First published in 1900, L. Frank Baum's classic children's tale is one of the world's most beloved, enduring fantasy classics -- and, perhaps not as recognized as it ought to be for establishing a new, wholly-American sort of mythology. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been translated into more than forty languages, and of course, served as the basis for one of history's most popular films, The Wizard of Oz, first released in 1939. Nearly everyone is familiar with the story of Dorothy from Kansas, and her little dog Toto. This is Dorothy's original adventure in Oz, when she's carried away from her Kansas farm by the fateful tornado. Together with her friends the Tin Woodsman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow, Dorothy overcomes the Wicked Witch of the West, and befriends the amazing and wonderful Wizard of Oz. Those familiar only with the movie will find many more adventures in this book -- adding to the delight and wonder.
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.