Rant OZ

I have never read the complete book, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ.  I’ve read a few abridged, illustrated versions, but never the whole, original enchilada. That is going to change.


In a testament to my unbounding cheapskate-tastic tendencies, I found the GREATEST WORKS OF LYMAN FRANK BAUM eBook on the Apple site for $2.99. Sometime in the near (or far) future, I will be an expert on Oz. I am pretty stoked. Now, all I need is time.

In case you are curious, here is the list of books included in the 4,129 page eBook:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)
Ozma of Oz (1907)
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908)
The Road to Oz (1909)
The Emerald City of Oz (1910)
The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)
Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)
The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)
Rinkitink in Oz (1916)
The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)
The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)
The Magic of Oz (1919)
Glinda of Oz (1920)


I started to read his introduction to The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz…

Folk lore, legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly unreal. The winged fairies of Grimm and Andersen have brought more happiness to childish hearts than all other human creations.
Yet the old-time fairy tale, having served for generations, may now be classed as “historical” in the children’s library; for the time has come for a series of newer “wonder tales” in which the stereotyped genie, dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and blood-curdling incident devised by their authors to point a fearsome moral to each tale. Modern education includes morality; therefore the modern child seeks only entertainment in its wonder-tales and gladly dispenses with all disagreeable incident.
Having this thought in mind, the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was written solely to pleasure children of today. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heart-aches and nightmares are left out.
L. Frank Baum – Chicago, April, 1900

…and found an issue right off the bat. I was knocked for a loop the first time I read it. I thought, what a pompous ass with his “modern education morality” schtick. But, since he is the author of a classic piece of children’s literature, I decided to give L. Frank the benefit of the doubt and I read the Intro a second time. OK, he’s still a pompous ass, but a pompous-ass, man-of-the-times who produced a better product than what previously existed by entertaining kids without scaring the living crap out of them. Nice job, L. Frank, just tone down the high and mighty next time.

So, take-home lessons learned from Lyman Frank Baum’s Introduction to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:

1. If you write an introduction to your book, don’t come off as a pompous you-know-what.
2. If you write an introduction to your book, don’t trash what came before you. In other words, don’t bad talk your predecessor because someday you will also be the worn-out, simplistic old fashioned, backward thinking author.

Now, rant delivered…on to OZ.


4 responses to “Rant OZ

  1. I remember reading these when I was a kid. I enjoyed them. But if his stories have no “heart-aches and nightmares,” then what is the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys? Pretty nightmare worthy if you ask me! lol
    ~ Lexa
    (Laura of YALitChat)

  2. Excellent words of advice. And not just for the introduction to your book, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind when writing a query, too. I’ve seen tons of queries that badmouth vampires, wizards and everything in-between. Such a bad idea.

  3. I still haven’t read ‘The Wizard of Oz’, but I am a huge fairy tale fan. Some of those stories are downright disturbing, like ‘The Goose Girl’ (where the maid is dragged around naked in a barrel spiked with nails), or The Robber Bridegroom (where a girl is betrothed to the king of a band of cannibals). I can definitely see where Baum would want to write a story that wouldn’t scar kids for life.

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