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John Dough and the Cherub

L. Frank Baum

Book Overview: 

An evil Arabian sorcerer loans a golden flask full of the Great Elixir - a magic liquid that endows a person with pronounced health, strength, and longevity - to a colorblind baker's wife to stop it falling into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, the woman mixes up the Elixir with her rheumatism medicine, which, through even more misunderstanding, then ends up being used in batch of gingerbread. Out of this dough comes John Dough, a six-foot novelty gingerbread man who promptly comes to life and runs away, in an echo of an old nursery rhyme. Pursued by the evil sorcerer, who wants to eat him to gain the power of immortality, and children, who want to eat him because he's made of cake, John Dough and his sidekick the Cherub flee through a variety of strange fantasy lands and bizarre scenarios, including an encounter with "The King of Fairy Beavers," an animated Wooden Indian, a girl executioner who never gets to kill anybody and weeps over the fact, a two-legged talking horse that bullies its rider, and the youthful and tyrannical "Kinglet" of Phreex. Will John Dough escape those who want him eaten?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .You're done to a turn, and ought to make good eating while you're fresh."

John gazed at her in horror.

"Good eating!" he cried; "woman, would you murder me?"

"I can't say it would be exactly murder," she replied, looking at him hungrily.

"To destroy life is murder?" he said, sternly.

"But to destroy gingerbread isn't," she rejoined. "And I can't see that it's cannibalism to eat a man if he happens to be cake, and fresh baked. And that frosting looks good. Come inside while I get a knife."

[Pg 49]


She opened the gate and tried to grab John Dough by an arm. But he gave a sudden backward [Pg 50]leap and then sped down the street at a furious run, looking neither to right nor left in his eager flight.

Luckily, he was not in the center of the town, but near the outskirts, and the houses were few and scattered.

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Community Reviews

Fun and enjoyable, although not Baum's best. The plot is quite aimless and John Dough is a fairly useless hero; the Cherub is fun, though.

Lots of Fun with a good portion of logical nonsense!

Like Baum's more famous stories, this is a children's fantasy filled with his crazy imagination and although it isn't really a comedy there are glimpses of his wit. However, also like his more famous stories, there isn't that much plot. It's basically just a series of random stuff filled with bizarr

A fun book with a typical Baum plot. Our main characters, John Dough the Gingerbread Man and Chick the Cherub the Incubator Baby, go on adventures, meet many odd and interesting folk, and overcome all obstacles with a mixture of goodheartedness, ingenuity, and pluck. There are plenty of adversaries

Such fun!

This is yet another fun adventure story. Written about a most unusual character and his many adventures. He is mentioned in the OZ books as he comes to visit OZ in the series. This is a sort of history about him.

John Dough is one of Baum's better non-Oz books. The plot is pretty random but the fun, humour and invention are well in evidence and the illustrations are by John R. Neill. There's rather more funny foreigners, type of casual racism than in the Oz books, but at it's best the book is as enjoyable as

A fun if lightweight story, the literary equivalent of a Saturday morning cartoon, John Dough and the Cherub is marred by unfortunate levels of racism, which is disappointing in that L. Frank Baum was often such a progressive author in other aspects. A evil Arabic sorcerer loans a flask of the elixi

Published in 2008 by Hungry Tiger, a press that publishes quality editions of the works of L. Frank Baum, this book brings together L. Frank Baum's original 1906 text and all of John R. Neill's original illustrations with a new 13 page foreword by J. L. Bell, editor of the International Wizard of Oz

A fun read, although with some racist aspects. The pace was fast, the characters were engaging, and it wasn't until the last line that I realized that Chick's gender was never defined, which is pretty clever writing. The three leads appear as guests at Ozma's birthday party in The Road to Oz.