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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Fair!

Our local summer book fair was held this weekend, and this year there were quite a few Oz items in the booths. The highlight was a first edition copy of Mother Goose in Prose, with an inscription by L. Frank Baum - "2 the 2 VerBecks - (Pa and kid)".  This would be Frank VerBeck, who illustrated A New Wonderland for Baum. I'm afraid this one was not in my price range!

I did pick up a very nice jacketed first of John R. Neill's Lucky Bucky in Oz, which will be a good upgrade from my previous copy. A feature of the first state dustjacket is the letter from Bucky, printed on the rear flap, urging readers to buy victory bonds and stamps. After all, this was World War II, and as Bucky says, "The Nazis and Japs are harder to beat than the Nomes." !

My other acquisition was not Oz related, but a piece by another artist I collect. H. J. Ford illustrated the Fairy Book Series of colored fairy books and story books, compiled by Andrew Lang. This drawing is from The All Sorts of Stories Book, published in 1911. I have a couple other drawings by Ford, from The Yellow Fairy Book and The Arabian Nights. His style of dense line work is impressive, and it's always a thrill to run across another piece of his original art!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Winkie Programs

One of the highlights of the past two Winkie conventions has been the program book created by David Maxine at Hungry Tiger Press, incorporating essays, artwork, interviews and other Ozzy surprises. A number of people have contributed work for these books, and they make a handsome addition to a collection.

I just received a copy of this year's program, the third in the series, with the convention theme of "Oz Under the Sea". Convention attendees receive a copy of the program as part of their registration - an additional perk for attendance! It's not too late - this year's Winkie Convention is July 8th to 10th, and convention information can be found here.

This year marks anniversaries of both The Sea Fairies and Pirates of Oz, and the program includes writings on both these topics. It's also packed with artwork by John R. Neill, W.W. Denslow, and other artists - and features a cover by Eric Shanower!

Friday, June 17, 2011

American Fairy Tales

Here are two copies of L. Frank Baum's American Fairy Tales, published in 1901. I've had the copy on the right (with red flowers on the spine) for some time, but I just picked up the copy on the left with dark green flowers.

Both copies are worn, but this is a title that often seems to suffer from excessive wear. In fact, I've seen more copies on which the cover has nearly been completely obliterated than otherwise! I'm not sure why this should be the case - obviously white cloth tends to muck up faster than other colors, but I shouldn't think that would make the inks more vulnerable. Perhaps it's just an anomaly of the copies I've personally run across.

The green flowers seem to be less common than the red, and it's interesting to note that the copy with green flowers uses a brighter tone of red for the cover image than that seen on the version with red flowers. Also, in this case, the stamping has left a sharper impression in the cloth on the green flower example. It's all minor details, but for me that's a large part of the fun and interest of collecting!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Convention Time!

Summer seems to be the time for Oz conventions and festivals! Unfortunately, I don't tend to get to any, but there are quite a few to choose from.

In previous posts I've mentioned the Chittenango Oz-Stravaganza which was held last week, and the upcoming IWOC National Convention at The Land of Oz Park in Banner Elk, North Carolina (Aug. 5 - 7 ).

There's also a Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival in Indiana in September, and this coming weekend is the Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

But the longest running convention is the Winkie Convention held in Pacific Grove, California, coming up on July 8 - 10. This years theme is Under the Sea, celebrating the 100th anniversary of L. Frank Baum's The Sea Fairies, and the 80th anniversary of Ruth Plumly Thompson's Pirates in Oz. There's even a WinkieCon Boutique on Zazzle, providing shirts and tote bags, featuring the two lovely images seen in this posting!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Judy's Birthday

Yesterday (June 10) would have marked Judy Garland's 89th birthday. So here's a silly little book in honor of the event, Judy Garland and the Hoodoo Costume!

This was published in 1945 by Whitman Publishing, as part of a series of books that built stories around popular stars of the day. There were titles starring Jane Withers, Betty Grable, Deanna Durbin, Ann Sheridan, Bonita Granville, etc. The dustjacket on this title even mentions that Judy's "unforgettable role in The Wizard of Oz marked the height in her career as a child star" - the movie itself wouldn't be released again until 1949.

The stories themselves are typical teen mystery/detective fare - but with the added spice of a Hollywood star! The whole thing is a bit of a stitch - as are the illustrations.....poor Judy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bradford Exchange Books

Today I received my first book in the series of facsimile Oz books currently being offered by The Bradford Exchange. I wasn't among the first to sign up for this offer, as I did have to convince myself that yet another set of the books was a good idea....but curiosity finally overcame any other objections!
These books are being produced to be as close to the original printings as possible - and judging by The Wonderful Wizard, they're doing an excellent job! All the first state points of the book are present, including the earliest green version of the George M. Hill Co. stamp on the spine. The only non-original material is a numbered page signed by Robert Baum. In fact, I can easily imagine these books might cause some headaches down the road for inexperienced collectors!

The one drawback to this book is the unfortunately designed dustjacket. As this series is obviously aimed at collectors, and much care has been taken to produce a lovely book, it's difficult to understand the reasoning behind not creating reproduction jackets. I can't help thinking the publishers missed an excellent opportunity to provide a truly complete facsimile series. This will be even more evident with copies of Ozma, Road, and Patchwork Girl, all of which used completely different images on their jackets than on the book covers. As these books are being offered as a premium object, it seems like a foolish choice not to provide a complete piece.

Anyway, I look forward to receiving my next title. And perhaps some enterprising person will produce a set of proper jackets, to truly finish a lovely set of books!