BAUM, L. Frank

(1856 - 1919)
“Imagination transforms the commonplace into the great and creates the new out of the old.”

Some authors write with such an imaginative flair that their words and phrases end up in general usage. Frank Baum is one such author – when he wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the expressions “munchkin’, “there’s no place like home” and “follow the yellow brick road” amongst many others, all entered the English language.  Lyman Frank Baum was born in 1856 in New York State, and was a self confessed dreamer.  He started a number of different professions and businesses, none of which were particularly successful.  When he was 40 he decided to turn his hand to writing whimsical children’s fiction, and in the spring of 1898 the story of The Wonderful  Wizard of Oz started to take shape. Once having finished, he is said to have framed the pencil stub he had used to write the story, recognizing that it had been involved in creating something great.  When it was released in 1900, with bright and colourful illustrations by William Wallace Denslow, the book became a publishing triumph and Baum went on to write a further 13 stories set in the Land of Oz.  The exceptional success of the Oz books made Baum the best-selling children’s book author in America and although he wrote other stories for children, often under pseudonyms, he will forever be associated with the adventures of a young girl and her friends in their quest for their hearts’ desires.  After his death in 1919, Baum’s publisher’s asked Ruth Plumbly Thomson to continue with the stories, which she did for a further 21 sequels.

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 L. Frank BAUM

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