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Showing posts from August 9, 2007

The Real Wizard of Oz

From 1974-1977 as a child living on the hippie trail, snuggly ensconced in my family's house-truck, traveling over hill and dale throughout north America, I had the time and inclination to fall deeply in love with L. Frank Baum's glorious "Oz" books. There was a collection of 12 or so of these books in the house-truck, and I read each one over and over again. These books were my friends while we were on the road. My family didn't have a regular life, we were always traveling, but so were the characters in the books. Dorothy's adventures were dangerous and exciting and full of creative twists, which made my own unsettled state seem more regular, or normal.
While we drove across Kansas, or parked in Idaho, or parked with friends in Nevada, I sank into these books, into another world, and was throughly immersed by the brilliance of John Rae Neill's illustrations. Neill uses pen and ink to create natural, yet wildly opulent characters and fantastic creat…