Michael Patrick Hearn notes in The Annotated Wizard of Oz (p185) that this episode was changed in the 1902 musical adaptation of the book: the Good Witch creates a snowstorm which breaks the spell of the poppy field, allowing the characters to escape – and that this feature is the only original element from the musical that was then incorporated into the great 1939 MGM film. No doubt training hundreds of mice to pull a cart was too great a challenge.
Denlow first collaborated with Baum by contributing two illustrations to the author’s privately printed collection of verse, By The Candelabra’s Glare (1898). When Baum decided to expand some of these poems into a children’s book, he turned to Denslow, and together they created Father Goose His Book (published by George Hill, 1899). Excellent sales led immediately to a 2nd book, a “modernized fairy tale”, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). Its great success produced a third collaboration, Dot and Tot of Merryland (1901), but also to personal frictions, in part over who deserved the credit for their Oz triumph. These problems came to the fore with the musical adaptation of the “Wizard”, in which Denslow was largely uninvolved (though he profited handsomely from the production). Their partnership soon ended, and though Baum would publish 13 more Oz books (illustrated by John R Neill), the “Wizard” would be the only one illustrated by Denslow.
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is considered by many to be the first great American children’s book, one of those rare cases in which the text and pictures combine in perfect harmony. Denslow’s original art for this work is exceedingly rare in the marketplace – even Justin Schiller did not have one in his landmark collection of Oz (passionately collected for over 25 years, and sold at Swann in 1978).
A marvelous drawing of these three beloved Oz characters.
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