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The Wizard of Oz
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Follow the yellow brick road!

About the Author

L. Frank Baum (Author) L. Frank Baum lived from 1856 to 1919. He was born in Chittenango, New York State and grew up to be a bit of an entrepreneur. He worked in the theatre, in newspapers and magazines, he manufactured a patent axle grease called 'Baum's Castorine' and managed a general store called 'Baum's Bazaar. For a while he was a poultry farmer and his first book was about raising chickens! His ideas didn't earn him much money and he had to think again. He had always loved telling his children bedtime stories, so he turned to writing for children. Even in his early books, retellings of traditional stories, he introduced a little girl called Dorothy! His children loved his stories about a land called Oz and in 1900 The Wizard of Oz was published. It was an overnight success and soon became a stage musical extravaganza for which Baum wrote the lyrics. The wonderful 1939 film, starring Judy Garland, gave the story an even higher profile and has become almost as famous as the book. Baum became so identified with Oz that his other books had to be published under pseudonyms.

Reviews

Santore's illustrations for this new edition of Baum's classic tale work on two levels. They capture the story's epic sweep in numerous colorful landscapes and dramatic tableaux, and they are models of sustained characterization. Though the paintings occasionally lapse into Saturday morning TV cartoon art, they generally evoke the many beloved scenes with verve. In contrast to a rather mundane scarecrow, Santore's cowardly lion is a splendid beast--looming over his companions, lower jaw ever a-quiver. The episodes in the Emerald City are appropriately green-tinted (the book's pages, in fact, are green in these sequences) and cleverly framed by faceted, emeraldlike borders. Unfortunately, the text is abridged, and significant sequences and characters are missing. These cuts have robbed Santore of the chance to realize fully his vision of Oz, and readers of the opportunity to enjoy the story as Baum told it. Morrow's facsimile of the first edition illustrated by W. W. Denslow and Holt's edition illustrated by Michael Hague are better versions of this enduring favorite. All ages. (Sept.)

Gr 3-6-In a brief endnote, the Viennese illustrator writes of the challenge of bringing something new to this American classic. Indeed, for many, Dorothy and Judy are one and the same, and there are over 20 trade versions of the book in print (not to mention the various pop-ups and other spin-offs). Well, make room for this new edition anyway; it's a beauty. What strikes readers first is the glorious red and sophisticated design of the larger-than-life poppies on the cover. Then it's the sheen of the high-quality paper and the extravagant amount of white space. Zwerger's characters are completely original. Dorothy is diminutive and feminine with straight, cropped hair. The rotund Scarecrow is dressed in an enormous blue overcoat; his gentle visage resembles a snowman's. The Wicked Witch is depicted as a gray-blue "mountain," capped with a small head. She fills the space, and wolves stand at attention on her form. The pages are a tour de force of design, some with a single, small illustrative detail, others with figures racing across two pages. Yet, the artist's style remains subtle: there is much to learn from close inspection of posture, expression, and placement.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA

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