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The Twinkle Tales

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The Twinkle Tales are a set of six short stories for young children, written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by Maginel Wright Enright, and first published in six individual booklets in 1906. The stories were designed for even younger readers than were the Oz books.

Baum's publisher Reilly & Britton re-issued the six chapbooks in 1916 and again in 1918, and in 1911 released a collected edition of the six, under the title Twinkle and Chubbins: Their Astonishing Adventures in Nature-Fairyland. (In actuality, the character Chubbins appears in only two of the six tales.)

The Twinkle Tales, along with the sequel Policeman Bluejay (1907), are the only fantasy works that Baum published under one of his many pseudonyms. They appeared as the work of "Laura Bancroft." (Baum's other pseudonymous works were adult novels and juveniles for boys or girls.) Baum used pen names to avoid competing with himself in the marketplace by issuing too much material under his own name. He came to regard the Bancroft books as being among his best, however, and regretted the use of a pen name for them; he asked his publisher to reprint them under his own name. Reilly & Britton did issue an edition of Policeman Bluejay under Baum's name in 1917; but the Twinkle stories did not appear as Baum's until The International Wizard of Oz Club put out its edition in 1987.

The six stories in the series are:

The Twinkle stories were a popular hit, selling nearly 40,000 copies in their first year in print. The most popular of the six was "Bandit Jim Crow," which determined the choice of the sequel, Policeman Bluejay.

Though the individual tales are each story-length, 4000 words or so, all are divided into eight short chapters for the convenience of the young reader. Each booklet, printed in large type, was 60 to 70 pages in length, with fourteen or fifteen full-page color illustrations. The stories have a unifying theme of kindness rather than cruelty toward animals.

The Twinkle Tales had a clear influence on Jack Snow's Tinkle and Tod.

References

  • L. Frank Baum. Twinkle and Chubbins: Their Astonishing Adventures in Nature-Fairyland. Introduction by Michael Patrick Hearn. Escanaba, MI, The International Wizard of Oz Club, 1987.

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