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Books of Oz

The Oz explosion is exponential. I was amazed to find that over 1000 books have been written and published as a result of that first volume which came out in 1900. Certainly Baum had achieved success with his first bestseller, Father Goose: His Book. Despite that book's popularity, none of its several sequels came close to the initial success. The Oz stories, however, were so popular that they outsold every one of Baum's other series books. So much so, that despite his efforts to end the series, popular opinion and financial needs forced him to continue writing Oz stories until his death in 1919.

After Baum passed on, many other authors filled the position of "Royal Historian" of Oz. All in all, there were 40 official books published by Reilly & Lee in about a 60 year period. Since then, literally hundreds of authors have published and contributed their own stories to the series. What is so amazing is the lasting appeal of Oz even 100 years after it was "discovered". I can think of no other single book, other than the Bible, which has had such a lasting impact on American culture.

In 1939, the MGM movie with Judy Garland further solidified Oz's place in the collective consciousness of America. Countless films and television episodes of the past 20 years have some reference to Oz. "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.", "Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!", "I'll get you my pretty...and your little dog too!", are just a few of the many phrases in use every day.

It all came down to one man's vision of a truly American Fairyland. And in writing The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum has indeed created a more colorful world for all of us.

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