October Preview

Thirty days hath September...  and they are almost over!  Tuesday is October 1, and I can't wait for October.  I will be deep into fall fun, and I plan on dragging this blog and whoever wants to come along with me!  As you can see, we've started preparing the porch...

And the mums were an anniversary present from my wonderful husband last weekend.  He knows what I like.

And I've even started a bit on the dining area...

So what do I have planned for Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes?

  • Reviews of a few books, either new ones or ones we haven't read yet.  Some are Halloween-themed, some with a ghostly edge.
  • A look back at a few books or entertainments from my own childhood past.
  • A look at some of the most frightening childhood tales of all:  Fairy tales!  Grimm's Grimmest, or Scary Tales.  (Still working on a good title for that feature.)
  • Weird phobias!  Posts about pediophobia (the fear of dolls) or coulrophobia (the fear of clowns).  I'm not afraid of this stuff, but I know so many who are!
  • Sharing some special fall or Halloween activities our own family will be enjoying:  Trips to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, a historic home tour, a planned venture to the Oklahoma City Zoo, leaf gathering at my favorite local cemetery, pumpkin soup making, crafting...

And so, my dear readers, until then, Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

The Last "Big" Oz Anniversary

Yep, I'm going to talk about Oz stuff again.  We're still deep in the Baum books - Book 6, The Emerald City of Oz, to be exact - and around us, there are celebrations surrounding the MGM film, which turns 75 this year.  This week only, you can see it in 3D at IMAX theaters (no, I won't make it), and a fancy new Blu-Ray/Blu-Ray 3D/DVD collector's edition boxed set will be released on October 1.  I saw the newly-restored film when it was re-released in theaters for its 60th anniversary in 1999, and I remember the hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary ten years before that.

I want to go back to 2000, though, my first year as a bookseller.  While it didn't receive as much attention as the milestone anniversaries of the movie, that was the year that the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, turned 100 years old.

I remember a few notable books in the store, as we geared up for the holidays.  I was a fan of the movie from as far back as I could remember, but I hadn't read the books yet.  Now a big fan of the books, I happened to come across a couple more Oz-related titles released for the centennial anniversary at the library recently, and thought they were worth sharing.

100 Years of Oz: A Century of Classic Images
from The Wizard of Oz Collection of Willard Carroll by John Fricke.  Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1999.

100 Years of Oz is a look at Oz memorabilia by decade, beginning in 1900.  Screenwriter Willard Carroll is acknowledged as having the largest private Oz collection in the world.  Many of the items I recognized from our spring trip to The Oz Museum:  different editions of the books, posters and sheet music from the first stage musical, soaps, peanut butter tins, cottage cheese glasses, merchandise related to all the different film and TV incarnations.  However, this collection is even more extensive, and while it isn't the same as seeing the stuff in person, it is pretty cool to read about.

[Confession time:  If I were an extremely wealthy person with lots of room, I would probably be an Oz hoarder collector, too.  It could compete with my Alice collection, and my crazy collection of rare fairy tale books.  Oh, and my trolls.]

Oz, The Hundredth Anniversary Celebration: Thirty Favorite Artists and Writers Celebrate One Hundred Years of Oz.  Edited by Peter Glassman, Books of Wonder.  HarperCollins, 2000.

As regular readers know, I collect the Books of Wonder facsimile editions of the Baum Oz books, published by HarperCollins.  Peter Glassman and Books of Wonder also oversaw this beautiful project.  Among the authors and illustrators providing memories and interpretations of Oz and its characters are Maurice Sendak (the cover), Tomie dePaola, Jerry Pinkney, Paul O. Zelinsky, William Joyce, Robin McKinley, Leo and Diane Dillon, Madeleine L'Engle, Kinuko Y. Craft, Natalie Babbitt, and Eric Carle.  And that's just an abbreviated list.  There are many very prestigious Oz fans featured in this book!

The first book is out of print, but there are many used copies floating around.  The second book is also readily available.  Of course, you can always check the library!

The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls

The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls by Elise Primavera.
HarperCollins, 2006.

Oh, I have a treat for you today!  Have any of your heard of this book?  I'm shocked to say, I had not.  It's an Oz-inspired modern day fantasy, written by the author/illustrator of the Auntie Claus picture books!  And it's been out since 2006!  How did I miss this?  I think I may have been buried deep in magazines at the bookstore at that time.

The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls was such a fun read.  I will be happy to hand it over to Big Sis when she's ready -next year, perhaps?  Four girls live on Gumm Street in the dreamy town of Sherbet.  [Fun fact:  Judy Garland's birth name was Frances Gumm!]  Three of the girls have already established their dislike for each other.   Cat is smart, can play the piano perfectly, and she can turn a perfect cartwheel.  (Oh - she also has a touch of ESP.)  She lives in a series of rooms built in a huge historic tree!  Pru is also very smart.  She plays the piano, although she has to work harder than Cat.  She is a bookish worrywart, and although she can also turn a cartwheel, she prefers to makes lists of safety tips.  Franny isn't as book-smart as the others and she can't turn a cartwheel at all, but she loves her lookout tower on top of her wedding cake-shaped house.  From her tower, she spies Ivy moving into the creepy house next door.  Ivy and her ex-beauty pageant contestant mother have inherited Aunt Vi's decrepit house.  It's actually a lucky break.  Almost seven years ago, a mirror broke, and a Jinx has been tailing Ivy ever since.  Her father disappeared, and she and her mother have had a string of bad luck.  The seven years is almost up, though, and Ivy hopes the Jinx will soon be a thing of the past.

Also living on Gumm Street is the stern, mysterious piano teacher, Mr. Staccato, who may be 115 years old.  He has two dogs, Fred and Ginger, who seem to possess an otherworldly intelligence.  He also has a huge collection of old movie memorabilia, including several ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.  

Things are shaken up when a storm blows a mysterious, fabulous woman in fishnet stockings and a lampshade hat onto their street.  She is looking for a pair of shoes...

Needless to say, the four girls find themselves on an adventure, one where they learn to overlook their differences in order to work together.  The book doesn't require much more than a passing knowledge of the Oz books or even the 1939 movie, although it does make things more fun.  I found myself frowning a couple of times, correcting tidbits of Oz trivia here and there, but then I reached the last page of the book:  Primavera's letter to "Oz experts," where she humorously shrugs off the changes.  Well done.

You can read more at Elise Primavera's website or the book's Wikipedia page.  (I also notice that Amazon has a bargain hardcover available for a steal...)

It's Fall! It's Fall!

I have some good stuff planned for the blog this week, but right now, we're busy gussying up the house and porch for our fall decor!  It's still a bit too warm for my liking, and except for the occasional yellow leaf I randomly find on the sidewalk, it doesn't seem too fall-like yet.  But that will soon change!  Meanwhile, I will leave you with the song Big Sis and I still sing around the house this time of year.  We no longer have cable, but without Moose and Zee, Noggin/Nick Jr. became less fun anyway.

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