August 2, 2015


Following the death of L. Frank Baum, Ruth Plumly Thompson was asked by the publishers of the Oz books to continue the series with new stories. She accepted the honor of becoming the 2nd Royal Historian of Oz by producing one Oz book each year through the 1920s and 1930s. My own particular favorite of hers, The Gnome King of Oz, was the Oz book for 1927. It boasts an impressive mound of humor, wordplay and imagination. For instance, the Quilties of Patch make quilts, and their Queen, Cross Patch the 6th, falls to pieces one day. This, however, is no cause for alarm, because, as Ruth explains:

When a Quilty goes to pieces, his 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.

Ruth loved adverbs and peppered and salted her prose with them. Some examples:

Giant fish wallowed desperately…

‘Blunderoo!’ breathed Peter softly.

‘Come on! Come on!’ wheezed the old Gnome King frantically.

…a golden haired mermaid plunged boldly from the window of a coral castle…

mumbled dizzily – scowling terribly – brushed rudely – nodded gloomily – yawning tremendously – answered saucily – and so on and so forth and 5th and 6th and 7th.

Why did she love adverbs so much? She couldn’t help it. After all, her middle name was Plumly.

And so, in honor of Ruth Plumly Thompson, 2nd Royal Historian of Oz, I am pleased to announce that the character narrating my next new story is to be called Plumly.

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