Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wizard of Oz

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is enjoying a very strong run at the box office right now. Headed for its 3rd weekend, it doesn't really look like its going to fall out of the top spot any time soon. I've heard really good reviews and I've heard really bad reviews. I haven't seen it yet so I'm holding off judgement until I get the time (and money) to see it for myself.

Did you know that the first Oz book, written by Frank L. Baum, came out 1900? Baum wrote a total of 14 books set in the world of Oz and near dozen other related written endeavors. The publisher (Reilly and Lee) published another 26 books set in Baum's world of Oz. Many other books have been written, adhering to the Baumian canon or completely deviating from Baum's story aside from names and some descriptions (such as Gregory Maguire's WICKED). I'm sure someone- somewhere- has collected the names and links to all the books, plays, movies, etc. created from Baum's story that started with THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ. I'm not going to do that. However, I think it is important for people to read the original stories! So here are the 14 original books by Frank L Baum (in order by publication) with links when possible to download them from the Gutenberg Project.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Marvelous Land of Oz
Ozma of Oz
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
The Road to Oz
The Emerald City of Oz
The Patchwork Girl of Oz
Tik-Tok of Oz
The Scarecrow of Oz
Rinkitink in Oz
The Lost Princess of Oz
The Tin Woodman of Oz
The Magic of Oz
Glinda of Oz

Other books published by Reilly and Lee came out after Baum's death. They chose writer Ruth Plumly Thompson to write 19 more books from 1921 to 1939. Her style took the stories back into a more fairy tale style than Baum wrote the originals. John R. Neill, the illustrator of 13 of the 14 Baum Ozian books and all of Thompson's books tried his hand writing about Oz from 1940-1942, penning 3 books. His style was a little sketchy and described as manic in comparison to Baum's. A Baum "scholar" Jack Snow penned 2 Oz books in 1946 and 1949. Reilly and Lee published two more Oz books, one in 1951 and one in 1963 by author Rachel R. Cosgrove and authors Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Lauren Lynn McGraw respectively.

Over time, other books have come out based in Oz. Some have stuck to the cannon fairly well such as PARADOX IN OZ by Edward Einhorn (1999). Others have deviated from the story so much that it is pretty much just an Oz book in name like THE DARK TOWER IV: WIZARD AND GLASS by Stephen King (1997) and all of Gregory Maguire's Oz books published from 1995 to 2011. Baum's family attempted to continue his stories as well. His great grandson Roger S. Baum wrote two Ozian books in 1989 and 1995.

In 113 years, Baum's stories are still read over and over again. Writers often name the Oz books and Baum in their lists of favorites. Thanks to the countless movies, each new generation is introduced to the Munchkins, Glinda, and Dorothy. Some of those new fans will take time time to read the original stories and I really hope they enjoy them as much as I have.

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS


Steven Thompson said...

I have copies of several absolutely gorgeous and well-written OZ graphic novels from the eighties by Eric Shanower. Remind me to show you. Also, I have a DVD of all the silent film versions of OZ that survive including ones made by Baum himself!

Dee said...

How have you not shown them to me already? Sheesh. You need to get on the ball. :P <3 DS