Friday, October 17, 2014

Scholastic Fest: #10,
The Wizard of Oz

  • Title: The Wizard of Oz
  • Author: L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)
  • Illustrator: Paul Granger (the pseudonym used by Don Hedin)
  • Publisher: Scholastic Book Services
  • Year: Unclear. This is a Scholastic offering that, as you might imagine, received many printings over the years. It is copyright 1958 by TAB Books. This edition looks like it might be from the 1970s (based on the title page).
  • Excerpt:
    "It's a mystery," replied the Lion. "I suppose I was born that way. All the other animals in the forest naturally expect me to be brave, for the Lion is everywhere thought to be the King of Beasts. I learned that if I roared very loudly every living thing was frightened and got out of my way. Whenever I've met a man I've been awfully scared; but I just roared at him, and he has always run away as fast as he could go. If the elephants and the tigers and the bears had ever tried to fight me, I should have run myself — I'm such a coward; but just as soon as they hear me roar they all try to get away from me, and of course I let them go."
  • Notes: To continue the theme of books with witches this week, here's the gorgeous Scholastic paperback cover of The Wizard of Oz. ... I'm in the generation that grew up watching the special network television broadcasts of the movie version and wondering about the urban legend of the hanging munchkin in the background of one scene. ... For me, one of the fun revelations about this book is that it was illustrated by "Paul Granger." That was the professional pseudonym for Don Hedin (1920-2012), who might be best remembered by my generation as one of the primary illustrators of the Choose Your Own Adventure series. In Justin Sewell's blog on Goodreads, he wrote a wonderful 2013 post in praise of Hedin. Here's an excerpt:
    "Hedin had a gift for being able to see the world through a child's eyes, and rendering scenes in such a way as to gently deliver an often heavy payload. His simply drawn protagonists had surprisingly expressive faces, leaving young readers no doubt what emotion they should be feeling at this particular part of a given book. ... A seer of the world through children's eyes. A man who could render the terrifying amusing and the absurd plausible. A guy millions knew by another name, but shouldn't have."
    You should definitely check out Sewell's entire blog post — In Praise of Don Hedin (a.k.a. "Paul Granger") — which also details, hiliariously, his hand in the creation of a CYOA homage/parody titled Who Killed John F. Kennedy?

    (And that's how you get from Margaret Hamilton to JFK in a single blog post, kids.)

From the back cover of this edition...

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