Realizing that his devoted readers liked Oz best of all his creations, Baum willingly and delightedly set about his next volume in the series. In the preface to The Road to Oz, Baum let his audience know that not only Dorothy Gale, but now Toto would be returning to Oz, along with an assortment of new characters with whom he declared himself pleased. He also let it be known that another book would certainly follow the current one, and that it would contain news of great moment.
The tale opened with a shaggy man (which means a hobo) stopping by Uncle Henry’s farm and asking Dorothy the way to Butterfield. As she went to fetch her sun bonnet, he happened to find Toto, whom he put in his pocket. Dorothy led him to the right road, where he declared he didn’t want to go to Butterfield because a man there owed him money and he didn’t want anything to do with the stuff. All he prized was the Love Magnet, a magical horseshoe-shaped item that made everyone love its owner.
Soon Dorothy realized that there were many more roads than she was used to seeing at this intersection, and as Toto finally made his presence known to his little mistress, the Shaggy Man suggested they take the seventh road, which brought them to a green and pleasant land where they met a young and rather dense boy called Button-Bright.
They soon found themselves in the town of Foxville, inhabited by civilized foxes whose ruler was King Dox. Affected by the Love Magnet, Dox and his subjects wished no harm to the Shaggy Man. Further, Dox knew of Dorothy and asked her if she could get a message to Ozma, for he wished to attend her birthday party on the twenty-first of the month.
Dox also came under the impression that the vague statements of Button-Bright (his catchphrase was, “Don’t know.”) hid a deep and fox-like wisdom. In honor of this, Dox transformed Button-Bright’s head into that of a fox.
After a night and a day of splendid hospitality, the travelers went on their way with a warning from the captain of the guard to beware of the inhabitants of the next town.
Resuming their journey, now with a purpose, Our Friends happened upon a beautiful little girl who was dancing gracefully, yet crying at the same time. She introduced herself as Polychrome, Daughter of the Rainbow, and said that she had fallen off of her father’s arc and was now stranded on the ground. Dorothy told her that Ozma could help, so “Polly” joined the group.
The next town was Dunkiton, in which lived civilized donkeys whose ruler was King Kik-a-bray. This monarch was so impressed with the Shaggy Man’s eloquence (all the donkeys fancied themselves intellectuals) that he magically bestowed a donkey’s head on him. The Shaggy Man objected loudly, and Kik-a-bray said the only cure was the Truth Pond, which could be found…
In the Land of Oz.