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|Written by||L. Frank Baum|
|Illustrator||John R. Neill|
|Publisher||Reilly and Britton|
Little Wizard Stories of Oz is a collection of 6 short stories set in the Land of Oz. All were individually published in 1913 as "Oz Books in Miniature," to promote the return of the Oz series. The sextet of tales was reprinted in a single volume the following year, 1914. All were illustrated with color plates by veteran Oz artist John R. Neill. The stories feature the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, Hungry Tiger, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Sawhorse, Ozma, Tiktok, the Nome King and Toto too.
The six stories in the collection are:
- "The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger"
- "Little Dorothy and Toto"
- "Tiktok and the Nome King"
- "Ozma and the Little Wizard"
- "Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse"
- "The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman"
The six booklets issued in 1913 were five by seven inches in size, and printed in blue ink rather than black; each was 29 pages long, with seven full-page Neill pictures. They sold for $0.15 per copy. The stories were written for an audience of readers even younger than that of the Oz books, but have a charm that some older readers can appreciate.
The publisher had previously used the same format — a set of six stories issued in separate booklets — with good success, in The Twinkle Tales (1906).
Baum had tried to end the Oz series with the sixth book, The Emerald City of Oz, in 1910. He wanted to tell other types of stories, and began the "Trot" series with The Sea Fairies (1911) and Sky Island (1912). Baum also reacted to his bankruptcy in 1911 by increasing his literary output: he had five novels appear before the public that year, his largest annual total since 1907. He started two other juvenile series, The Daring Twins under his own name, and The Flying Girl under his "Edith Van Dyne" pseudonym.
None of these new projects, however, sold particularly well. The "Trot" books sold only a little more than half of what the last Oz book had done. Baum and publisher Reilly & Britton saw that a return to Oz was needed, leading to the seventh book, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, in 1913. The Little Wizard stories were designed to bolster an interest in Oz among the smallest readers, which would grow with them over their ensuing years.
Four of the Little Wizard stories were re-issued in 1932 in a new form, as The Little Oz Books with Jig Saw Oz Puzzles. A year or two later the four tales were released again, as part of a promotion for a Wizard of Oz radio program (sponsored by Jell-O). Rand McNally published all six stories in three booklets in 1939.
- David L. Greene and Dick Martin. The Oz Scrapbook. New York, Random House, 1977.
- Katharine M. Rogers. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.