L. Frank Baum’s timeless classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the ﬁrst uniquely American fairy tale. A combination of enchanting fantasy and piercing social commentary, this remarkable story has entertained and beguiled readers of all ages since it was ﬁrst published in 1900. Ray Bradbury writes in his Introduction, “Both [Baum and Shakespeare] lived inside their heads with a mind gone wild with wanting, wishing, hoping, shaping, dreaming,” and it is this same hunger that makes all of us continue to seek out the story of Oz—and be nourished by it.
This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the text of the deﬁnitive ﬁrst edition and includes the New York Times review of that edition as well as the original Preface by the author.
For many of us, the adventures of Dorothy in Oz will forever be associated not with Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" but with W. W. Denslow's exceedingly odd line drawings for the original editions of Baum's Oz series. The Viennese artist Lisbeth Zwerger, however, goes a long way toward providing a new and refreshed set of images for the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the humbug wizard. These illustrations are often cockeyed, with occasional realistic details thrown in, like a crow with a corncob in its beak in the first portrait of the Scarecrow. The characters have a poignance and oddity that escaped the makers of the Oz movie.