The Patchwork Girl of Oz

April 24, 2010

Just finished reading several books from the Wizard of Oz series as per my New Year’s resolutions to read the entire collection (9/42). I’ve been borrowing quite a few books from the children’s collection at Simon Fraser University’s, Bennett Library.

wizard of oz illustrations

The Patchwork Girl features various odd quirks that one wouldn’t usually notice in children literature, such as determining specific qualities that define if you are ’smart’ or ‘crazy,’ food pills that contain an entire feast of food, foolish owls and wisdom of camels.

wizard of oz illustrations
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz books were written during the early 1900s and contains 42 books in total: fourteen of those were written by the original author Frank Baum and the rest were written by Ruth Plumly Thompson and various ghostwiters.

Incidentally, the official copyright of the series expired during the 1980s, which resulted in that eyesore adaption ‘Return to Oz’. In fact, much of the film’s sequences and adventures were based on excerpts from both Ozma of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz. :S

wizard of oz illustrations
From what I’ve read of the other books (Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Scarecrow of Oz, Ozma of Oz, The Lost Princess of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Glinda of Oz ), the series is intended to be light-hearted and jovial 😀 They are certainly an ‘original’ variety of characters and inhabitants of the ‘fairyland’ sourced from children’s fan-letters.

Many of these people or live-things are really fantastic, such as glass-bottle shaped creatures that live on thistledown, a man who can only breathe & speak musical notes, a town subsisting only of bakery-goods people such as croissants, doughnuts, loaves etc.. all while while still retaining a whimsical and matter-of-fact attitude only possessed by children.

wizard of oz illustrations
Money is also of no object and contentment in what you already have seems to be the prevailing message.

Incidentally, sometimes while reading the Patchwork Girl I was reminded of various scenes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and obviously, the famous psychology study titled “Who’s Really Crazy in Here Anyway?”

wizard of oz illustrations
In this study, various scientists infiltrated different asylums and psychiatric hospitals under the guise of mental patients, but resuming rational behavior once they were admitted.

Humorously, the doctors and nurses continued rating their strange behavior and performances which was a proof that, insanity is relative in the eye of the beholder 😉

I truly love this series and the illustrations. More on that, next time!

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