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

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Book Fair Time

Once again, it's time for the annual local antiquarian book fair. This year there were a few dealers with Oz items - not as many as some years, which was a bit surprising as children's books are usually well represented at this fair. One of the local antique shows is also being held this same weekend, so it's a double whammy for looking for treasures.

I picked up a copy of Toodles of Treasure Town and her Snow Man, another of the many books styled after the Oz series. This particular title has an interesting Oz connection, as it was written by Frederic Chapin, who wrote the music for L. Frank Baum's 1905 failed extravaganza The Woggle-Bug. Chapin (1873 - 1947) had a later career as a screenwriter in Hollywood.

This book, which I haven't read yet, was published in 1908. Glancing through it, there are a profusion of illustrations, including color plates and color chapter titles, and a lovely set of color endpapers all of which give the feeling of an Oz book. The lively drawings were done by Merle Johnson, and are reminiscent of both W. W. Denslow and John R. Neill. I'm curious to see how the actual story holds up!


  1. That does look cute!

  2. Barbara S. Koelle wrote an article on a number of such books for the Spring 1989 BAUM BUGLE. How many do you have? Is there a more or less comprehensive list of these books?

  3. The same duo Frederic Chapin and Merle Johnson produced Pinkey and the Plumed Knight with a wonderful Ozzy feel and look. I think it's better written than Toodles.
    Also check out Sunny Sam by Frank Farrington and illustrated by ER & VH Kirkbride---Reilly & Lee, no less. Lots of great illustrations, sort of a parallel Oz.
    Best, Holly

  4. I looked up the article by Barbara Koelle, and of the titles mentioned I have:
    The Pearl and the Pumpkin
    The Golden Goblin
    Billy Bounce
    The Jeweled Toad
    She lists 14 titles, but as she clearly states in the article, this is by no means a comprehensive list. In fact, Toodles isn't one of the titles included, although Pinky and the Plumed Knight is.
    I don't know of any complete list of titles, and I think it might be difficult to compile one - after all, there are many books from the time period that deal with similar themes, and the line of what one considers to be an "Oz-like" book is very fluid.

  5. Of the books you have, which ones do you consider the best in terms of writing and plot?

  6. I haven't actually read The Jeweled Toad yet, but I believe that one is supposed to be pretty decent. The others really don't strike me as terrible memorable. In the case of most of the titles I listed, there is a strong taste of the Broadway extravaganza waiting to happen, and they just don't hold up well - but that's part of the reason they aren't better known today! Had I read them as a child, I might have fonder memories of specific titles.

  7. I have to agree with Bill on the few of these I've read ("Zabuerlinds," "The Pearl & the Pumpkin," "Billy Bounce," and "The King of Gee-Whiz" which I think was also part of that article). None of them are particularly excellent in terms of the writing, a lot of the comparison to the Oz books seems to be based on visual characteristics. Illustrations, layout, etc.

  8. I have a large on-the-side collection of wannabe Oz titles. Some are on the list and some aren't.
    The Wonder Hill by Albert Neely Hall is probably the very best of the bunch. It has a Barber Pole Man, Sliding Tunnel, and the Weather Bureau is straight out of Baum. Yama Yama Land by Grace Duffie Boylan is a close second. She also did Steps to Nowhere, it's ok, but not Ozzy. The article is wrong about Man of Mirth and Queen of the City of Mirth being the same. Queen is a sequel. None of Elbridge Sabin's books are very good. Not on the list is The Land of Don't Want To by Lilian Bell, pretty good, lots of Neil like color plates by Milo Winter and some RPT like characters as their flying "bus/ship" traverses the heavens--- think Ozoplaning. Jackieboy in Rainbowland is a small jewel illustrated by Fanny Y Cory (remember her, Yew?). Short on plot, but charming color plates.
    Just got Maisie and Her Dog Snip in Fairyland by Bennet Musson, but haven't read it yet. I give a B- to Through the Cloud Mountain by Florence Scott Bernard illustrated by Gertrude Kay (RPT's Billy in Bunbury & Prince of the Gelatin Isles) even makes references to Oz characters, as if they're just next door.
    Didn't care for From the Horn of the Moon or The Wee Men of Ballywooden, both written by Arthur Mason and illustrated by Robert Lawson.
    Neat but weird is Coco Bolo King of the Floating Islands by Sidford Hamp. It's about an island of bad tempered wooden people.
    Please let us know if you find anymore undiscovered Oz out there. Love your site.

  9. Thanks for the list of additional titles - some I've heard of, others I'm not familiar with. I've been curious to read Yama Yama Land, one of these days I'll get a copy, and I'll certainly keep my eyes open for other books. That's a fun side collection to have, as the books tend to be attractive even if they are short on story and plot!

  10. Holly - have you thought of doing a BAUM BUGLE article continuing Barbara Koelle's?

  11. Frederic Chapin was my great grandfather and I lost copies of both Toodles in Treasure Town and Pinkey and the Plumed Knight in Hurricane Katrina. If anyone comes across an available copy, please comment as I would be interested in purchasing.

  12. Don't know if anyone is still posting here, I am also a fan of the Oz books, and would like to get my hands on all imitations, if anyone is still posting here, could you please email me a link the Barbara Koelle's article.

    My email address is princemarveloz@gmail.com