Thursday, May 13, 2010

15th May L. Frank Baum (1856 - 1919)

L.Frank Baum is the American author responsible for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Although many children are
introduced to this American fairy tale through film rather than by reading, it has still added much to their literary heritage. Every child needs to know where the Yellow Brick Road, Emerald City, munchkins and the Witch of the East come from. They need to know to understand pop songs, poetry, stories and plays that they may encounter later in their literary career.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in 1900 to much acclaim and Baum went on to write several more stories connected to Oz. Interestingly, the original was illustrated by W.W. Denslow and the illustrations were marvelled at as well. Many classic books seem to have had remarkable illustrations. So even then illustrations were a must, so why are so many parents eager to move their children on from illustrated books to novels which they consider to be 'real books'?

Newer editions of this story have also had memorable illustrations (see Greg Hildebrandt's and Charles Santore's) and later this year two more editions will be published, one by Michael Foreman and a pop up version by Paul Hess. You can read about these on the Amazon website.

So many trivia night questions seem to have to do with the Wizard of Oz so just in case you need to know, the L at the beginning of Frank Baum's name stands for 'Lyman'!

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