Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum
Long before Judy Garland sang "Over the Rainbow", the denizens of Oz had already captivated the American reading public. The quintessential American fairy tale, L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has had a singular influence on our culture since it first appeared in 1900. Yet, as Michael Riley shows, Baum's achievement went far beyond this one book, or even the thi...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by University Press of Kansas
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A quick read. Somehow I was expecting something more dense, with impenetrable prose and bristling with footnotes, but this book turns out to be not that academic. It's more of an affectionate summary of the plots of all of Baum's fantasy books (not just the Oz ones). A couple of times the author raises the thesis that Baum's vision of Oz is actually more coherent than is generally thought, but this is so manifestly indefensible that one wonders why he bothers. Riley is most interesting when he w...more
Not a bad read, especially if you are interested in the life of the creator of America's first true fairy tale. My only complaint is that the author wrote with perhaps too much of his own opinion for a biographical book. However, still interesting information on an interesting person. Baum was an American treasure with a long-lasting impact that I am not sure even that great dreamer could have imagined!
Sep 13, 2009 Steven rated it 4 of 5 stars
A good overview and linking together of Baum's OZ and other children's books. The book itself is mostly a synopsis and discussion of Baum's books with recommendations on which books are strongest/weakest and why. The bibliography alone is great for helping find research books on 19th and 20th century children's books or early fantasies.