Grab your ruby slippers and your best gingham dress, because "Oz the Great and Powerful" comes out this weekend. This film tells the story of how the famed "Wizard of Oz" came to be before Dorothy crashed his party. Many don't know that the world of Oz extends far beyond the classic Judy Garland film. This new feature is just a peek into another part of the land of Oz's history, while the extensive series of books covers the rest. Regardless of how you approach Oz, you will find it is a land filled with unusual places and even stranger animals. Read on to see what creatures populate the wonderful world of Oz. You are sure to find some familiar faces and perhaps a few new ones.
TOTO THE DOG
This loyal companion appeared as Dorothy's sidekick in the first Oz book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," and in the 1939 film. The Cairn Terrier quickly won over fans with his adorable face and fighting spirit. He appears aside Dorothy in many of the Oz books, lending a paw toward her heroic work. Toto eventually develops the ability to talk in later Oz novels, and even becomes the main character of a few tales.
These pesky henchmen have a more detailed history than the "Wizard of Oz" film shows. In the books, the monkey don't only fly, but talk as well. Originally, the animals were a free and mischievous race that were forced into servitude by a spell after angering the wrong person. The spell stated that the monkeys be controlled by a Golden Cap that allowed the owner to ask three favors of the flying animals. At one point, the cap falls into the hand of the Wicked Witch of the West, who uses the creatures to capture Dorothy. In the end, good ol' Glinda gets a hold of the cap and gives it back to the monkeys so they can free themselves.
THE COWARDLY LION
The last of Dorothy's companions to join her jolly troop in the "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," the Cowardly Lion is actually known for his acts of bravery. Through the group's journey, the lion consistently risks his life to protect the others. But since the lion has fears, he doesn't see himself as the courageous "King of the Jungle" he is supposed to be. Unlike some of the other characters you may know, the Cowardly Lion doesn't change too much in the rest of the Oz saga. He is never fully convinced that he is courageous, even though courage means facing one's fears.
This rather dapper frog is named Frederick Fraukx, better known as the Frogman. He started off as a normal amphibian, but as he spent more time in Oz, he attained more human qualities. Eventually, the character becomes a frog the size of a man, who can talk, is well-educated and has a fascination with men's fashion. His first appearance is in the book "The Lost Princess of Oz."
THE WISE DONKEY
This scholarly mule claims that he wandered into Oz the day it separated from the rest of Earth, and became stuck in the magical land. He started his journey as a regular donkey, but as he ate books, he became wiser, consuming their knowledge and eventually becoming an aide to the king. The Wise Donkey is often sought after for information, but is also known for being quite selfish.
These Oz inhabitants are described as animals with a bear's body and a tiger's head. In the book version of a "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," the Kalidahs attack the quartet and are fought off by the Cowardly Lion. The Kalidahs are a menace throughout the rest of the Oz stories, especially since the hybrids are immortal.
Billina is the chicken version of Toto. The spunky bird with plenty of bravado becomes Dorothy's animal aide in later books, after the two are tossed off a boat together. Billina is known for being talkative and protective. The hen, who is modeled after a Hamburg chicken, also has her moment as hero, defeating the Nome King on her own to save all of Oz.
THE GLASS CAT
Wanting to show his prowess, one of Oz's magicians turned a glass cat into a living creature to help his wife catch mice. Unfortunately for him, the cat turned out to act like a typical feline, and had no interest in doing what it was told. Because of the failure, the wife chose to name the clear cat Bungle. Bungle is known for being aloof, vain and totally transparent -- except for her eyes, heart and brain. The kitty turns out to be helpful from time to time, thanks to her extensive knowledge of Oz gained from wandering the land.
KABUMPO THE ELEGANT ELEPHANT OF PUMPERDINK
Kabumpo is equipped with the built-in wisdom of most elephants. The grand mammal was given to one of Oz's kings as a gift and is often looked to for advice over the ruler. Occasionally, Kabumpo's assurance in his own opinions can lead people astray, but the animal is always willing to learn from his mistakes and never forgets his wrongs.
THE HUNGRY TIGER
Not surprisingly, the Hungry Tiger and the Cowardly Lion are buddies. They serve as bodyguards together for Ozma. The Hungry Tiger is described as being large, ferocious and constantly hungry. At one point in his Oz journeys, the great beast is given the job of prison guard and is allowed to eat prisoners as punishment. Even though he is always starving, the Hungry Tiger cannot bring himself to eat the human meal.
Next: Animals of the Hunger Games
Chiss is a creation of Oz, but is said to be similar to a porcupine. When threatened, Chiss will shoot out his quills for protection. The defensive maneuver often works, but unfortunately, Chiss's quills do not grow back. To keep his ammo intact, Chiss must pick up all the discharged quills and put them back.
Guide to the Animals of Ozhollywiskers
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