Last week we looked at Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz - this Wednesday we journey down The Road to Oz. This "white edition" is relatively unchanged from the usual Reilly & Lee edition beyond the new cover design and a few minor additions to the fore matter - but the cover is one of my favorites. The front cover is based on one of John R. Neill's finest pen-and-ink drawings from the interior of the book. I don't know that Dick owned this original drawing at the time he designed the "white edition," but he did eventually have it in his collection.
|Original Neill drawing from THE ROAD TO OZ originally in the collection of Dick Martin.|
|Cover of the 1909 First Edition.|
Of course the "white edition" of Road is the only one in the series to have its correct original endpapers, since Dick chose these handsome Road to Oz end sheets for each of the fourteen volumes.
As I mentioned above, the fore matter in Road got very few changes. For the "Famous Oz Books" ad on page one Dick created a new drawing based on the donkey-headed Shaggy Man from the cover of the first edition.
Dick added an Ozzy border to the original ownership leaf (see below) which I think quite an attractive change.
|Original at left - "white edition" at right.|
Facing the half-title page we come to an odd choice - Dick has added a flock of butterflies drawn by Maginel Wright Enright for Baum's Policeman Bluejay (1907).
The title page has been reset and Dick has added a small head of Jack Pumpkinhead to replace the usual Reilly & Lee "lamp" device. Finally, facing the author's note, Dick has printed one of the "laughing children" chapter headings with an "Oz" in the center. And after the ads at the end of the book we get the redrawn Toto head from the spine once again.
The Road to Oz was my favorite Oz book as a child and in many ways it still is. No Oz book but Wizard introduces so many good and long-lasting characters, the alleged plotlessness never bothered me - road-trips don't have plots - and no Oz book ever had finer illustrations.
I try to add a little bonus item to many of the "white edition" posts and today's is a photo of young Eric Shanower (with his sister), holding the first full-length Oz book he ever had - the "white edition" of The Road to Oz.
|Eric Shanower holding his first Oz book - THE ROAD TO OZ.|
"White Edition Wednesday" is going away for the holidays but it will be back on January 11th with The Emerald City of Oz.