Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Little Wizard Stories of Oz

From the diary: “Friday November 15, 1985

“Last night I took advantage of the Moonlight Madness sale to buy an ink pad, three [Ruth Plumly] Thompson paperbacks and the new edition of Little Wizard Stories.”

L. Frank Baum wrote fourteen full-length Oz books. I didn’t even know he’d written Oz short stories until I joined the Oz Club. The Little Wizard Stories were originally published as booklets. Baum had tried to end the series with the sixth book, The Emerald City of Oz, but his non-Oz fantasies were not as successful so he wrote a new full-length sequel, The Patchwork Girl of Oz as well as these short stories aimed at younger readers. The stories were later collected in a hardcover which, by the time I was buying Oz stuff, was very expensive. There had only ever been one printing. I was thrilled to pieces when a publisher decided to bring out a new edition, thus making it possible for me to own (& read).

The text is on the web, but no pictures! A Google search suggests that you can download the text as an ebook and read it on your mobile phone. I’m sorry; I’m having trouble getting my head around that.

Del Rey, which had brought the Baum books back into print as mass market paperbacks also started bringing the sequels by Thompson back to print, though in a slightly larger format. They didn’t sell. So Del Rey never did get all the way through Thompson’s oeuvre. Some Thompson books are currently in print in handsome editions. Most aren’t, so are as expensive as ever, though, with the resources of the net, are a bit easier to find.

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