From the diary: “March 16, 1981
“I started reading The Royal Book of Oz today.”
The Royal Book of Oz is the first non-Baum Oz book. The publishers recruited Ruth Plumly Thompson, a newspaper writer, to produce new Oz books. She turned out an Oz book a year for nineteen years. In Royal Book the Scarecrow returns to his “family tree,” the stick in the cornfield from which Dorothy helped him down in The Wizard of Oz. The Scarecrow wants to know how he came to be alive. Other non-meat creatures have origin stories – the Tin Woodman was a meat person but a wicked witch enchanted his ax causing it to cut off parts of his body, the missing parts were replaced with tin until the woodman was entirely tin; the Patchwork Girl was a dummy sewn out of a patchwork quilt until the Powder of Life was sprinkled on her. But the Scarecrow was alive when Dorothy met him and new Oz historian Thompson decided to provide an explanation. It seems the Scarecrow is the reincarnation of Chang Wang Woe of the Silver Islands which lie deep beneath the land of Oz, Chang’s spirit having fled up the pole to animate the Scarecrow.
It still strikes me as an odd idea. The Scarecrow is a pseudo-Chinese emperor?
The Royal Book of Oz is the last book mentioned in the diary, 1/1/81 thru 4/14/81.