|Saladin Paracelsus de Lambertine Evagne von Smith|
Button-Bright when first encountered by Dorothy, the Shaggy Man, and Toto
|First appearance||The Road to Oz (1909)|
|Created by||L. Frank Baum|
|Title||Adviser to Princess Ozma of Oz|
When Button-Bright first appears in the series in the pages of The Road to Oz, he is a very small boy, possibly only about four years old. He answers most questions with "Don't know." His nickname comes from how his parents think he is "bright as a button". Button-Bright met Dorothy Gale, Shaggy Man, and Polychrome on their journey. His head was temporarily changed into a fox's head by King Dox of Foxville. Upon the group arriving in the Land of Oz, Billina and Tik-Tok took the group to the Truth Ponds so that Button-Bright can regain his head. Afterwards, Button-Bright attended Princess Ozma's birthday party. After one conversation, the Scarecrow hypothesizes that the button they had in mind might have been covered with dull cloth. Following the birthday party, Button-Bright went home in a bubble with Santa Claus.
Baum brought the character of Button-Bright back in his 1912 novel Sky Island, where he encounters Trot and Cap'n Bill for the first time. The boy has become older and more verbal, and greatly attached to his family's Magic Umbrella. He also reveals that he is from Philadelphia, and his real name (or as much as he can remember) is Saladin Paracelsus de Lambertine Evagne von Smith.
In The Scarecrow of Oz (1915), Button-Bright becomes the first American boy on record to emigrate to Oz. He is reunited with Trot and Cap'n Bill en route; and the three of them travel to Oz together.
Thereafter he participates in two Oz adventures, The Lost Princess of Oz (1917) and Glinda of Oz (1920), in which he reveals two more traits: capacious pockets and a talent for getting lost. Many of the characteristics the older Button-Bright took on in Sky Island vanished from the Oz books, Baum apparently assuming from the lower sales that he would be too unfamiliar to most of his readers if he had changed that much. However, Baum's designated successors largely left his character alone.
His largest subsequent appearance is in Jack Snow's The Magical Mimics in Oz. Eric Shanower typically depicts him in contemporary clothing in his graphic novels, but he has not had a major role in them and may not be recognizable to all readers. Paul Dana's The Law of Oz contains a trilogy of stories dealing with Button-Bright and Ojo, who together discover the ancient history of Oz and the true origin of Button-Bright.
When he is first discovered as a child, Button-Bright was depicted wearing a sailor suit. Later, illustrator John R. Neill dressed him in a knickerbocker suit and other fashionable boys' clothing of the early twentieth century. In Philadelphia he has a large house and a governess, indicating that (unlike Dorothy Gale) he comes from a wealthy American family. Both his father and his Uncle Bob are mentioned, and/or appear in "Sky Island", (it is somewhat implied that Uncle Bob is Button-Bright's father's brother).
Button Bright is also the title of a novel by Michael Kurland in which Button is an 11-year-old girl who is in hiding from an unknown stalker who has just killed her father and is trying to kill her.
- Jack Snow, Who's Who in Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1954; New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1988; p. 28.