One way to encourage your children to read classics is to read them as a family. A wonderful classic to start with is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published on May 17, 1900, by the George M. Hill Company. The name was shortened to The Wizard of Oz, in both the popular 1902 Broadway musical and the 1939 film adaptation.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the adventures of Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz. After young Dorothy is swept away from her Kansas farm home in a cyclone.
The novel is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated. Its initial success, and the success of the 1902 Broadway musical which Baum adapted from his original story. The original book has been in the public domain in the US since 1956.
When Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz he did not plan on writing a sequel. However, after reading the novel, thousands of children wrote letters to him, requesting that he write another story about Oz.
In 1904, Baum wrote and published the first sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz, explaining that he grudgingly wrote the sequel to address the popular demand. Then Baum continued writing sequels in 1907, 1908, and 1909. In his 1911 The Emerald City of Oz, he wrote that “he could not continue writing sequels because Ozland had lost contact with the rest of the world.”
Once again his readers, children, refused to accept this, so Baum, in 1913 and every year thereafter until his death in May 1919, wrote an Oz book, ultimately writing 13 sequels.
Baum explained the purpose of his novels in a note he penned to his sister, Mary Louise Brewster, in his first book- Mother Goose in Prose (1897). He wrote, “To please a child is a sweet and a lovely thing that warms one’s heart and brings its own reward.”
After Baum’s death in 1919, Baum’s publishers delegated the creation of more sequels to Ruth Plumly Thompson who wrote 21. An original Oz book was published every Christmas between 1913 and 1942. By 1956, five million copies of the Oz books had been published in the English language, while hundreds of thousands had been published in eight foreign languages.
The Wizard of Oz has been adapted to other media numerous times, most famously in the 1939 film starring Judy Garland. Considered innovative because of its songs, special effects, and revolutionary use of the new Technicolor.
Amazon has a wonderful collection of Books by L. Frank Baum.
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