So, I felt like it would be appropriate to discuss my first copy of the book for my first real blog post.
Back in 1991, we were at North Hills Mall. It was a local mall that we frequented fairly often on Friday nights. We’d meet my Dad after work and go to Luby’s Cafeteria. In fact, it was at this very Luby’s in 1992 that my Dad convinced me (to my mother’s chagrin) to stand on the table and belt out “Meet Me in St. Louis” to the restaurant. I got $6 in tips that night. Sometimes, I miss being cute.
But I digress, it was on one of those nights that the Friends of the North Richland Hills Public Library were having their annual book sale. My family has always been big on books. I started reading at about age 4 on my own. My Mom had a collection of Bobbsey Twin books, and Dad had a ton of his own. Reading was always encouraged. [Edit: Mom informs me that I actually was reading on my own at age 3, before I was fully potty trained. Clearly I had priorities.]
By this point, I was well aware of the MGM film. And by well aware I mean “hard core obsessed to the point of annoying anyone around me.” So while we were there, I found a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This was my first edition of the book.
Not long after, my grandmother (Nannie) would start reading the book to me, usually 1-2 chapters every time I spent the night with her (usually on Saturdays). And that was my first introduction.
This edition was first published by Whitman in 1970. From what I can tell, this is their second edition of the book. There is one earlier edition with two printings with different illustrations.
This edition was offered both individually and a Folger’s premium, both in hardback. There are at least two variants of the Folger’s offer (which probably would date it further if I could find an advertisement) as well as an edition without the Folger’s offer (I do not have that edition). My assumption is the 2-lb. offer was probably printed first, since it has the traditional Whitman endpapers (as seen above), where the Vacuum Coffee offer features blank endpapers.
There was a soft back release in 1979 as well.
The illustrations in this edition are by Erika Markling. They are attractive enough, printed all in green ink. However, she chose some very interesting things to illustrate. Of the eleven illustrations none are of the Cyclone, or the Wicked Witch of the West or Glinda. Instead, she focused on the Winged Monkeys, the Hammerheads, and the Forest of the Fighting Trees. Additionally, while she did illustrate the meeting of Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion but she did not illustrate the meeting of Scarecrow.
If I’m honest, while the illustrations are attractive, they’re not my favorites. I frequently feel like the background is too crowded, and the fact she chose to not illustrate some of the bigger moments is a bit of a let down.
So, there you have it. My first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This is kinda where the book collecting began.
What was your first edition? What’s your take on Markiling’s illustrations? Is there another variant I don’t know about? Let me know in the comments!