We’re off to “read” the Wizard!

For this post, I am excited to introduced to you another bookworm and lover of children’s literature, my brother Rob. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife Jody and four, now grown, children. They are also very proud grandparents to Blake, Arabella and Eve. He is a third culture kid through and through, a blend of French, British and a fan of the Seattle SeaHawks (we all have to have our faults). I remember when he was in college, and returned home to France over the summer. On a trip into Paris, stuck in traffic at a busy intersection, he leaped out of the car, arms extended, exclaiming loudly for all to hear: “Paris, je t’aime”.   

Thanks, Rob, for sharing your adventures in the the land of Oz with us!


Have you read the other 13 volumes of the Wizard of Oz?   (guest post by Rob Vajko)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a staple in most households. You’ve probably watched the musical with Judy Garland a dozen times and you might even be tuning in to the new musical “The Wiz” coming up in December (www.nbc.com/the-wiz-live). You have also, hopefully, read the book. It’s a favorite of most children and remains to this day one of the most widely read books.

What most people do not to realize, however, is that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is only 1 of 14 books that L. Frank Baum wrote featuring our favorite characters. 
L. Frank Baum wrote  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  along with W. W. Denslow as the illustrator in 1900. It was an instant success. It was so popular that children everywhere started writing to Mr. Baum asking him to write more adventures featuring these beloved characters: the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Ozma, The Cowardly Lion and, of course, Dorothy and Toto.  

Each of the sequels opens with a prelude where L. Frank Baum addresses the many children who have written to him, thanking them for their letters and talking about how grateful he is to be able to offer them yet another adventure. After a fall out with W. W. Denslow over royalties for the musical, L. Frank Baum collaborated with the illustrator John L. Neill, who illustrated the other 13 Oz books.  
  They are all equally enthralling and captivating and if you loved The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, if your child liked it, then you are about to embark on a whole new set of adventures!

 Each of the stories can be read separately. However, I would recommend that you read them in order as certain characters return and it’s more or less assumed that you’ll know who they are. Keep in mind that L. Frank Baum wrote them because his fans kept asking for more so he’s writing them for kids who have been reading them as he writes them and already know all the characters involved.
Here’s the list of all the Oz books:
1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz   (1900)

The original one, I don’t need to tell you the story… 

2. The Marvelous Land of Oz   (1904)

  Mombi is a wicked witch and she keeps a little boy Tip as her slave to do all the work around the place. Tip escapes and, with the help of some of Mombi’s magic dust, brings a wooden jack-o-lantern with a pumpkin head to life. He soon does the same with a wooden saw horse and Jack Pumpkinhead, along with the saw horse escape. They soon run into Scarecrow and Tin Man and set off together on adventure.

3. Ozma of Oz    (1907)

  This time it isn’t a tornado that sweeps Dorothy to the land of Oz, it’s a storm at sea, along with a chicken named Bellina. They don’t, however, end up in Oz: but in Ev, a country that’s across the desert from Oz. With the help of a mechanical friend named Tik-Tok (who will appear in a later book), they confront the gnome king (who will also appear in later adventures) and ultimately end up back in Oz.

4. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz    (1908)

  First it was a tornado, then a storm at sea, now it’s an earthquake. Last time it was with a chicken named Bellina, this time it’s with a horse named Jim and a cat named Eureka. They stumble upon the Wizard of Oz and together make their way back to Oz encountering many adventures along the way. 

5. The Road to Oz   (1909)
  In this adventure, we are introduced to Shaggy Man, a hobo dressed in rags, a magical fairy creature named Polychrome (daughter of the rainbow king) and Button-Bright. Button-Bright’s parents decided to name him that thinking he was as bright as a button even though he mostly answers every question with “don’t know”. Dorothy and these four colorful characters embark on another magical adventure in the land of Oz.

6. The Emerald City of Oz   (1910)

  Dorothy brings her aunt Em and uncle Henry to live in Oz permanently (where no one ages, by the way). Meanwhile the evil gnome king we encountered in book three has decided to conquer Oz and is tunneling to get there with his army. 
7. The Patchwork Girl of Oz   (1913)

  A little boy name Ojo has an uncle who is practicing magic (which is not allowed without express permission from Ozma). He accidentally turns himself into a statue. Ojo, along with his patchwork doll named Scraps, sets out to find a cure.
8. Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)

  Shaggy man (remember him?) meets up with a girl named Betsy and her mule Hank when they are shipwrecked in Oz after a storm. Shaggy man is on a quest to save his brother from the gnome king (no, he still hasn’t learned his lesson). Betsy and Hank come along to help. 
9. The Scarecrow of Oz   (1915)

  Cap’n Bill Weedles, an ex-sailor with a wooden leg and a young girl named Trot, go out on a boat ride and end up in Oz. They have a number of adventures (much like Alice in Wonderland they eat certain berries to shrink and grow back to original size) and finally meet up with Button-Bright (who has learned a lot more since his “don’t know” days) and Scarecrow to defeat an evil ruler named King Krewl.
10. Rinkitink of Oz (1916)

  When invaders from Regos and Coregos (neighboring islands) land on Pingaree and take King Kitticut and queen Garee captive, it’s up to their son Inga to save them. He will be aided, although not all that willingly, by King Rinkitink who has run away from his kingdom to go on holiday and landed in Pingaree, along with Bilbil, a man turned into a goat. Fortunately Inga has some magic pearls! Dorothy also shows up with some eggs… but they aren’t for making an omelet.
11. The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)

 When Ozma goes missing, along with most of the magic tools of Oz, Glinda, Dorothy, the Wizard, Button-Bright, Trot and Betsy Bobbin go looking for her (and the missing magic). They will meet a curious collection of creatures along the way… not all of them nice.
12. The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)

 When the Tin Man suddenly remembers that he had a love, back when he was a real flesh and blood man, he realizes that, although he cannot feel love, she might still be pinning for him. He sets out to find her and marry her. Along the way he will meet another Tin man made by the same craftsman who made him. He also meets an altogether different creature made up of the limbs that he replaced when he became the Tin man.
13. The Magic of Oz (1919)

  You would think, with all the terrible things that have befallen him as an evil gnome king, that Ruggedo would have learned his lesson. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead he’s back trying to conquer Oz again. This time he’s enlisting the animals of Oz to take the throne as Ozma is set to celebrate her birthday.
14. Glinda of Oz (1920)

  War seems to be inevitable between the Skeezers and the Flatheads in the country of Gillikin. Dorothy and Ozma try to stop the war. However, they end up prisoners in the submerged city of the Skeegers. Glinda must find a way to release them and liberate the trapped inhabitants.

**Note: All the Oz books are now available in the public domain and can be downloaded in ebook format to your laptop or kindle  (gutenberg.org). Kids Books Without Borders also has many of these available in paperbacks to add to your home library. Collect them all!  All these books are great for reading aloud.


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