked at the Ozmapolitan in the Emerald City for all of three weeks. A chance encounter with Dorothy Gale inspires him with a plan to juice up the sleepy newspaper. A trip to investigate and drum up news is planned through the Winkie Country; "Tim" and Dorothy are accompanied by the kitten Eureka and a mifket named Jinx, a printer's devil at the paper.
Unsurprisingly, the excursion does not go as planned. The would-be journalists encounter strange beings and phenomena, including cryptic fortune cookies, a Trade Wind, an Art Colony, and a Game Preserve. They take a long subterranean river journey, during which they tangle with a dragon-like Tyranicus Terrificus and rescue a frozen water spirit named Melody, a cousin of Polychrome. After meeting up with the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman in their boat the Blue Moon, the juvenile reporters return to the capital with abundant fresh material; in the process, Tim discovers his secret royal ancestry.
Baum's publisher Reilly & Britton coined the term "Ozmapolitan" in 1904, for promotional materials generated in connection with Baum's second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz. The firm created advertising in the form of a newspaper of Oz called the Ozmapolitan. It is possible though not certain that Baum wrote some of the early Ozmapolitan press releases. The company used the same tactic in the 1920s to promote some of the books of Ruth Plumly Thompson, and again in the 1960s for other projects, including the McGraws' Merry Go Round in Oz, illustrated by Martin.
The International Wizard of Oz Club also used "Ozmapolitan" as the name of a periodical, edited and illustrated by Martin. Other fan literature has also employed the term.
Martin departs from the practice of Baum, by selecting a teenager as a protagonist rather than a younger child. He does not go as far as a few later writers do (see David Hardenbrook'sThe Unknown Witches of Oz or Charles Phipps's The Umbrella Man of Oz) in making the young man a love interest for the heroine.
Artists and writers
With this book, Martin won a place on the short list of Oz artists who have doubled as authors — a list that includes John R. Neill, Eric Shanower, and William Campbell and Irwin Terry. Notably, these individuals tend to start as artists and expand to writing, rather than the other way around.
- Katharine M. Rogers. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography, New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.