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The Magical Monarch of Mo

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MMMo cover
Written by  L. Frank Baum
Illustrator  Frank Ver Beck
Published  1903
Publisher  Bobbs-Merrill

The Surprising Adventures of the Magical Monarch of Mo and His People is a fantasy book written by L. Frank Baum and first published in 1900 as A New Wonderland.

Summary

The book is a collection of short stories about the Magical Monarch and his subjects.

Characters

Background

Although it is not one of the "Famous Forty" Oz books, it takes place in the Land of Mo, a magical country that neighbors the Deadly Desert surrounding the Land of Oz.

In The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Dorothy and her companions met the Wise Donkey, who had come to Oz from the Land of Mo. In The Scarecrow of Oz, Trot, Cap'n Bill and the Ork traveled through Mo on their way to Oz, and there met the Bumpy Man.

Publication

The book has a complex publication history. Baum's first book publisher, Way & Williams, had planned to bring out the collection in 1898 under the title The King of Phunnyland, as the follow-up to Baum's moderately successful Mother Goose in Prose of the previous year. But Way & Williams went out of business before the book could be published. Baum shopped the book around to other publishers; the intervening success of his Father Goose in 1899 inspired New York publisher Robert Howard Russell to accept the project. Retitled A New Wonderland, it was handsomely produced, with 15 color plates and 100 black-and-white illustrations by Frank Ver Beck. Yet it was released in 1900, a month after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and was overshadowed by the great success of that book. The Russell edition was not reprinted, and in time went out of print.

After Bobbs-Merrill became Baum's main publisher in 1902, that company acquired the rights to the book from Russell, and issued a new edition under the Magical Monarch of Mo title. This 1903 edition lacked four of the color plates of the first edition; the two editions also differed in their black-and-white illustrations, each containing some the other lacked. Baum dedicated Magical Monarch of Mo to his younger brother Henry Clay Baum.

In his personal correspondence, Baum identified The Magical Monarch of Mo as the first children's book he ever wrote, and dated it to 1896.

References

  • L. Frank Baum. The Magical Monarch of Mo. Introduction by Martin Gardner. New York, Dover Publications, 1968.

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