Button-Bright is an American boy appearing in several L. Frank Baum books. His main characteristic is getting lost. Then found. Then lost again. His name comes from his father saying he was "bright as a button", but most of the time he's not as sharp as one could hope.

Button-Bright is first introduced in the Oz book 'The Road to Oz', wearing a sailor's outfit. We learn he's a couple of years younger than Dorothy and from a well-to-do Philidelphian family. During his adventures with Dorothy, a wizard fox finds him so erudite that he transforms the poor boy's head into a fox. Button-Bright is portrayed as very simple, but the Scarecrow finds a good reason for this:

The Scarecrow looked thoughtful.

"Your papa may have been right," he observed; "but there are many kinds of buttons, you see. There are silver and gold buttons, which are highly polished and glitter brightly. There are pearl and rubber buttons, and other kinds, with surfaces more or less bright. But there is still another sort of button which is covered with dull cloth, and that must be the sort your papa meant when he said you were bright as a button. Don't you think so?"

"Don't know," said Button-Bright.


Button-Bright next appears in the Trot and Cap'n Bill book 'Sky Island'. Thankfully, he seems to have gained a little wherewithall and street smarts, having stolen a magical family heirloom with a carved elephant handle that can take him anywhere in the world. He mistakenly takes his two companions to a world in the clouds, and is used as an equal character throughout the book. This time we learn that his real name (at least part of it), is Saladin Paracelsus de Lambertine Evagne von Smith.

He rejoins the duo (by landing in a snowbank of popcorn) in The Scarecrow of Oz. Thereafter, it seems he stays in Oz, becoming great friends with Ojo the (Un)Lucky, the Munchkin boy from The Patchwork Girl of Oz. In The Lost Princess of Oz, he has his best role, for who else is most qualified for finding a lost princess?

Little boys don't quite have the same... vivacity that Baum gives to his young female characters. For the most part they are either cowardly, whiny or stupid, and Button-Bright falls into the last category. Still, Baum gains more admiration for his creation, explaining him as more of a come-what-may person, easygoing in the face of his constant adventures, seldom worried about what will happen to him each time he gets lost, laid-back and frank with the villians and creatures of the fairyland he keeps getting lost in. Button-bright is a true world traveller, turning the corner and getting lost, and letting the adventures happen to him.

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