The Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series has always been one of my favorite collections of children’s literature, not only for the narratives that satirize popular culture and politics during the 1920s, but also due in part to the wonderful illustrations and fanciful characters from the imagination of children’s fan letters, inked and drawn by both John R. Neill & W.W. Denslow .

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Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of both the 1902 stage play and the 1939 film version. The story chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a storm.

Thanks in part to the 1939 MGM movie, it is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated. Its initial success, and the success of the popular 1902 Broadway musical which Baum adapted from his original story, led to Baum’s writing thirteen more Oz books.

The original book has been in the public domain in the US since 1956.Baum dedicated the book “to my good friend & comrade, My Wife”, Maud Gage Baum. In January 1901, George M. Hill Company, the publisher, completed printing the first edition, which probably totaled around 35,000 copies.

When I was reading The Happiness Project the other day at the university’s bookstore, the paragraph that jumped out was a short sentence describing another bookstore that sold a “Wizard’s Special” edition of the 15 Frank Baum Oz’s books ($225)!! Books of Wonder, a store located in Manhattan, was founded in 1980, and is New York City’s largest and oldest children’s bookstore and the city’s leading specialist in children’s literature.

Among the various departments in the store are sections devoted to children’s classic and contemporary picture books, board books for infants and toddlers, foreign language children’s books, reference books for children (dictionaries, atlases, etc.), non-fiction, and chapter books and novels for children from beginning readers to teens.

And, of course, there is the world famous Oz section – a whole bookcase devoted to the many Oz books by L. Frank Baum and his successors.

This is beyond my current expenses, so in the meantime, I’ll be lusting after these books from afar and continue borrowing other World of Oz editions from the university’s library.

The following list below are the books included in the Wizard’s Special edition, and the asterisks indicates those that have been read.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1*This stunning edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz features color pictures on nearly every spread. Denslow’s 24 stunning color plates capture the high points of Dorothy’s adventures, while his 130-plus two-color illustrations surround the text, fill the margins, even have the text printed over them.
  • The Marvelous Land of Oz #2*Here is the story of a boy named Tip and his travels through the endlessly fascinating land of Oz. Along the way he meets up with our old friends the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman as well as new friends like Jack Pumpkinhead, H.M. Wogglebug, T.E., and the wooden Sawhorse. Their efforts to thwart the wicked plot of the evil witch Mombi and the revolt of the women of Oz.
  • Ozma of Oz #3*Ozma of Oz — Baum’s third magical adventure set in Oz — reunites readers and listeners of all ages with Dorothy Gale of Kansas as she makes her second journey to Oz. Here you will meet such beloved old friends as the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion. You’ll also meet new favorites like the Hungry Tiger, whose appetite is never quite satisfied; Billina, the tart-tongued hen; and that ozzy marvel: Tik-Tok the mechanical clock-work man.
  • Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz #4*Now that Dorothy’s found a way to get to Oz, there’s no keeping her on the farm. In Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, a California earthquake sends Dorothy, her kitten Eureka, her cousin Zeb, and his horse Jim on a fantastic journey through underground fairy realms. And who should they meet below the earth, but the Wizard of Oz himself! Together they make their way to Oz, where even more surprises await them.
  • The Road to Oz #5*Dorothy is on The Road to Oz again! Joined by new friends Shaggy Man, Button Bright, Polychrome, and Toto, too, she’s in a race to reach the Emerald City in time for Ozma’s royal birthday party.
  • The Emerald City of Oz #6 *When Dorothy, Aunt Em, and Uncle Henry need a new home, Dorothy comes up with the perfect answer — The Emerald City of Oz. But while Dorothy and her family are being welcomed to Oz, the wicked Nome King is busily plotting to conquer Oz and have his dastardly revenge on Princess Ozma and Dorothy.
  • The Patchwork Girl of Oz #7*When Unc Nunkie is accidentally turned into a statue, it is up to Ojo the Munchkin boy and Scraps — the Patchwork Girl of Oz, to find the magical ingredients that will cure Unc Nunkie. Joining Ojo and Scraps on this daring quest are Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Bungle the glass cat, and the Woozy.
  • Tik-Tok of Oz #8*Meet the first girl to come to Oz from America since Dorothy Gale! Betsy Bobbin of Oklahoma is swept off a ship at sea and into magical adventures when she meets the Shaggy Man, who’s seeking a way to free his brother from the wicked Nome King.
  • The Scarecrow of Oz #9When a whirlpool pulls Trot and her peg-legged sailor friend, Cap’n Bill, into an underwater cave, they find themselves at the start of a wild adventure that eventually brings them to Oz. Befriended by the propeller-tailed Ork and Button-Bright — who’s lost once again — they find their way to Oz, only to run afoul of the evil King Krewl and the wicked witch Blinkie.
  • Rinkitink in Oz #10When merry King Rinkitink and his surly goat Bilbil take a holiday on the peaceful Isle of Pingaree, their lives are turned upside down when the tiny island is conquered by invading warriors.
  • The Lost Princess In Oz #11*Ozma has disappeared! And so have most of the magical treasures of Oz — including the Magic Picture, the Wizard’s black bag, and Glinda’s Book of Records! With nary a clue to guide them, all of the Emerald City’s most beloved citizens volunteer to search for their missing monarch.
  • The Tin Woodman of Oz #12*What ever happened to the young munchkin maid who was once the love of the Tin Woodman? In this exciting tale, the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow set out to discover her fate.
  • The Magic of Oz #13Ozma’s kingdom is threatened once again by Ruggedo, the dastardly former Nome King. This time he’s teamed up with a young munchkin lad named Kiki Aru who’s discovered a secret word which allows him to transform anyone into whatever shape he pleases.
  • Glinda of Oz #14 *Determined to stop the fighting between the Flatheads and the Skeezers, Ozma and Dorothy set out for their homelands in the far north of Oz. No sooner do they escape the warlike leader of the Flatheads then they are imprisoned by the cruel Queen Coo-ee-oh, who has submerged her city beneath the waters of the Lake of the Skeezers.
  • Little Wizard Stories of OzBaum’s The Little Wizard Stories of Oz is a collection of six humorous fairy tales which contain some of the funniest incidents chronicled in Oz history!