September 13, 2011

Scraps, the Patchwork Girl, drawn by John R. Neill, is prominently featured in Ruth Plumly Thompson’s 1927 Oz book, The Gnome King of Oz. I borrowed Plumly as a name for the Earth girl Bekka meets later in her chronicles because I particularly loved Ruth Plumly Thompson’s Oz books when I was a young fellow. Why? Because Scraps is chosen by the Golden Spool of Succession to be the new Queen of the Quilties when Cross Patch, the old Queen, goes to pieces – extremely small pieces, too. What happens when a Quilty goes to pieces? Relatives or friends ‘…sweep up the scraps and put them away in a tidy scrap-bag and in ten years or so he comes out of the bag as good as ever.’ What does Scraps say when she is abducted and brought to Patch in the hilly Winkie country of Oz? ‘You villain ragman, Take me back, How dare you hurl, Me in a sack?’ Who and what must she encounter to escape the unpleasant task of being Queen of the Quilties and get back to Emerald City? An oztrich, Grumpy bear, a boy from Philadelphia by the name of Peter, the magician Kuma Party, Wumbo, the Wonder Worker, Ruggedo the Gnome King, Tune Town, the Sultan of Suds, Shampoozle, the Scissor Bird and Piecer and Scrapper. Spending a few hours with Ruth Plumly Thompson’s imagination and wit remains a delight.

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