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The Cowardly Lion of Oz (1923) is the seventeenth in the series of Oz books created by L. Frank Baum and his successors, and the third written by Ruth Plumly Thompson. It was illustrated by John R. Neill.


In the story, the Cowardly Lion[1] believes that he has depleted the reserve of courage imbued in him by the Wizard (as told in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). Someone soon misdirects the Lion into thinking that he can only replenish his courage by eating a courageous man. Since the Lion dislikes the notion of harming anyone, he resolves to do the deed as quickly as possible, and so embarks on his quest.

Unbeknownst to the Lion, he is being hunted by two would-be hunters: a circus clown named Notta Bit More, and an orphaned boy named Bobby Downs, whom Notta calls Bob Up.[2] Notta accidentally said the magic spell that sent Bob and him to the Munchkin land of Mudge, where the tyrannical and cranky ruler, Mustafa,[3] sends them on their quest: two cowardly lion hunters hunting a Cowardly Lion. The three meet; complications ensue. The adventurers meet bird people on the Skyle ("sky isle") of Un, as well as Nikadoodle, the bird with a telephone beak. They fly about in a Flyaboutabus, and encounter the bottled city of Preservatory. The more usual characters, Dorothy, Glinda, and their compatriots, become involved before a satisfactory conclusion is reached.


  1. Jack Snow, Who's Who in Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1954; New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1988; p. 46.
  2. Who's Who in Oz, pp. 22, 146.
  3. Who's Who in Oz, p. 141.

External links

The Oz books
Previous book:
Kabumpo in Oz
The Cowardly Lion of Oz
Next book:
Grampa in Oz

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