27 November 2006

New Baum Picture Book

The South Dakota State Historical Society is publishing a new picture book based on L. Frank Baum's short story "The Discontented Gopher." (That's he to the right.)

The full-color illustrations are by Carolyn Digby Conahan (who alerted me to this book). After Trina Schart Hyman and Jean Gralley, Cricket chose her to draw the little creatures in the bottom margin of the magazine.

Baum's "Gopher" tale originally appeared in The Delineator, a woman's magazine, in 1905. (It was common then for such magazines to include stories for readers to share with their children.) At the end of his life Baum hoped that it and his other "Animal Fairy Tales" would be published in a single volume, perhaps even as an Oz book, but that didn't happen until the stories entered the public domain. Then the International Wizard of Oz Club put out an Animal Fairy Tales collection, followed years later by Books of Wonder.

The South Dakota State Historical Society promises more picture books in this "Prairie Tales" series, but I don't know if any will be by Baum. The next is Zitkala-Sa’s Dance in the Buffalo Skull.

1 comment:

mc said...

In addition to Carolyn's 'site The South Dakota State Historical Society has a website up promoting the book.