Monday, May 3, 2021

The Royalest Book of Oz

The Royal Book of Oz was the first entry in the Oz book series written by Ruth Plumly Thompson, the writer who took over the Oz books after L. Frank Baum, creator of Oz, died. In an attempt to get readers to accept a new Oz author, the publisher slapped Baum's name on the book as author, despite Thompson's complete and original authorship of the text of The Royal Book of Oz.

Ruth Plumly Thompson went on to add eighteen more books to the official Oz series (as well as two unofficial Oz books, a slew of poems, a short story, and a play). Her authorship of The Royal Book of Oz has been public knowledge since the 1950s, and Thompson herself never tried to conceal the fact that she wrote the book, but some ignorant publishers continue to issue editions of The Royal Book of Oz that credit L. Frank Baum as author.

Clover Press is not one of those publishers and issued a new edition of The Royal Book of Oz about a year ago. One of Clover's reasons for the new edition was to proudly credit Ruth Plumly Thompson as author. But this new edition features much more than that.

Sara Richard newly illustrated the story in color. The new illustrations feature bold new designs of favorite Oz characters. The text has been slightly updated to eliminate several racially denigrating details. And I provided a brand new Afterword to illuminate the history of how Ruth Plumly Thompson was chosen to continue the Oz books and about the writing of The Royal Book of Oz.

You can order The Royal Book of Oz direct from Clover Press here:

Ted Adams, publisher of Clover Press, has been an Oz fan since he was young. I know from talking with him that he'd be happy to publish more of Thompson's Oz books for a new generation--as long as this one sells well enough to make such a publishing program feasible. I'd like to see that happen, too.

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