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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 8 of 8
1. Video Sunday: Everything in this post reeks of awesome

Took me a couple minutes to get into this one, but once I remembered the premise it helped.  This is basically The Wizard of Oz redone with pop songs.  A lot of which, sad to say, I have never heard of.  Fortunately I could at least recognize the weird genius of the line, “You’re just a lion on the cold hard ground” from Taylor Swift’s “Trouble”.  I’m not completely out of it.  Plus you should check out The Wizard himself.  A more badass Wiz I’ve yet to see.

Thanks to Marci for the link.

Next up, I’m just a tiny bit mad that there was a trailer for Boxers & Saints out there that was THIS GOOD and yet it took me roughly six months to discover it on my own.  Your required watching of the day:

Um . . . may I work for Chronicle now? Please?  I mean seriously . . . pretty please?  No, honestly.  I would work for you.  Make me an offer.  This video?  I want to go to there.


The sole fault that I can find is that they do not properly credit everyone by name at the end.  That is a mistake.  I want to know who these folks are.

The Scholastic Reading Club blog Book Box Daily has a tendency to produce adorable videos.  None so adorable as this, though.  Here we have my friend Lori.  Short of showing you puppies romping on a field, I could not display anything quite as cute.  Particularly when she involves her siblings in her readings.

Finally, our off-topic video. I confess that had Stephany Aulenback not posted this on her blog Crooked House I probably would never have heard of artist Grace Weston at all. This might as well be called “Grace Weston: The artist you’d actually like to meet and hang out with for long periods of time”. Stephany says she has a “Mr Roger’s Neighborhood and Hieronymous Bosch” sensibility, and I see that but for me she’s filling the gap that The Far Side left in our hearts when Gary Larson fled the scene.

GraceWeston 500x327 Video Sunday: Everything in this post reeks of awesome

“. . . and then the laundry gets destroyed by ash!” *laughs hysterically*

Awesome.  Thank you, Stephany for the link.

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2. Top 100 Children’s Novels #41: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

#41 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)
48 points

Oz is too overwhelming for a single post.  Indeed, there are whole websites, blogs, and societies out there solely dedicated to its existence.  With that in mind, here is a quick overview of the title and its impact on America at this point.  I can’t include absolutely everything, so consider this a taster’s sampling.

L. Frank Baum did not come to write the books of Oz until he was well into his middle age.  In American Writers for Children, 1900-1960, Michael Patrick Hearn writes that, “On 15 May 1900, Baum’s forty-fourth birthday, his most enduring work, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , was printed. The new book, a full-length fairy tale, again illustrated by Denslow, matched the great success of Father Goose, His Book . The immediate novelty of the book was its pictures; even today the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an impressive piece of bookmaking. Again responsible for the cost of the plates, Baum and Denslow insured the inclusion of twenty-four color plates and countless textual decorations in an alternating color scheme, making it one of the most elaborately embellished children’s books in American publishing history.”

According to Selma Lanes in Through the Looking Glass, “Despite The Wizard’s immediate success, Baum gave no thought to sequels. He was ready to move on to other tales.” So much for that plan. His fans insisted and four years later out came The Marvelous Land of Oz. This does explain why the first book is such a perfect little book, though. With no intentions of continuing the story, it is self-contained. Later there would come sequel after sequel.  And when a book had a lot of sequels, it was technically a series.  Fun Fact: Guess what libraries of the early 20th century loathed?  That’s right.  Series.

To be blunt, libraries weren’t always pleased with the books. Most notably, my very own children’s room. As Lanes tells it, “By 1930, the Children’s Room of the New York Public Library had removed the entire Oz series from its shelves, and other library and school systems followed suit.”  It is true.  Look in our reference section today and you will find few Oz first editions.  Fortunately we carry the books on our shelves now.  And do they go out?  Oh yes they do.  Boys in particular love Oz, thereby trumping the old line that boys won’t read stories about girls.  The heck they won’t!

Men are some of the biggest fans too.  In Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Children’s Book, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. William C. DeVries offers a short but deeply felt note on the book. “In the book, the Wizard of Oz talks to the Tin Woodman about whether or not he really wants a heart. The Wizard believes that having a heart is not a good thing: ‘It makes most people unhappy.’ But the Tin Woodman says, ‘For my part, I will bear all the unhappiness without a murmur, if you will give me a heart.’ In my work, I have thought about those lines many, many times.”

I had a lot of fun looking over the various critical essays on this otherwise simple little story. Articles with names like “From Vanity Fair to Emerald City: Baum’s Debt to Bunyan” or ” ‘Aunt Em: Hate You! Hate Kansas! Taking the Dog. Dorothy’: Conscious and Unconscious Desire in The Wizard of Oz” or even ” ‘There lived in the Land of Oz two queerly made men’: Queer Utopianism and Antisocial Eroticism in L. Frank Baum’s Oz Series.” Heavens!

In Novels f

7 Comments on Top 100 Children’s Novels #41: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, last added: 5/31/2012
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3. The Oz Quest Theory: Are Four Companions One Too Many?

I’ve had an idea bouncing around the old noggin recently and I wanted to try ricocheting it off your heads for a while to see where it leads.

Recently I’ve been reading a fair number of fantasy quest novels that follow in the Wizard of Oz rather than Alice in Wonderland vein.  You can tell the difference because in an Alice in Wonderland quest novel the protagonist is almost always on his or her own (Coraline’s a good example of this) with maybe a random helper companion that flits in and out of the action. Wizard of Oz quest novels consist of picking up companions, whether willingly or unwillingly, over the course of the story’s plot.

After reading two Oz-like books in a row, I started to notice a strange pattern.  Is it just me, or do most Oz-like stories have the same number and type of companions in a row?  Here’s what I mean.  In a fantasy novel your hero acquires three different types of fellows:

1. The Cowardly Lion type – This is a large, potentially ferocious beast of some sort that turns out to be just the sweetest thing and allows the hero to ride him/her/it at some point.  Ell the Wyvern in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne Valente would count.  So too would Protein the woolly mammoth in Greg Van Eekhout’s The Boy at the End of the World.  They’re usually big critters with hearts of gold.  Sometimes they sacrifice themselves for the nice people they befriend.  It’s a thing.

2.  The Tin Woodsman type -The heartless companion who grows a heart.  In Zita the Spacegirl that would be One, the battle orb who starts out prickly.  In The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi that would be Muthr, the robot parent companion to the heroine Eva Nine.  And in The Boy at the End of the World it’s Click, the robot parent companion to the hero Fisher and . . . huh.  All robots.  Whodathunkit?

3.  The Scarecrow type – The native with the brains.  I’m stretching a bit here, but that’s generally the type of character you get in these books.  So if we go back over some of the books I’ve just mentioned it would be Saturday in Valente’s book, Zapper in Van Eekhout’s, Rovender Kitt in DiTerlizzi’s, etc.

Obviously these aren’t hard and fast, but the consistency is intriguing to me.  Why do authors again and again turn to these types?  Sometimes it’s because the books are a purposeful homage to Baum’s classic (as with DiTerlizzi). Yet they’re not all that way.  The number three for companions is interesting as well.  Even the movie Labyrinth outfitted Jennifer Connelly with only three companions and her dog.  Mute pet companions of the Toto variety don’t really weigh into all this, being fairly superfluous to their stories.

Of the books I’ve read recently, only Zita the Spacegirl broke this magic number three by giving its heroine no less than five stalwart companions, not even counting the friend she’s questing to save.  Do graphic novels allow for greater numbers because the visual edge allows them to tell a story more quickly and succinctly than prose?

What do you think?  Is this a consistent trend or am I just detecting repetition where there is nothing to detect?  After all there are

10 Comments on The Oz Quest Theory: Are Four Companions One Too Many?, last added: 5/13/2011
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4. Fusenews: Tomie/Tomi, Tomi/Tomie

  • Things that I love: Blogging. My baby girl.  Seattle.  Two of those three things will be coming together on September 16th and 17th.  That’s when the 5th (five already?) annual Kidlitcon will occur!  It’s looking like a remarkable line-up as well with special keynote speaker YA author Scott Westerfeld and great presentations, as per usual.  Baby girl is keeping me from attending, which is awful.  I think I’ll have missed three out of five by this point.  That just means you’ll have to go in my stead.  For conference information, Kidlitosphere Central has the details.
  • Speaking of conferences I could not attend (whip out your world’s smallest violins playing a sad sad song for me), ALA came and went.  Between reading Twitter updates of awesome people having post-Caldecott/Newbery Banquet parties until 5 a.m. and knowing that there’s a whole world of ARCs out there that I have not seen, I took comfort in SLJ’s very cool shots of the outfits at the aforementioned banquet.  Jim Averbeck, I await your red carpet analysis.  Oh, and allow me to extend my hearty thanks to Tomie dePaola for mentioning me as well as a host of other fine librarians in his Wilder acceptance speech.  Made me feel quite the top cat it did.
  • Artist Adam Rex discusses the “Hogwarts for Illustrators” and gives us a sneak peek at a cover of his due out this coming February.
  • There’s more Ungerer in the offering.  Tomi Ungerer got covered by the Times the other day with an interesting Q&A.   In it, at one point he happens to say, “Look, it’s a fact that the children’s books that withstand the grinding of time all come from authors who did both [writing and illustrating].”  J.L. Bell takes that idea and jogs on over to my Top 100 Picture Books Poll where, rightly, he points out the #2 on was old Margaret Wise Brown.  He then finds other books that have stood the test of time with authors who do not illustrate.  Well played, Bell man.
  • Also at The New York Times, editor Pamela Paul shows off the new crop of celebrity picture books.  Normally I eschew such fare, but one book in the batch is of particular interest to me.  Julianne Moore has penned the third Freckleface Strawberry book called Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever.  I’m rather partial to it, perhaps because of this librarian character that artist LeUyen Pham included in the story:

  • Oh, man.  This i

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5. Video Sunday: How have I lived this long without hearing the name “Lothar Meggendorfer”?

While the message is encouraging in and of itself, Joe Sabia’s TED talk on The Technology of Storytelling is also a brilliant example of how to do an iPad presentation with skill, humor, and facts.  I can’t imagine how long this three minute, fifty-one second talk took to put together, but it’s kinda worth it.  Inspires one to punch up their presentations, it does.  Thanks to @145lewis for the link.

Meanwhile, when it comes to children’s literary scholars it’s a good idea to remember Michael Patrick Hearne.  Whether he’s annotating A Christmas Carol or The Wizard of Oz (the man knows his way around an Alice in Wonderland too) this is a go to guy.  That’s probably the reason the BBC spoke to him when they came up with the piece Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy was ‘first feminist role model’.  That title’s a touch misleading (Dorothy is actually considered to be the first American feminist role model in children’s literature) but the background is interesting:

I’m working on another librarian preview at the moment (suckers take a bloody long time, I tell you).  There are some previews I don’t write up, though.  Why?  Because you can view them at your leisure on your own time from the comfort of your own home (always assuming your home has an internet connection, of course).  Case in point, the Scholastic Spring 2012 Librarian Preview is up and running.  Should you wish to check out what those folks have on hand, get your one stop shopping done here:

Wanna see me sit on a floor?  I mean, seriously, who  can resist that alluring sight? The second of my two About.com videos is up and running. This time I recommend early chapter books for new readers. Everything from Anna Hibiscus to the Bad Kitty books. Those About.com folks are splendid editors. Check out all the floor sitting action here:

And for our off-topic video, I know I’ve posted this one before but with the release of the new Muppet movie I feel it ties in so very well.  One of my favorite movie mash-ups:

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6. Fusenews: At the sign of the big yellow fuse

  • Ain’t he just the sweetest thing?  Author/illustrator Aaron Zenz recently wrote just the loveliest ode to his four top favorite children’s literary blogs, and then went and created original art for each.  In my case he created this little Fuse guy (or possibly Fuse gal) based on the bright yellow Fuse you see at the beginnings of each of my posts (I put it there in lieu of my face because I can only look at myself so often before going stark raving mad).  This, I should point out, is not the first time a little Fuse person has been created for this blog.  Katherine Tillotson, an artist of outstanding ability (I’m biased but it also happens to be true) created not one but TWO little Fusemen in the past, both for separate birthdays.

I’m a fan.  So thank you Aaron and, once again, thank you Katherine.  Fusemen of the world unite!

  • *sniff sniff*  Smell that?  That’s the distinctive odor of a brouhaha brewing.  Sort of a combination of burnt hair, dead goldfish and patchouli.  And you wonder why I don’t cover YA books.  Sheesh!  One word: drama.  Seems that a YA blog called Story Siren plagiarized the work of others for her own blog posts.  Folks noticed and suddenly the internet was was heaping helpful of flames, burns, accusations, and other forms of tomfoolery.  For a sane and rational recap we turn to our own Liz Burns who gives us the run down in Today’s Blog Blow Up.  Ugly stuff.
  • And while we’re on the subject of YA (which I just said I don’t cover, and yet here we are), I thought we were done with whitewashing, folks.  So what’s up with this?  Harlequin Teen, you got some explaining to do.
  • In other news, book banning: It’s what’s for dinner.  Take a trip with me to The Annville-Cleona School District where a picture book fondly nicknamed by some as Where’s the Penis? is getting some heat.  If you’ve ever seen The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Adam Rex, then you know that calling it “pornographic” works only if you are unaware of what the word “pornography” actually means.  I would like to offer a shout-out to librarian Anita Mentzer who has handled the whole situation with class and dignity.  You, madam, are the kind of children’s librarian others should aspire to be.  Well done.  And thanks to Erica Sevetson for the link.
  • We may not yet have an ALA accredited poetry award for a work of children’s literature but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a Poet Laureate or two instead.  Rich Michelson, gallery owner and

    0 Comments on Fusenews: At the sign of the big yellow fuse as of 4/25/2012 10:57:00 PM
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7. The road to children’s series is a yellow-brick one

Di.yellow.brick copyWith my blunt, redheaded sleuth songbird Dinah Galloway now starring in six published mysteries, I feel I can now officially take my place in the ranks of children’s series authors. Now, Dinah’s not unruffled and glam like Nancy Drew. Nor is she versed in magic à la Harry Potter – though just watch her make Purdy’s peanut butter chocolates vanish in a blink.

I’ve waited in vain for the postie to deliver a special membership card to this special cadre of writers. You know, The bearer of this card is an official Serial Flake, or something like that. In lieu of receiving that honor, I decided to investigate just who started children’s series.

Click your heels three times, and the answer is … L. Frank Baum, the actor-turned—farmer-turned journalist who wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Raised by a Pennsylvania oil baron, Baum enjoyed an idyllic childhood on his Eden-like family estate, Rose Lawn. While a newspaper editor in South Dakota, he wrote Oz, basing Dorothy’s parched, gray surroundings on the Midwest drought of the time. I’m guessing Rose Lawn was his inspiration for her Over the Rainbow escape from the drought.

Fiona Bayrock interviewed me, along with Pam Withers and Deborah Hodge, about series books in an article for Children’s Writers and Illustrators 2010.

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8. Weird Worlds = Awesome Books

Hey there guys, Master Jedi Zack here. Recently I've come across a few really cool books about some really weird stuff.

First we have The Glitch in Sleep. This is the first book in a series called The Seems, so once you find this awesome book too awesome to put down, you have two more to read. The story follows a 12 year old named Becker Drane who has a pretty cool job. Becker's job is to fix things that break down in a world called The Seems, which is the place that shapes everything about The World (where you and I spend our lives). The Glitch in Sleep tells us all about The Seems while we watch Becker try and fix a "Glitch" that is keeping everyone in our world from being able to sleep.

Second is Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett. This book was brought to me by another guybrarian out there who is in the know. So if you are ever visit the North County Branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library be sure to stop in and say hey to Ian, he is good people (and not an evil Sith like some people around here). This book is about Johnny Maxwell is finds that the aliens in his video game would rather surrender to him than be blown up. Now Johnny has to figure out what to do with all of these aliens from his game.

Last, but certainly not least is the graphic novel version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Now I know what you are thinking, but this is not the same girlie girl Wizard of Oz you have heard about this is some serious Boys Rule! Boys Read! stuff here. In this version you can see some good ol' fashioned ax work by the Tin Man, one seriously scary wicked witch (but she does like silly straws) and more monsters than you can shake a Cowardly Lion at!

So there you have it, three new books about weird worlds (and even more than that if you read the rest of The Seems series). Read on!

1 Comments on Weird Worlds = Awesome Books, last added: 2/3/2010
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