Here at “The Art of Oz,” I’ve been slowly trying to plan out the illustrators to discuss and if there’s a specific order to it. The answer is no. There is no order. There is however a first post!
Growing up, there are three artists that seemed to be everywhere: Michael Hague, Charles Santore and Paul Granger. Some of you may be thinking “Paul who?” Paul actually pre-dates the other two in terms of illustrators.
In 1958, Scholastic published their first edition of “The Wizard of Oz” with illustrations by Paul Granger. From what I can tell, these were reprinted again with new covers in 1980, 1990 and 2001. Additionally, an English language printing from Spain was released in 1992.
Paul Granger’s illustrations were never a favorite of mine. I think his Dorothy is relatively man-ish, the Scarecrow’s nose is weird and the Cowardly Lion is far too cartoonish. His Witch is ok. Interestingly, he chose not to illustrate Glinda, most of the Wizard’s permutations, or the discovery of the Tin Woodman…but he did illustrate the Hammerheads and the empty throne upon the return from the land of the West.
Paul Granger was also a bit of a mystery to me. Many of the other Oz illustrators illustrated other books, but I didn’t actively remember encountering him elsewhere, and given how long his illustrations were in print (in fact, they’re still in print, according to the Scholastic website), I was surprised, so I did some searching.
It turns out, Paul Granger did also illustrated a handful of the Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80s! It also turns out that Paul Granger isn’t his real name. His real name was Don Hedin. He was born on November 5, 1920 and died in March 23, 2012. He was a decorated WWII Air Force veteran in several campaigns and eventually did some painting trips for the Air Force. He later went to work for Reader’s Digest as an illustrator and later Art Director, and even designed a few stamps for the USPS. He seemed to live a very full life (at least, according to the obituary that I got this information from).
What’s your take, gentle readers? Fan or no?