Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Oz Scrapbook

1977, first edition, from Random House
David L. Greene and Dick Martin
The Oz Scrapbook
Bought new for $10.00
Good condition hardcover with worn dustjacket

By the time I got this book, I was 9 and a huge Oz fan.  I even regretted that Ruth Plumly Thompson had died the previous year and I'd never get to meet her, although at that point I only knew of her books from my 52-year-old father.  I think I'd read all of Baum's fourteen Oz books, and maybe Mo and/or Zixi as well.  The 1939 movie was also a favorite.  So this book, especially all the illustrations, a few of them in color, was a delight.

Thirty-five years later, it holds up pretty well, although of course it is dated.  The Wiz (which to this day I've only seen bits and pieces of) did not, as they predicted, influence future Oz movies.  As I mentioned in my review of Tin Woodman, their opinions of the individual books affected my assessments as a child and even on the rereads for this blog.  They're even-handed, harsh when they have to be, as with the abysmal animation in NBC's Return to Oz (1964).  Martin illustrated Merry Go Round in Oz, and both men were friends with Thompson, so there are times when they seem a little too gentle about Baum's successors, or Neill's.  They don't address the racism of Baum or Thompson, although there is a brief discussion of feminism in Land of Oz.

With so many photos and drawings, the text is overshadowed at times, even for an adult reader.  Generally a solid book, still with useful information, as long as you don't mind the omission of later Oz spin-offs, such as Wicked, the novel and musical, or even the more (in)famous Return to Oz, the visually impressive but disturbing 1985 movie.

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