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Ozma, Freddy, Carbonel

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  • David Lenander
    ... The jam story is apparently recounted in the biography that John Clute was reviewing, _James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon_ by Julie
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 16, 2006
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      > Yes, I know about the jam story (cf. www.tiptree.com), though I don't
      > know enough about Sheldon to know if it's true.

      The jam story is apparently recounted in the biography that John Clute
      was reviewing, _James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B.
      Sheldon_ by Julie Phillips, because he quotes it. I don't believe that
      his suggestion that Sheldon exploited and was self-conscious about a
      reference to Baum's character, "Tip," in her insistence that her many
      correspondents address her that way (not "James" or even "Mr. Tiptree,"
      apparently) as she referred to herself by "Tip," excludes the
      possibility that she and her husband chose the name, "Tiptree" from two
      kinds of jam. I'm not in a position to judge the accuracy of his
      hypothesis, but my point was that it was plausible, and implied a
      currency and influence for the second Oz book that was more widespread
      than John was suggesting.

      The absence of the Oz books or the Freddy books from the bookstore
      shelves certainly shows that they're not so popular as _The Hobbit_,
      Harry Potter, or the many books in the misfortunes series (I forget the
      title), or even the many series that appear to be clones of either
      those or Harry Potter, even including some by respected writers, such
      as Jenny Nimmo (the Charlie Bone books), but in some larger sense, I
      wonder if we're talking about the same sort of popularity. I can
      attest that the reissues of both series are available (apparently) via
      Amazon.com, in new copies, not just used copies, though original
      editions (not even necessarily the first, I noticed) can run hundreds
      of dollars for a single copy. But they are in the local public
      libraries, and I have recently seen copies of both series on the
      shelves at DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis (a SF & F specialty
      store)--even though they've dropped their children's books section.
      I'm pretty sure that the books are circulating, as well. They were
      quite popular in the Chiildren's Room of the St. Paul Publlic Library,
      back in the 70s, when I worked there, even though the books had all
      been out of print for a while at that point (both series went out of
      print, I think, in the 60s). The Oz books had been in print, at least
      some of them, up until the early 60s, when the last (40th volume) was
      printed. I know that the Baum books were at least still in print in
      the early 70s as we ordered three of the books missing from our series
      holding (I remember including _Emerald City_, and _Tik-Tok_ as among
      the books that Mrs. Helfeld ordered when I pointed out the gap in our
      holdings--she also managed to obtain reprints of some of the E. Nesbit
      books, which had been unavailable for a while).

      In contrast, I don't think many of the fine books by such writers as
      Patricia Wrightson, Alan Garner, William Mayne, Rosemary Sutcliffe,
      Margot Benary-Isbert, which I remember from my childhood or my time in
      the Children's Room, are known at all to today's children. Many of my
      daughter's friends are at least aware of some of the other Oz books,
      though maybe not Freddy the Pig (my daughter hates Freddy, even though
      she loved some of the other characters, especially Jinx the cat).
      I've been checking Amazon this morning to see if the books are even in
      print and available, and many books seem to be, but others are only
      available as second-hand books from the 60s or so, but they're not in
      public libraries or bookstores. Along with _The Hobbit_ there were a
      few other books that I tried to read every year when I was in the
      middle and upper grades, one was Benary-Isbert's _The Wicked
      Enchantment_, which I read during Holy Week. The book had a 1986
      paperback edition, supposedly because the editor (at Ace??) had loved
      it as a child, and I still think it's a wonderful book, but you won't
      find it at most libraries or available at bookstores, even though the
      author was heralded in the 50s and 60s. She was best known for _The
      Ark_ and _Rowan Farm_, two non-fantasies that I also loved, but haven't
      reread since grade school. I also remember a mystery story (though not
      well) called _Blue Mystery_. It astonishes me that the Eleanor Cameron
      books are so little available today, she won the National Book Award
      for _The Court of the Stone Children_, and her Mushroom Planet books
      were enormously popular when I worked in the public library, but today
      they're mostly out of print (though there was a reissue of the first
      two a few years ago). She was a fine stylist. Her book _A Room Made
      of Windows_ appears to perhaps still be fairly available, perhaps
      because I remember getting it from the Arrow Book Club, and maybe that
      kind of availability continues?? I loved the Bill Bergson detective
      stories by Astrid Lindgren, but they've never been reprinted since the
      60s, it appears (at least in English). I've found some her books
      (aside from Pippi Longstocking and the Children of Noisy Village) at
      the local Swedish Institute bookshop, but they're not widely available
      (again, aside from Pippi). _The Horse Without a Head_ was televised by
      the Walt Disney program, and it was a terrific book, but appears not to
      have had another American edition (I'm not sure of the original French
      title) since the 60s. (And I can't think of the author at the moment).
      Pamela Dean has often cited Barbara Sleigh's Carbonel books
      (_Carbonel, King of the Cats_, _The Kingdom of Carbonel_ and _Carbonel
      and Calidor_) as having particularly influenced her, and I've heard
      this from other writers as well. I heard the tail-end of a brief
      explanation from a publisher (either Terri Windling or Sharyn November)
      at a SF con panel about why the Sleigh books just wouldn't work as a
      reissue today, but I've never been sure why--there was a NY Times
      reissue of the first book, which is available (apparently) though I've
      never seen it, except when I obtained it via interlibrary loan a few
      years ago to read. It wasn't as good as I remember, but it was a lot
      better than a number of books that I've read for the MFA in the past
      couple of years. I've never read the third book, which never had a
      U.S. edition, and even interlibrary loan couldn't obtain it (the
      British locations in Worldcat weren't lending it, apparently).
      Personally, I like it better than Harry Potter, though it's for 3rd &
      4th graders, probably. (I really liked another book she wrote about
      kids keeping kittens in their back yards a secret, which I also
      obtained via ILL--it was nonfantasy, though).

      Maybe the most comparable books to Oz and Freddy would be the Dr.
      Doolittle books by Hugh Lofting. I didn't like these as well as the
      Baum or Brooks books, most I only read once, and I don't remember a lot
      from them (the voyage to the moon on a moth's back, the Pushmi-pulyu,
      names of some of the major animal characters, etc.) but I suspect that
      they were more "literary" in style and they were very complex in a
      variety of ways, I remember even as a child, grasping that there was
      some social commentary, humor and complicated ideas along with the
      nonsense. And he received a Newbery Award for one of the books. There
      have been a couple of major movies, and yet, while most (not all) of
      the books have been reissued, my sense is that most children don't read
      them or get caught up in them on the level of kids who read the Oz or
      Freddy books. (Of course the recent movies owe very little to the
      books, I gather, and maybe are more inspired by the 60s or 70s musical
      with Rex Harrison).

      Incidentally, John, you might want to try _Freddy the Politician_
      (Originally _Wiggins for President_) which I believe influenced _Animal
      Farm_, though most experts seem to dismiss the idea (but usually it's
      presented as influence from _To and Again_, now published as _Freddy
      Goes to Florida_, which I think is somehow intuitively obvious as
      well). Roger Sale considered this the finest of the series, and
      discussed it and other Freddy books in his book, _Fairy Tales and
      After_. It's certainly true that the series flagged along the way in
      many places, though one of my absolute favorites is a late one, _Freddy
      the Pilot_, with everything and the kitchen sink: the Bean farm
      animals, the Boomschmidt Circus animals, an evil horror comic-book
      publisher, and The Demon Woman of Grisly Gulch, which I thought one of
      the funniest books I'd read, at least at age 10.


      On Dec 15, 2006, at 6:00 AM, mythsoc@yahoogroups.com wrote:

      > . . . Ozma as Model
      > Posted by: "John D Rateliff" sacnoth@...   sacnoth32
      >
      > Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:01 am (PST)
      > Yes, I know about the jam story (cf. www.tiptree.com), though I don't
      > know enough about Sheldon to know if it's true.
      >
      > Re. the Freddy the Pig books, you have me at a disadvantage. My local
      > library in the town where I grew up didn't have them, and I never
      > heard of the books until I was nearly thirty, when someone pointed
      > out the "To and Again" subtitle of FREDDY GOES TO FLORIDA as a
      > possible parallel to THE HOBBIT's "There and Back Again". I've still
      > never read any of Brooks' work. I will point out that a quick check
      > shows not a single copy of any book from the series on the shelves in
      > three large local bookstores here (Elliott Bay Books, the best of the
      > independents, and also the nearest Borders and Barnes & Noble),
      > though they can special order. Seems they were popular during their
      > initial run (1927 to 1958), went out of print and pretty much
      > disappeared thereafter, and were revived in recent years by Overlook
      > Press (the name speaks for itself) as those who'd enjoyed them as
      > children wanted copies to share with their own kids or grandkids. The
      > same check in two of the above stores shows multiple copies of
      > WONDERFUL WIZARD on the shelves (seven different editions on the same
      > shelf in one store) and virtually none of the other books (the sole
      > exception being one copy that had two of the sequels bound with the
      > first story).
      > So my guess wd be yes, the Freddy books have slipped down into
      > the same nitch Oz would have were it not for the famous film. That's
      > the fate of many a series, I'm afraid; the best way to avoid it is
      > for a work to be exceptional in and of itself (WIND IN THE WILLOWS,
      > THE HOBBIT) or to be tied to a famous movie (OZ), or both (ALICE,
      > POOH), or for a book in the series to win the Newbery (DOLITTLE,
      > PRYDAIN, &c).
      >
      > --JDR
      >
      > > <David Bratman wrote>
      > > That really depends on your definition of "survived" and "known" and
      > > "public consciousness", doesn't it? No doubt Oz is better known
      > > today than
      > > if the film had never been made, but there are few other childrens'
      > > books
      > > of that period that are as well remembered without the help of
      > > films. Even
      > > Pooh, famous as he'd be without any adaptations, is known today
      > > just as
      > > much for the Disney films, if the films' popularity and that of
      > > film-based
      > > illustrations is any judge. There is a Pooh shop in the Hundred
      > > Acre Wood
      > > today: I've been there. Thirty years ago when I first visited
      > > there was
      > > none, nor any Pooh directions on the trails either.
      > >
      > > How about Freddy the Pig? Never had a major movie, definitely less
      > > well
      > > known today than Oz is. Would you say that those books have not
      > > survived,
      > > that they're known only to specialists and have slipped out of
      > public
      > > consciousness? Or would you say that without the MGM Oz film Oz
      > > would be
      > > less-known today than Freddy, that the Freddy books have more
      > survival
      > > value on their own merits than Oz does?
      > >
      > > I would answer a firm no to both these questions.
      >
      >
      David Lenander
      d-lena@...
      2095 Hamline Ave. N.
      Roseville, MN 55113
      651-292-8887
      http://www.umn.edu/~d-lena/RIVENDELL.html
    • WendellWag@aol.com
      In a message dated 12/16/2006 4:53:16 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, d-lena@umn.edu writes: Pamela Dean has often cited Barbara Sleigh s Carbonel books
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 16, 2006
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        In a message dated 12/16/2006 4:53:16 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
        d-lena@... writes:

        Pamela Dean has often cited Barbara Sleigh's Carbonel books
        (_Carbonel, King of the Cats_, _The Kingdom of Carbonel_ and _Carbonel
        and Calidor_) as having particularly influenced her, and I've heard
        this from other writers as well. I heard the tail-end of a brief
        explanation from a publisher (either Terri Windling or Sharyn November)
        at a SF con panel about why the Sleigh books just wouldn't work as a
        reissue today, but I've never been sure why--there was a NY Times
        reissue of the first book, which is available (apparently) though I've
        never seen it, except when I obtained it via interlibrary loan a few
        years ago to read.


        The Cats books of Barbara Sleigh are currently in print from The New York
        Review Children's Classics series, which is associated with _The New York Review
        of Books_, not _The New York Times_.

        Wendell Wagner


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Bill West
        Borders now has a three volume Chronicles of Oz series. Each volume is an omnibus with at least 6 of the OZ books and are packaged in bright green imitation
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 17, 2006
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          Borders now has a three volume "Chronicles of Oz" series.
          Each volume is an omnibus with at least 6 of the OZ books
          and are packaged in bright green imitation leather covers with
          gold print on the covers and that gilt edge look to the pages.
          I didn't even know we had them in stock until a customer asked
          for the Wizard of Oz, and I found volumes 1 and 2 shelved
          in the adult section Pricc is $19.95 ,btw. I think perhaps Baum's
          books might be in the public domain now since these are "Borders
          Classics".

          Alan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliffe (one of my favorite writers)
          are scarce but thanks to Summer Reading Lists we have some
          of their books and I get to handsell them to parents looking for
          books for children who've torn through Rowling and Lewis.




          David Lenander wrote:

          >
          >
          > The absence of the Oz books or the Freddy books from the bookstore
          > shelves certainly shows that they're not so popular as _The Hobbit_,
          > Harry Potter, or the many books in the misfortunes series (I forget the
          > title), or even the many series that appear to be clones of either
          > those or Harry Potter, even including some by respected writers, such
          > as Jenny Nimmo (the Charlie Bone books), but in some larger sense, I
          > wonder if we're talking about the same sort of popularity. I can
          > attest that the reissues of both series are available (apparently) via
          > Amazon.com, in new copies, not just used copies, though original
          > editions (not even necessarily the first, I noticed) can run hundreds
          > of dollars for a single copy. But they are in the local public
          > libraries, and I have recently seen copies of both series on the
          > shelves at DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis (a SF & F specialty
          > store)--even though they've dropped their children's books section.
          > I'm pretty sure that the books are circulating, as well. They were
          > quite popular in the Chiildren's Room of the St. Paul Publlic Library,
          > back in the 70s, when I worked there, even though the books had all
          > been out of print for a while at that point (both series went out of
          > print, I think, in the 60s). The Oz books had been in print, at least
          > some of them, up until the early 60s, when the last (40th volume) was
          > printed. I know that the Baum books were at least still in print in
          > the early 70s as we ordered three of the books missing from our series
          > holding (I remember including _Emerald City_, and _Tik-Tok_ as among
          > the books that Mrs. Helfeld ordered when I pointed out the gap in our
          > holdings--she also managed to obtain reprints of some of the E. Nesbit
          > books, which had been unavailable for a while).
          >
          > In contrast, I don't think many of the fine books by such writers as
          > Patricia Wrightson, Alan Garner, William Mayne, Rosemary Sutcliffe,
          > Margot Benary-Isbert, which I remember from my childhood or my time in
          > the Children's Room, are known at all to today's children.
          >
          >
          >
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