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

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Denslow Titles

W. W. Denslow illustrated several children's novels, after breaking away from L. Frank Baum. I've already mentioned The Pearl and the Pumpkin in an earlier post - two other major titles are Billy Bounce, and The Jeweled Toad. All of these books suffer from being written with the intention of being turned into stage musicals. While Denslow's artwork helps to liven up the books, it can't overcome the story flaws.

Billy Bounce was originally a comic strip created by Denslow in 1901. He drew the character for about a year, before it was taken over by another artist, C. W. Kahles. This comic inspired two different pinback buttons, as well as a brand of cigars! Denslow returned to the character and wrote this book in 1906, the year the comic ended. All the artwork for this book survives, one of the unusual cases of a complete suite of drawings being kept together.


Anonymous said...

OOh, I've never seen "The Jeweled Toad" before. I just read a new reprint of "Billy Bounce," Denslow's art is beautiful even in black-and-white but I agree with you the story itself is very weak.

Bill Campbell said...

The Jeweled Toad does seem to be the rarest of these three titles - probably partly because Billy Bounce and The Pearl and the Pumpkin were both reprinted by Donohue, making more copies available.

Anonymous said...

Never saw the Jeweled Toad. Have a copy of The Pearl and the Pumpkin (1st edition) which I had rebound. Billy Bounce does have a weak story, but the illustrations are lots of fun! Gave my Donohue copy of Pearl to my director of the musical "Pearl and the Pumpkin" Andrea. She loved it.

Bill Campbell said...

Denslow's illustrations liven up any story...Billy Bounce did inspire an early 1960's cartoon short that can be found on YouTube - not with Denslow's artwork, but still an interesting oddity.