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About “A Rhyming Dictionary”:

As a kid I really loved the Oz books. We had lots of really old editions in my house that my father had read as a child. A little known fact is that there are actually 40 Oz books, L Frank Baum wrote the first 14, and the rest were written by other authors after he died.
My favorite character was the Leopard with the Changing Spots from The Hidden Valley of Oz, by Rachel Cogrove. Hidden Valley has some characters that are the same as in the film and some additions. While keeping the story as brief as possible I’ll tell you a little about why I fell in love with the Rhyming Dictionary…

Jam, a boy from Ohio, builds a collapsible kite and uses it to fly to Oz with his two guinea pigs, Pinny and Gig, and a pet rat named Percy (who grows to giant proportions after eating the magic mushrooms). Once in Oz, Jam realizes that his pets can talk. He lands in the Hidden Valley and becomes a prisoner, but they escape and set out on an adventure, joined by the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman. Their mission is to cut down a magic muffin tree. But before they can do that, they come across a Leopard.

“The beast did not sound unfriendly, so the Tin Woodman said, “Why were the other animals making war upon you? What had you done to them to incur their wrath?”
“Nothing, Tin Man,” asserted the Leopard. “The other animals hated and distrusted me because I could change my spots, which no other leopard can do. So, because I was different, they have driven me from my home and threatened to tear me to bits if I ever return.”
All the while he spoke, the Leopard’s spots were changing, from pink diamonds, to violet hearts, to spinning pinwheels; and so on and on.

“We don’t hate you,” Dorothy said stoutly. “I think you’re nice.”
“You do!” cried the Leopard with the Changing Spots.
“’Course not. You’re the most spectacular Leopard I’ve ever seen, and I think it’s fun that you’re different.”

‘Spots’ joins them on their adventure and they soon come to a place called “Bookville” where are the books are alive. The king of Bookville, who is called The Book of Royalty, decides that Jam and his motley group are 'misshapen.' He puts them on trial and has them sentenced to be made into books. But before the sentence can be carried out, a court jester called The Rhyming Dictionary steps in to argue in their defense

“A Man of Tin who’s tall and thin—
A Scarecrow bright and brainy—
A lass, a ladd—and lem me add
Some other miscellany;
Three kinds of cat—a king-size rat—
So long a list may weary us.
Thus, let me say, be on your way
Before our fun turns serious.”

Percy gnaws a hole in the wall and convinces the Rhyming Dictionary to help them escape.
“Tee hee! Tee Hee! A form I see
That has escaped from jail
He’d best watch out, or I’ve no doubt
They’ll catch him by the tail!”
“The Rhyming Dictionary!” gasped Percy. “What are you doing here?”
“Be quiet, chum, or you’ll be glum—
The guard will surely hear you;
Just take it slow and whisper low,
For I am standing near you.”

They escape from Bookville and the party sets off again to destroy the magic muffin tree.

The jester and Spots are not the main characters in Hidden Valley, but they are the ones I remember most vividly. But what do they have to do with polish?

The Leopard with the Changing Spots would have been the most obvious metaphor for changing colors and polish in general but as a self confessed nerd, it was always the dweeby, semi-bookish jester that I identified with. And hence, a brand is born ☺…