May 15 Birthday: L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum, writer, artist
May 15, 1857 – May 6, 1919
THE ROAD TO OZ: TWISTS, TURNS, BUMPS, AND THUMPS IN THE LIFE OF L. FRANK BAUM (Random House, 2008) by Kathleen Krull. Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.
From Publishers Weekly:
Krull (Hillary Rodham Clinton) turns to the frequently failing but resilient man behind the 1900 classic, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Her very readable account begins with Lyman Frank Baum’s privileged
childhood in a wealthy family and continues through his many attempted
careers, such as chicken breeder, newspaper editor and window dresser.
“Bad luck, bad planning, too much ambition, too much risk… (‘Will he
ever amount to anything?’ some people whispered).” The chatty narrative
paints a well-rounded, occasionally irreverent portrait of Baum as a
plucky, earnest entrepreneur and doting family man who loved telling
stories to his four sons. Numerous parenthetical asides interject
well-researched tidbits, such as jokes Baum recycled in his Aberdeen
(Dakota Territory) newspaper. Hawke’s (Library Lion) jaunty
acrylics fit Baum’s optimistic spirit, while vignettes drawn in green
highlight some of Baum’s inspirations, e.g., drawings of the Tin Man
accompany a passage about how the writer once made an all-metal dummy
for a hardware store window. A detailed author’s note rounds out this
cheeky yet informative biography.