|The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by John R. Neill.|
First published by Reilly & Britton, 1909.
Books Of Wonder edition published by HarperCollins, 1991.
While this is one of my favorite Oz books in terms of story, it is the most disappointing when it comes to illustrations. Instead of the gorgeous full-color illustrations, this book was printed on multi-colored paper, and the illustrations by John R. Neill are pen-and-ink only. The detail is beautiful, but I miss the color.
Dorothy and Toto are at the farm in Kansas, when they are approached by the Shaggy Man, asking for directions to Butterfield. (By the way, there is no town called Butterfield in Kansas. There is a Butterfield Trail, though!) Dorothy starts to walk with him a bit, in order to show him the road, but suddenly, the one road becomes many new roads! Fairy magic! As the threesome walk along their chosen road, they encounter a lost little boy named Button Bright, whose stock phrase is "Don't know," and a beautiful girl in colorful, flowing robes named Polychrome, the Rainbow's Daughter. There are visits to a town ruled by foxes and another ruled by donkeys. There are unwanted transformations and a close call with some head-throwing creatures called Scoodlers, who want to cook the group into soup. There is a helpful visit from a chap called Johnny Dooit, who builds the friends a sand boat to sail across the Deadly Desert. And finally, we have the beautiful birthday party, which ends with everyone being carried home in giant bubbles.
Tomorrow, I'll have some more Road to Oz to share with you! Until then, here is another Oz oddity for you today! In 1960, there was an episode of Shirley Temple's Storybook entitled "The Land of Oz." The cast list is impressive: Agnes Moorehead, Jonathan Winters, Sterling Hollaway, Arthur Treacher, the voice of Mel Blanc, and Temple herself as Ozma.