Next week, the U.S. will be observing Thanksgiving. This is why weekly memes, like the I Heart Characters! Meme I’m participating in today, are using a theme of thankfulness.
I’m thankful for Billina from Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Ozma of Oz is the third book in the Oz series. Billina is a hen who was washed away in a storm with Dorothy, and they both landed in the Land of Ev, where Billina suddenly gained the ability to speak English. Where does her name come from? Dorothy can’t handle that the hen was named Bill before anyone knew her gender, so she dubs Bill “Billina.”
Once they’re in the Land of Ev, adventure awaits, and this is where Billina shines. I’m thankful for this sparky hen because…
She is a sassy, talking chicken.
You don’t meet a talking chicken every day. Besides that novelty, she is sassy. I love her quips and her wit.
She’s a fighter!
Dorothy exclaimed about how beat up Billina was after the hen was thrown in a chicken coop. This is what happens:
“That’s nothing,” said Billina. “Just look at the speckled rooster! Didn’t I do him up brown?” (112)
When Dorothy starts scolding Billina for fighting with a rooster and saying Billina shouldn’t “‘sociate with those common chickens” (112), Billina replies,
“I didn’t ask to associate with them,” . . . . “It is that cross old Princess who is to blame. But I was raised in the United States, and I won’t allow any one-horse chicken of the Land of Ev to run over me and put on airs, as long as I can lift a claw in self-defense. (112)
She doesn’t put up with being trampled over. I want her on my side in a fight.
Her eggs are poisonous to Nomes.
The Nome King is the primary villain of this novel. We find out that eggs are poisonous to Nomes, so I love that her eggs become valuable weapons in the book. Look at this illustration from page 197 of the novel.
The Nome King’s reaction to the egg is perfect. Who would think they would save your life in the underground lair of a magical creature?
She saves everyone’s lives.
The reason everyone is in the Nome King’s realm is that they are trying to rescue and return the royal family of Ev to their home. The evil Nome King set every member of the search party, including Dorothy and Ozma, to solving a trick game where they have to identify the right people in a room of trinkets and ornaments.
Billina grew tired of waiting and had to lay an egg anyway, so she hid underneath the throne of the Nome King. Everyone forgot about her disappearance, which allowed her to overhear the secret of identifying the objects in the room. She’s the last one to walk through, so she frees everyone in the allotted time.
These are the reasons that I’m thankful for Billina, the talking hen of Oz. If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have any more adventures with Dorothy or all of her other friends of Oz. Which character are you thankful for?
The I Heart Characters! Meme is hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer. This was started for book bloggers to share their love of characters. If you would like to know the upcoming prompts, follow the link to her blog.