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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bradford Exchange, Book 2

A couple weeks ago, I received my second Oz book from the Bradford Exchange. A question was raised in my earlier posting for this series, as to why I would bother buying this set of books since I already have the series in first editions. As to that, facsimiles fascinate me, partially due to the fact that they're never quite the same as the original thing.

A very nice job has been done with The Marvelous Land of Oz. In the comments for my posting on the first book in the series, David Maxine of Hungry Tiger Press pointed out the lesser quality in the color printing of the book, and it's true that the color plates were not quite the flat, bright images they should be. I have to say that there is a certain rough, grainy quality to the color plates in this title as well.

On the right is a comparison - a first edition plate on the left and a facsimile on the right.

But these are the best facsimile versions I've seen done - the only other attempt that I'm aware of are the Books of Wonder series, which do a very nice job of presenting the original material - but there are some deletions and certain editorial changes which have caused controversy, and the bindings are not true facsimiles of the originals. However, they are a very nice set of hardcover color-plate books available at a lower price point than the Bradford Exchange series.

Bradford is working hard to create the real heft and feeling of the original books - the stamped fabric covers have been very well done. With Wonderful Wizard, a decision was made to reproduce the book in its earliest state, with several misprints and details that were changed in later printings. Marvelous Land is a hybrid of the earliest state binding, with no silver outline to the title, but the second state text - some swapping of illustrations and a publishers line added to the copyright notice. I'm not sure why they didn't follow the same first state idea for this volume. Anyway, these are quibbles and the books are quite attractive. In the end, the only way to have a true first edition Oz book is to buy a first edition Oz book - but these make a very decent substitute.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Summer always seems like a time to have an Oz project in the works - and this has been quite a summer with heat waves and storms! Here's another shot of some of my growing batch of Ozzy portraits based on John R. Neill drawings.

I still haven't come up with a particular use for these, although I've been looking into Zazzle.com. Here's a coffee mug using some of the paintings!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Father Goose Music

I've been lucky this year, in being able to fill a couple holes in my collection of books by L. Frank Baum. I posted about The Navy Alphabet back in February, and now I've acquired another book published by the George M. Hill Company, The Songs of Father Goose.

I've had a later Bobbs-Merrill version of this book for quite a while (on the left), but I was happy to run across a nice copy of the first edition. It's a book that frankly holds little interest for me, as it's basically a rehash of Father Goose, His Book with the addition of music. W. W. Denslow created a new cover design, and his illustrations are reprinted within the book, in black and white - the lack of color is unfortunate. Still, it's nice to have a good example, and interesting to see how much better the printing was on the first edition, as opposed to my later copy, from approximately 1920.

The songs must have been popular in their day - the publishers issued the music in sheet music folios (which are now very scarce) as well as the book format. In fact, the cover seen on the later Bobbs-Merrill version shown above was first used on the song folios. There were also newspaper supplements, two of which are shown below. And a certain immortality was added to the music when, in the 1944 movie Meet Me in St Louis, Judy Garland asks Margaret O'Brien if she would like to sing "Did You Ever See a Rabbit Climb a Tree?" - the first song in The Songs of Father Goose!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Judy Judy Judy

This is just too surreal not to show - Dorothy dolls being created by R. John Wright.