A contemporary fairytale in a unique American setting, with an engaging story that triggered people’s fantasy, no surprise that it became a widely popular book, while screen adaptation is considered as the most influential film of all time.
Part of its success is its adorable and relatable characters, from the “Tin Man,” to the “Scarecrow,” “Cowardly Lion,” and the sensible and confident female protagonist “Dorothy,” which all become icons and integrated into pop culture.
Yet, we cannot forget about the other personas in the narrative. Many of them were animals that pushed people’s imagination and made the story more gripping and entertaining. In this article, let’s focus on these animal characters throughout the whole book series and how they added color to the Land of Oz!
Eureka appears in the fifth installment of Oz. She is a gorgeous female stray kitten prior to being found by Uncle Henry, who then gave her the name “Eureka.” Dorothy received the kitten from her uncle, became her pet, and carried Eureka in a small cage on her train trip to San Francisco.
However, as she travels to Hugson farm, an earthquake struck, creating an opening on the ground, bringing her, Zeb (her distant cousin), and Jim (his horse), and Eureka to the Land of Mangaboos, inhabited by human vegetables. From there, Eureka, whom Dorothy deemed to be white, appeared in pink, purple, and other colors under the cavern’s odd lighting. Thus, Eureka was then called the “Pink Kitten” or “Purple Kitten.”
You might have noticed that most lead characters often have their furry sidekick. Dorothy has her own named Toto, his beloved dog, and loyal and loving companion. Toto’s appearance in the iconic 1939 film easily catapulted him to popularity, listing him as one of the most famous canine characters in film history.
Hank is a thin, tiny, frowny-faced mule, who first appeared on “Tik-tok of Oz,” the eighth book of Oz. He became the friend and pet of the little country girl, Betsy Bobbin. Serving as a loyal friend to Besty, Hank became her trustworthy companion on her peculiar journey to Oz. After their adventures, the two remained in the magical Land of Oz, where Hank first learned to speak.
A huge yellow leopard, Gugu is the wise and responsible ruler of the Forest of Gugu, situated in Gillikin. By his side serves three councilors, Bru the Bear, Rango the Ape, and Loo the Unicorn. In a hapless event involving Ruggedo and Kiki Aru, Gugu was transformed into a fat woman, though was brought back to her original form after two were defeated.
A white rabbit hailing from Bunnybury, Bristle is the Keeper of the Wicket and serves as the doorman of the village. Only those with a letter or order from Glinda the Good or Ozma of Oz will pass through him. Once visitors are able to provide them, Bristle shrinks them the same size of a rabbit prior to entering their village.
As his name suggests, the gaudy Lonesome Duck is the only duck in the entire Land of Oz. The character first appeared swimming elegantly and swiftly towards Trot and Cap’n Bill, who became trapped in Gillikin Country’s Magic Isle. While the Lonesome Duck wasn’t able to free the little girl and ex-sailor companion, he was able to appease the situation by using his conjuring magic, until the rescuers arrive to finally get Trot and Cap’n Bill.
The Cowardly Lion
The Cowardly Lion is a talking lion who is asking for courage from the Wizard of Oz, but was able to demonstrate his innate braveness in many instances in the novel and movie. He was one of Dorothy’s first companions, along with the Scarecrow and the Tin Man. In the end, he became the king in one of the dark forests in Quadline Country and ruled over the animals.
Foolish Owl and the Wise Donkey
The Foolish Owl and the Wise Donkey are both public advisers living in the Munchkin Country. The former usually speak nonsensical poetry, while the latter was initially not smart, but after being confined in a school and consuming all textbooks have acquired all information and became pretty intelligent.
The Hungry Tiger
The Hungry Tiger is an enormous Bengal tiger, even deemed to be the most massive in the Land of Oz. No wonder that he also has a big appetite and never satiated regardless of how much food he consumes. Adding to that, he also craves a fat baby. Fortunately, he has a good conscience, which prevents him from doing so. He only said he is finally full at the end of the third book, “Ozma of Oz.”
Bungle is a cat made of glass. She is transparent, allowing others to see right through her, and making her pink brain, ruby heart, and large, vivid green emerald eyes visible. Typically regarded as uncooperative and distant, Bungle helped Patchwork Girl and Ojo search for the antidote and also guided Tro and Cap’n Bill’s rescuers in the Magic Isle.
Kalidahs are beasts with a tiger head, the body of a bear, and long, sharp claws, who caused fear to many creatures in Oz. They normally stay in the dark forest, and two of them attack Dorothy and her friends as they pass through the area. The Cowardly Lion roared loudly, which led the Kalidahs to make a sudden stop only to chase them after realizing they were more massive than the Cowardly Lion. Luckily, the group fended them off when the Tin Man cut off a felled tree after they crossed, sending the Kalidahs to their presumed demise.
Queen of the Field Mice
The Queen of the Field Mice, named Marie, is a gray mouse with a French accent. She was on the brink of being killed by a vicious cat, but thanks to the heroics of Scarecrow and the Tin Man, she was saved from death. The Queen showed her gratitude by commanding her subjects to help carry the sleeping Cowardly Lion outside the dangerous poppy field. Later on, she shared vital information to Dorothy Gale on how to summon the winged monkeys through the Golden cap.
The Winged Monkey or Flying Monkeys are jungle monkeys inhabiting the Land of Oz who possessed bird-like feathered wings. Since their appearance in the timeless 1939 film, these fictional animal characters have been quite popular, often linked to caustic or comical incidents that evoked fear or evil.
First appearing in the “The Lost Princess of Oz,” the Frogman is viewed by the Yips as the most educated resident in their region. However, the human-sized frog wasn’t actually intelligent, and only knows how to dress and act like one. However, he was forced to talk only about the truth after inadvertently bathing in the Truth Pond.
That’s the rundown of the animal characters that graced the Land of Oz. Who’s your favorite of them all?