It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday again, my fourth week of this great idea started by Shannon Whitney Messenger. I am back from Gelsenkirchen, Germany, and decided to focus on one of my favorite books from my childhood. For those interested in the giveaway, details are most of the way down this page.
When I was growing up, my whole family was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz books. Aside from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and a couple of the sequels, it was hard to find these books, mostly published between 1900 and 1920, but my parents searched and discovered many of them. Fortunately for kids today, many have been re-released in the past few years, so it much easier to track them down now than it was forty years ago.
After the first few books had made L. Frank Baum rich and famous, he became increasingly desperate to write something other than Oz books, but his fans were relentless. He compromised by writing outside-of-Oz books which dealt with the wonderful lands outside the Deadly Desert, but which were still filled with the wondrous, magical creatures and people that his young fans demanded.
In my opinion, the very best of these non-Oz Oz books was Rinkitink in OZ (click on image above or this name to find out more ordering choices). A delightful story of a young prince who sets out to rescue his parents with only the help of three magic pearls, a very fat visiting king and a quarrelsome goat, this story has stood the test of time wonderfully. The humor, the adventure and the excitement are as lively today as they were in 1916, and the language is surprisingly fresh and easy for modern children to follow. Those few words which are out of date today are easily understood in context, and the pace is faster than some of the OZ books, and thus more palatable for today's youth than some of the others.
Best of all, this is a book practically begging to be read aloud. It would be perfect for either a classroom or for parents who want to share the story with their children. This is a book not to be missed. Please note that my link above is to the hardcover only because it has the cover I knew as a child. The book is in the public domain, and can be had for free or very little on Kindle, or in low-priced mass paperback from Signet and others. And if you and your kids like this, there are many other Oz books as well. (Hint: After L. Frank Baum died, Ruth Plumly Thompson wrote a few Oz books that are equally excellent.)
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Whitney Messenger. I don't know yet whether she had a chance to post today, but a few others have taken up the task in recent weeks, including Joanne Fritz at My Brain on Books, Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming, Brooke Favero at somewhere in the middle and Myrna Foster at Night Writer. Sherrie Petersen has an awesome MMGM post with an interview and giveaway bonus. If you watch those blogs today, as well as Shannon's blog, you are likely to find other great middle grade book recommendations.
For those who have patiently read all the way down to here, I am giving away two books that I have reviewed for My Comfy Chair.
To enter the giveaway, make sure you are a follower and post a comment letting me know which of the two books you would prefer. For this giveaway, I am going to request only U.S. or Canadian entries, as I don't know the cost of shipping overseas. If your profile doesn't list an email address, let me know how to contact you for a physical address if you win. Winners will be chosen on Friday, so you have until the end of the day Thursday to enter.
My review of Tom Sawyer and the Ghosts of Summer
My review of The Brimstone Key