The King of Kiltoon's new bride has vanished; in reaction, the unhappy ruler bans most of his subjects' pleasures. Sonny Burns, royal poet, sets out in search of something to relieve his ruler's despondency. Toto, meanwhile, has lost his growl, and believes other animals have stolen it from him. He sets off on a quest of his own through the deep forests of the Gillikin Country of Oz.
There he meets Sonny the poet, along with a plaid Hoot Owl, an aristocratic guinea pig, and a little boy and pony who have been magically transported from Kentucky to Oz. The party's course is frustrated by more malign magic, so that they have a challenging puzzle to solve before they can set matters to rights.