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The Master Key

L. Frank Baum

Book Overview: 

The Master Key was one of Baum’s earliest full length fantasy books for children just one year after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The protagonist, Rob, while experimenting in his workshop, accidentally summons up an electrical fairy who presents him with electrical devices so advanced as to seem magical. His gifts include a flying contraption, a stun gun, and something resembling an omniscient portable TV set. Rob travels the world, rendering assistance to European heads of state and narrowly escaping disaster at the hands of “primitive” cannibals, Turks and Tatars, pirates, and evil scientists who try to steal his inventions. It’s great fun, despite the occasional use of racial stereotypes that reflect the values of its time.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . walked upon the soft grass of the plateau he felt elated, and compared himself to the explorers of ancient days; for it was evident that civilization had not yet reached this delightful spot.

There was scarcely any twilight in this tropical climate and it grew dark quickly. Within a few minutes the entire island, save where he stood, became dim and indistinct. He ate his daily tablet, and after watching the red glow fade in the western sky and the gray shadows of night settle around him he stretched himself comfortably upon the grass and went to sleep.

The events of the day must have deepened his slumber, for when he awoke the sun was shining almost directly over him, showing that the day was well advanced. He stood up, rubbed the sleep from his eyes and decided he would like a drink of water. From where he stood he could see several little brooks following winding paths through the forest, so he settled upon one that seemed farthest from th. . . Read More

Community Reviews

An interesting story by the author of the Oz books. Similar to the Oz books, this story features a child/youth protagonist, and much of the plot centers around him having various disconnected adventures while traveling. There's also a strong moral message at the end.

The most fascinating part of the

This is not one of L. Frank Baum’s best known works, and it probably should not be compared to the Wizard of Oz. Yet it is well worth the read, even if it is just to see what a great thinker predicted, in 1901, would be the most important electrical inventions of the following century. If you’re wan

L. Frank Baum is most famous for "The Wizard of Oz" series. It made him the first successful American author of children books. He didn't stop there--he wrote over forty other novels. He wrote this on in 1901, which is one year after the first Oz book was published. A boy named Rob is fascinated wit

eponymous sentence:
p11: "Because you have touched the Master Key of Electricity, and I must obey the laws of nature that compel me to respond to your summons."

p80: The man seemed to understand, by he would not let the glittering instrument out of his possession.

p91: Thereupon he descended un

ENGLISH: Although the boy who is protagonist of this fantastic novel learns quite a lot during his adventures, and to a certain extent matures and makes the correct decision at the end of the book, I must admit that at no time I found him especially nice or felt identified with him.

The demon of elec

This was surprisingly good. Baum has the Oz books, but not all of his other works (or even some of the Oz books) are winners, so glad to find another of the good ones. The only unfortunate part of the book is that it reflects the stereotyping and colonialism of the time (the island of the cannibals)

It was fun reading this book. Takes you back to elementary grade level. It's a kid adventure, nice to read a fiction that makes you feel like a little kid again. Made me look back to memories in third grade. The class room had one book shelf 4 feet tall with around 100 paper back books to select fro

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