Monday, March 03, 2008

My latest Oz readings, and a viewing!

Woo-hoo, another nice big block of Oz fun under my belt. So let's dive in, shall we?

  • The Autumn 2007 issue of the magazine Paradox — or to be more specific, the story "The Wizard of Macatawa" by Tom Doyle. An interesting little tale of time getting tangled up on a Michigan beach, with a girl from the 1970s helping to influence L. Frank Baum as aliens invade. This one is not for those who want their Oz to be pure and just as Baum wrote it (not that he was too concerned with that himself).
  • Dunkiton Press #16, Ruth Berman's latest reprint of vintage newspaper material by Oz-associated people. This one celebrates Thanksgiving, with poems and a story by Ruth Plumly Thompson and advertising art by W. W. Denslow.
  • The Art of Reading, a collection celebrating the fortieth anniversary of RIF (Reading is Fundemental). Sure, I got this for Robert Sabuda's page on The Wizard of Oz, but the rest of it was pretty good, too, seeing what books have influenced famous artists. Some are obvious and well-known, while others are more obscure.
  • Denslow's Humpty Dumpty by W. W. Denslow, of course. This is a paperback reprint from Applewood Books, and a lot of fun. Humpty Dumpty's son gets himself hard-boiled so as not to share his father's fate, and goes off and has all kinds of adventures. More, please, Applewood!
  • The Mystery on the Stage by some anonymous author. This is book number forty-three in the Boxcar Children series. Some of the kids get involved with the local theater group's production of The Wizard of Oz, but someone is sabotaging the show to shut it down. Will the show go on? It's a sweet, slight little book, definitely a mystery for younger readers.
  • Recipe for Change: The 2nd Edition Wicked Cookbook. Cast and crew from the Broadway production of Wicked contributed recipes for a charity cookbook, benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. It's a lot of fun (I particularly liked Edina Menzel's recipe for bagels, which is essentially call the local bagel shop to have some delivered), and I just wish it were still available, along with the first volume.
  • Classic Fantasy Writers, edited by Harold Bloom. This is a collection of short biographies and critical excerpts on fourteen writers, some of whom I am familiar with and some I'd never heard of before. Of course I was most interested in the L. Frank Baum section, but some of the others were interesting as well.
  • Adventures in Oz by Eric Shanower. Strictly speaking, this was not a new read for me, as I'd read these before when they were first printed as individual graphic novels. But it was great revisiting these stories, and the upgraded art and color look terrific. The extras in the hardcover edition were mostly new, and well worth the price for obsessive Oz collectors like myself. I've known Eric for almost thirty years now, and it's great having all this stuff in one collection.
  • And on the DVD player, Veggie Tales: The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's, a much-appreciated Christmas present from my sister-in-law. It's a charming little retelling/satire of The Wizard of Oz that also slips in the parable of the prodigal son (hey, it's Veggie Tales, they're going to adapt a Bible story). These guys clearly had a lot of fun creating this. As a bonus, there's also the Monkey song. Anyway, here's the trailer for the DVD:

I also — finally — started in on reading The Collected Short Stories of L. Frank Baum, which will be fun to dip into over the next few months as I tackle the rest of my readings as well.

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