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Sky Island

L. Frank Baum

Book Overview: 

Sky Island was the second of three titles written by Baum featuring a spunky girl from California, Trot, and her companion, the old sailorman, Cap’n Bill. Baum had hoped to end the Oz series and introduced Trot and Cap’n Bill in The Sea Fairies. In Sky Island, they journey to an island in the sky by means of an enchanted umbrella belonging to Button Bright, a character who first appeared in The Road to Oz. The trio is then captured by the Boolaroo of the Blues, a monarch who is both comical and dangerous, escape to the country of the “Pinks”, and eventually regain the magic umbrella and return back to earth. This is one of Baum’s best fantasy books and contains enough not-so-veiled commentary on race and politics to interest adults as well. However, it (and The Sea Fairies) did not sell as well as the Oz books and Baum resumed writing them. He subsequently brought Trot and Cap’n Bill to Oz into The Scarecrow of Oz.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .in an instant, and standing up he held the umbrella behind him and laughed aloud.

"Now then," said he, "you can't get away until I'm willing to let you go. You are my prisoners."

"I guess not," returned Cap'n Bill, and reaching out one of his long arms, the sailorman suddenly grasped the Boolooroo around his long, thin neck and shook him until his whole body fluttered like a flag. "Drop that umbrel. Drop it!" yelled Cap'n Bill, and the Boolooroo quickly obeyed. The Magic Umbrella fell to the ground, and Button-Bright promptly seized it. Then the sailor let go his hold and the King staggered to a seat, choking and coughing to get his breath back.

"I told you to let things alone," growled Cap'n Bill. "If you don't behave, your Majesty, this Blue Island'll have to get another Boolooroo."

"Why?" asked the Blueskin.

"Because I'll prob'ly spoil you for a king, an' mebbe for anything else. Anyhow, you'll get bad. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A sequel to The Sea Fairies, and a much better story. Baum figured out how to write Trot - she is no longer rude, but still bold, outspoken, and honest. Button Bright shows up as well, and he is far more mature and interesting than in his early Oz appearances. The action packed plot works well, w...more

Baum's work is often cited as the point where children's literature became 'safe' and lacking in genuine peril. He even states that this was his intention in the foreword to 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' (you've probably heard of that one).

I think he must've forgotten about this agenda...more

This was our first foray into Baum's non-Oz books. Sky Island features several characters from the deep Oz backstory, including Trot, Captain Bill, and Button Bright (who didn't feel the same here - I don't think he said "don't know" even once - and also we found out his real name and where he's from,...more

Surprisingly, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ was not L. Frank Baum's favorite of his books; this one--SKY ISLAND--was. He wrote that he expected he would be most remembered for it, not for any of the Oz books.

SKY ISLAND features a villain so fearsome and loathsome that he makes the Wicked...more

I’ll be honest, I didn’t read this one as a kid because Sea Fairies bored me to tears – nothing much happened. Baum oscillates between telling a really compelling story in a fairytale land (usually revolving around getting home) and just regaling readers with a fantastic travelogue that has no po...more

A little bit of Oz without actually being an Oz book. Much better than the first Captain Bill and Trot book.

Sky Island is the second book in Baum's Trot & Cap'n Bill series. The first book is The Sea Fairies, and while I found Sky Island less imaginative than The Sea Fairies, I thought the story was more engaging.
It's not necessary to read the first book in order to understand the second, and if y...more

I enjoy an occasional dip into Baum's fantasy world. I love his world building skills, and his stories charm me when I need a diversion. They champion great virtues like love, faithfulness, and kindness, and this story is no different. I really like Cap'n Bill, and Trot is a lot of fun. Button Br...more

I didn't like this one as much as others many because I don't really care for Button-Bright. Polychrome is in this and I liked that part of it.

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