It took us months to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It took much less time to finish The Marvelous Land of Oz, and finish it we did. And so now we are on to Ozma of Oz. Ozma is now a main character, and Dorothy Gale has returned to the fairy countries. The two girls meet. And now the series really kicks into gear.
I'm having so much fun revisiting the books. Big Sis was too little the first time we read them together. She just needed words to lull her to sleep. Any memories she has are from the last few books. Now, she and her sister are older and can appreciate the series.
This is the first book in which John R. Neill illustrated Dorothy. Gone are Dorothy's long brown braids, as depicted by W.W. Denslow in the first book. Dorothy is blonde from here on out, folks! Her dress is less country, more Mary Pickford. (Baum refers to her gingham dress in the text, but Neill chose to ignore it.)
I love Neill's illustrations. Denslow's were very distinctive, and they are what most people think of when they think of Oz in book form. Neill's are so beautiful, though, and it is he who became The Royal Illustrator of Oz.
Our edition is the facsimile edition from Books of Wonder again. Not as beautiful as an original cloth edition, but the best edition you can buy new today.
|Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by John R. Neill.|
Originally published by Reilly & Britton, 1907.
Books Of Wonder edition published by HarperCollins, 1989.
|Oh, the endpapers!!!|
I'm collecting the facsimile editions a few at a time. I'm halfway there! (Perhaps someday I'll have some antique editions to add to my Oz collection.) The first time I read the series, I found all but one copy of the Books Of Wonder editions through my local library, but Oz is very special to us. I want my own set to pass down. I love that we are reading these together, and I hope the girls want to revisit them by themselves when they are older.
We are several chapters into the book. Dorothy has been washed away at sea in a chicken coop. In the morning, she realizes she is not alone, for a yellow hen is in the coop with her. And the hen can talk! She and Billina wash up on shore in another fairy country, The Land of Ev, where they encounter the blustery Wheelers, find a mechanical man (Tik-Tok), and are locked away in a tower by Princess Landwidere, she of the many heads. (A-hem.) But soon, some familiar faces arrive, traveling upon a magical red carpet over the Deadly Desert. (And the Cowardly Lion is back! He was missing from the second book, as well.)
We meet The Hungry Tiger, who is hungry because all he wants to eat in the world are fat babies, and it's wrong to eat little human babies. (Thus, the hunger.) Later, we'll meet the Nome King, a frequent foe to the denizens of Oz.
Reading Oz: One of my favorite things.
By the way, I will be on vacation the first week of August. I'm trying to schedule some stuff to run during that week, but I thought I'd put out a call for any guest posts, as well! Of course I love to spotlight books and reading, but I'm open to posts about crafts, movies, food, toys, vintage, and photography, as well. Just message me with an idea if you're interested! silvershoesandrabbitholes [at] gmail [dot] com.