The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L Frank Baum

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” holds a special place in my heart! First published in May of 1900, the book is celebrating its 115th anniversary.

photo courtesy of history.com
photo courtesy of history.com

The movie adaption was released in 1939, and is a timeless classic, also thought to have been viewed more than any other movie released to date (history.com). I have read the book enough, and watched the movie enough, that yes; I can recite the movie from beginning to end.

photo courtesy of history.com
photo courtesy of history.com

I have read all of the books in the series, but never enjoyed any of the others as much as I love “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” For a book to be 115 years old, and still read anew by young readers is a testament to the wonderful quality of this story. It really does reach hearts both young and old alike.

Wizard of Oz Books 11-18-2013 020

For Your Holiday Reading Enjoyment!

There are numerous books for readers of all ages that are centered around Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and likely other Winter holidays that I am not aware of (sorry…no offense intended, I am just not aware of every religious holiday). My family celebrates Christmas, and I try my best every year to avoid the commercialism aspects as much as possible. Our tree will not be up before Thanksgiving, I will not be listening to Christmas music before December, and I do not do any “black Friday” or Thanksgiving day shopping. Holidays are meant to be spent at home, with loved ones. Not in the stores, buying things that are more than likely not needed anyhow.

So, a few of my Christmas favorites include “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, as well as his “The Cricket on the Hearth”.

The Cricket on the Hearth

Another favorite I recently discovered by one of my favorite authors, L. Frank Baum, is “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.” I reviewed this story here: https://booksandopinions.com/2013/11/14/the-life-and-adventures-of-santa-claus-l-frank-baum-2/

Some great stories for the smaller kids (and the kid in you!) could include Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, or Charles Schulz “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

Charlie Brown Christmas“The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg was a story before it was ever turned into a movie.

Polar Express Cover

What books are on your list for reading this holiday season?

My Most Cherised Book

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All of my books are important to me; not only do they give me stories of far-away places and magical things, but they also hold my memories from the first time I opened them, to the 10th time I read a particular story, to the story that brought me through a depressing or sad time of my life. Every book I have opened holds my memories of that story as well as its story itself. I have enough books boxed in my basement to fill a couple bookshelves, with nowhere to put them, yet 🙂

But the book I hold most special, was a gift on my 30th birthday from my sister-in-law. I think the only thing I am a fan of more than Abraham Lincoln is The Wizard of Oz. This story as well as it’s less famous follow-up stories are a huge part of my childhood, and I cherish each of them. So to get an autographed book from Roger S. Baum, great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, literally left me speechless, and in tears. My brother and sister-in-law met Mr. Baum as he was signing books at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I will apologize for the less-than-stellar pictures, as I did not have the best lighting conditions, but the inscription is as follows:

7/27/2002

Angela

From Machele:

Oz, I’m sure, means different things for different people but, two things are for sure, Oz is love and it is for the young-in-heart. If you remain young-in-heart, the gates to the Emerald City will always remain open for you. There is not any age to the spirit.

Roger S. Baum

Toto too

1st page of autograph
1st page of autograph
2nd page of autograph
2nd page of autograph

How amazing is that? I think my brother would be a little miffed to find out I have not yet read this book, as I cannot bear to bend its spine any more than I have to read further than the inscription. He asked me for about 2 years if I had read it, and I told him I couldn’t bear to bend it, and he just stopped asking me 🙂

If you are a fan of the Oz stories, you must go to http://tototooinc.tateauthor.com/ . Frank S. Baum has 15 different Oz books, and he will autograph them for you. I think I’ve found my Christmas present to myself!

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, L. Frank Baum

A Genius of Children's Story-telling
A Genius of Children’s Story-telling

 

How I have never heard of or come across this book is beyond me. I absolutely love L. Frank Baum and was sure I had read all of his books, even those that had nothing to do with the Wizard of Oz. This book was published in 1902, and tells a very interesting story of how Santa Claus came to be. There are several places in it that explain the concept of stockings hanging by the fireplace, the Christmas Tree, and I found the most interesting part of the story being as to how the parents got involved in helping Santa get the presents ready for the kids.

From the end of the story: “So, to lighten his task, which was fast becoming very difficult indeed, old Santa decided to ask the parents to assist him. In the story: “Get your Christmas trees all ready for my coming,” he said to them; “and then I shall be able to leave the presents without loss of time, and you can put them on the trees when I am gone.”  And to others he said: “See that the children’s stockings are hung up in readiness for my coming, and then I can fill them as quick as a wink.

And often, when parents were kind and good-natured, Santa Claus would simply fling down his package of gifts and leave the fathers and mothers to fill the stockings after he had darted away in his sledge. “I will make all loving parents my deputies!” cried the jolly old fellow, “and they shall help me do my work. For in this way I shall save many precious minutes and few children need be neglected for lack of time to visit them.”  

Besides carrying around the big packs in his swift-flying sledge old Santa began to send great heaps of toys to the toy-shops, so that if parents wanted larger supplies for their children they could easily get them; and if any children were, by chance, missed by Santa Claus on his yearly rounds, they could go to the toy-shops and get enough to make them happy and contented. For the loving friend of the little ones decided that no child, if he could help it, should long for toys in vain.

And the toy-shops also proved convenient whenever a child fell ill, and needed a new toy to amuse it; and sometimes, on birthdays, the fathers and mothers go to the toy-shops and get pretty gifts for their children in honor of the happy event.  “In all this world there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child,” says good old Santa Claus; and if he had his way the children would all be beautiful, for all would be happy” (L. Frank Baum, 1902)

What a clever way to explain to children the story of Santa and how he came to be. I am going to look for this book so I can get it for my girls, I think they would really enjoy it. But it will have to be an updated printing, because the majority of the ones I am finding online are a fortune! There is one on Ebay right now for $1200.+, with 20 colored plates and it is a 1st edition I believe. Wow! I would love to have it, but a bit out of my buying range 🙂

My next mission for book-hunting!
My next mission for book-hunting!