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The Flying Girl and Her Chum

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Written by  L. Frank Baum
(as "Edith Van Dyne")
Illustrator  Joseph Pierre Nuyttens
Published  1912
Publisher  Reilly & Britton

The Flying Girl and Her Chum is a 1912 novel by L. Frank Baum, a feminist adventure melodrama that is a sequel to Baum's 1911 book The Flying Girl.

Summary

Orissa Kane, the heroine of The Flying Girl, is a famous aeronaut in the sequel. She is piloting her brother's newly-designed Hydro-Aircraft for a demonstration in San Diego; she and her companion Sybil Cumberford fly out over the Pacific Ocean but encounter mechanical problems. The two young women land on an unknown island off the coast of Mexico, and must cope with the challenges of being castaways.

Orissa's brother Stephen, along with Sybil's father and other friends, come searching for the "air-maids" in a private yacht; but their vessel is grounded on the same island where the girls have landed. A nearby island is occupied by Mexican bandits; the encounter between the two groups leads to further excitement and complication before the Americans emerge triumphant.

Background

In the supporting character of Sybil Cumberford, Baum creates a distinctive personality type — a person who blossoms only under adversity, and even seems to welcome danger, difficulty, and distress. Sybil is a more realistic version of Nerle in The Enchanted Island of Yew.

The Flying Girl books were intended as the start of a multi-volume series, like Baum's Aunt Jane's Nieces series that was also issued under the Van Dyne pseudonym. The Flying Girl series was not as popular as that earlier project, however, and was discontinued after the first two books. A projected third volume in the series, The Flying Girl's Brave Venture, exists only as a title in the extant records of Baum and his publisher.

The title of the second book was a matter of some debate between the author and publisher. Several alternatives were considered: The Flying Girl's Exploits and The Flying Girl's Runaway Aeroplane, The Flying Girl's Best Record and The Flying Girl on Castaway Island.

After decades out of print, The Flying Girl and Her Chum was released in a new edition in 1997 by Hungry Tiger Press, with Nuyttens's original pictures and an introduction by Eric Shanower.

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