Happy (Belated) Birthday, L. Frank Baum

L. Frank Baum in 1911

Yesterday was the 157th anniversary of L. Frank Baum's birth.  If you read this blog enough, you know I love my Oz books.  (Silver shoes...)  You can check out my posts about The OZ Museum in Wamego, KS, or this bit about reading the first book to my youngest, or visit my Marvelous Land of Oz pinboard.  But as I did for Lewis Carroll's birthday, I thought I'd put together a little round-up of some of the nicest editions of the Baum Oz books currently in print.

Top Row:  The Annotated Wizard of Oz, illustrated by W.W. Denslow, edited by Michael Patrick Hearn. W.W. Norton, 2000.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, illustrated by Michael Sieben.  Harper Design, 2013.  The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Books of Wonder edition), illustrated by John R. Neill.  HarperCollins, 1995.  (Reproduction of original 1913 edition.)
Middle Row:  The Wizard of Oz (Illustrated Junior Library).  Puffin, 2012.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-Up, art by Robert Sabuda.  Little Simon, 2000.  The Wizard of Oz and Other Wonderful Books of Oz: The Emerald City of Oz and Glinda of Oz (Classics Deluxe Edition), jacket illustration by Rachell Sumpter.  Penguin Classics, 2012.
Bottom Row:  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, illustrated by Robert Ingpen.  Sterling Children's Books, 2011.  Oz: The Complete Collection, Volume 1.  Aladdin, 2013.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Kansas Centennial Edition, illustrated by Michael McCurdy.  University Press of Kansas, 1999.

If you want your own Oz collection in hardcover, with the original illustrations, but can't afford to hunt down the original editions of the books, do check out the beautiful reproduction copies from Books Of Wonder, published by HarperCollins.  The illustrations by W.W. Denslow (first book) and John R. Neill (all subsequent books) look stunning.  We checked each title out from our public library first, except for Rinkitink in Oz, which I had to buy.  (Our library didn't have that one.)   I've been adding a few to my collection ever since.  I'm up to The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Book 7), pictured in the collage.

And a few Oz links:
The Wonderful Wiki of Oz
"Frank Baum, the Man Behind the Curtain" at Smithsonian Magazine
The International Wizard of Oz Club
NPR's Backseat Book Club Reads The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz.info's Enormous Link Page

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  1. I can't believe I have never read any OZ books! I must rectify this situation.

    1. They're fun! Just don't look too hard for consistency. For example, the Wizard's back story changes a bit from the first couple of books on. (The second book in particular makes him rather unlikable.) Baum would change little details here and there in order to move on to another story. He wanted to write other books about other characters and places, but the public only wanted Oz. He wound up incorporating the other stories into the world of Oz. :o)

  2. what a gorgeous post!! beautiful collection you've put together :)

    There is no end to my love for the Oz books, or for the works of L. Frank Baum period. He is the master. He's in the top 5, for me. Out of all the kid books in the world. Maybe even the top 2.

    1. The Oz books are wonderful, aren't they? I need to read some of the non-Oz books now, or some of the Ruth Plumly Thompson books.

  3. Lovely! I wish I had read the OZ books as a child, but was so excited to discover them as read alouds for my kids! Baum was so imaginative. Rachel Sumter's Penguin Threads cover is full of fun and OZ whimsy. I'd never seen the Michael McCurdy woodcut illustration - love that too, even though it's totally on the opposite spectrum of color and emotion (more like the Kansas side of the story)! Fun post - thank you!

    1. I wish I had, too. I started reading them to my oldest before she turned three! She loved for me to tell her stories before bedtime, and I'm not a very good storyteller. I began checking out the Oz books from the library to read at bedtime. We finished when she was 4 1/2. She barely remembers them. We're still working on the first book with my youngest. I think the stories will stick better with her, but we have several other "big kid" books going at bedtime, too. ;o)

  4. You've saved me some time here as I was wanting to buy an Oz book or Oz set and needed to figure out what edition to buy! Great choices here!


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