There is a character that boldly defies gender norms in Ozma of Oz. But it’s not the boy who turned into a princess at the end of the last book. Instead, it’s a talking hen. Go figure. 

This hen goes by the name Bill. Dorothy decides to call her Billina because “the ‘eena’ makes it a girl’s name,” but the hen still prefers to call herself Bill. Bill likes to get into fights with roosters, but she also likes to lay an egg every day. 

Sweden recently added a gender-neutral pronoun to its language, and that new word is “hen.” Coincidence?

Return to Oz is based on the second and third Oz books: “The Marvelous Land of Oz” and “Ozma of Oz”. Elements from the former include the introduction of Jack Pumpkinhead, the witch Mombi and her powder of life, the conquest of the Emerald City, the escape by flying sofa, and the search for Princess Ozma. From the latter comes the return of Dorothy, the talking chicken Billina, the wheelers, the discovery of Tick-Tock, a princess with interchangeable heads, the introduction of the Nome King, and the ornament room.