Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

Its publication soon after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake got readers instantly hooked on the story in which Dorothy and her friends sink into the bowels of the earth, following a devastating earthquake in California. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz are the fourth in the series of books written by American children’s author L. Frank Baum.

In this novel, Dorothy visits her Uncle Henry on his California ranch. She, her friends, her cousins, and a few pets are traveling in a buggy when the earth suddenly splits open and the entire lot falls into the crack. From here on, a series of adventures follows, with the children having bizarre encounters in the Land of the Mangaboos which is inhabited by the Vegetable People. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz suddenly makes his appearance and together, they all travel to further amazing countries. Princess Ozma appears to rescue Dorothy and her companions as they meet one disaster after another.

Though Lyman Frank Baum wrote more than 50 novels, many short stories, and hundreds of poems, he is today known almost exclusively as the author of the Oz stories. Born into immense wealth and privilege, he, however, led an unhappy childhood as a sickly and weak youngster. His wealthy father purchased a small printing press to keep him occupied with writing, and young Frank and his brothers produced a home newspaper to entertain the family.

This early enterprise provided the germ of a writing career that, however, earned critical and financial acclaim only when Frank was more than forty years of age. The first of the Oz books, written after a failed career in theater, was published in 1900. It was hugely successful and L. Frank Baum went on to write thirteen more in the series. Though he tried to abandon the series several times out of sheer boredom, the flood of letters from children clamoring for more, the publisher’s demands, and the disaster that his other books met with compelled him to continue.

Today, the Oz phenomenon has resulted in theme parks, stage and screen shows, musicals, comics, merchandise, adaptations, translations into world languages, television, and animation series. Baum himself set up the Oz Film Company and had plans to set up an Oz-themed amusement park in his lifetime.

The appeal of Oz and its uncanny predictions of a world that was to come with augmented reality, laptops, wireless phones, women in male-dominated occupations, and a host of other innovations all make the series interesting and innovative. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz makes a great addition to your Oz collection.

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