Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Christmas in July

As it's the middle of the summer, I figured it was time to present a few Christmas books. First we have The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902), L. Frank Baum's story of the origin of St. Nick. In this book, Baum creates an entire mythology to help flesh out the Santa Claus legend - in some ways, it's similar to what he did in Mother Goose in Prose, starting with a traditional tale and making it his own. This book has been adapted into a couple different animated TV specials.

The illustrations are by Mary Cowles Clark, an artist from Syracuse, N.Y. I don't know if there are any surviving illustrations from this book. There are a few more examples of her work at:

Denslow's Night Before Christmas (1902) is exactly what the title says - W. W. Denslow's take on the classic Clement C. Moore poem. This was a follow up to Denslow's Mother Goose, and is in the same large picture book format. Denslow did a wonderful job of illustrating the poem, with his usual bold rich colors. The copy I'm showing is a first state, bound in paper covered boards. Later printings had a different, and much sturdier, cover. This book was reprinted in the 1980's - I'm surprised it hasn't been printed more often! I believe much of the artwork survives for this title.

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