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The Twinkle Tales Paperback – 30 Jul 2005
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L. Frank Baum (1856-1919), author of "The Wizard of Oz" and thirteen more "Oz" books, created many other appealing fantasies for children. Writing under the pseudonym of Laura Bancroft, Baum related the adventures of Twinkle in these stories for small children that, like the "Oz" books, have something to say to adults as well. Growing up in the village of Edgeley on the North Dakota prairie, Twinkle is an inquisitive little farm girl who is constantly swept away into the worlds of enchantment surrounding her. She and her friend Chubbins are miniaturized by a prairie dog magician and discover the secret life of a prairie dog town. Twinkle falls asleep by a woodchuck hole and suddenly finds herself the prisoner of a well-dressed, very bourgeois Mr. Woodchuck.In another tale, Twinkle's murderous crow pays a dear price for his actions. Climbing Sugar Loaf Mountain in the Ozarks, Twinkle and Chubbins enter a world of sugar people, whose society mirrors that of humans in some unsettling ways.In "Policeman Bluejay," the children are transformed into larks by the hideous tuxix, are befriended by Policeman Bluejay, and enter a world of birds that casts disturbing light on the world of humans. Originally, all of these stories were published separately. Baum wanted them to be reissued in a single volume, as they are here for the first time. Katharine M. Rogers is a professor emerita of English at the City University of New York and the author of "L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz".
About the Author
Katharine M. Rogers is a professor emerita of English at the City University of New York and the author of L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz.
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The books are as follows:
In _Prairie Dog Town_, Twinkle and Chubbins are miniaturized and visit a prairie dog town and speak to its residents.
_Bandit Jim Crow_ features an injured crow that Twinkle is given as a pet. He quickly escapes and decides to live with other birds, to their chagrin--considering the fact that he likes to eat them!
In the tale _Mr. Woodchuck_, Twinkle visits a woodchuck family and learns the truth about the cruelty of animal traps.
Twinkle captures _Prince Mud-Turtle_, who can speak once a week. During a moment of speech, he reveals that he's actually a fairy prince who needs her help. Here, finally, is a twinkling of Baum's humor and magic, hardly seen in any of these stories.
_Twinkle's Enchantment_ tells of Twinkle walking past a hidden line into a magical world. There is some word play used, including poking fun at such statements as "the walls have ears" and "pop goes the weasel."
In _Sugar-Loaf Mountain_, Chubbins again features into the story, when he and Twinkle discover a hidden door in a mountain, which leads to a city where everything is made entirely of different types of sugars.
_Policeman Bluejay_ is the final story and the longest. Both children get lost, and a tuxix turns them into birds. The moral message here is mostly about hunting.
Twinkle and Chubbins do not really have the same type of magical adventures as fellow Baum creation Dorothy. In fact, they visit the natural world, and most of their adventures are educational and at times dark, explaining how animals are killed or otherwise mistreated by people. While the animals can talk and have anthropomorphised features and habitats, they are not humorous or eccentric in the way Oz creatures are. Overall, this is not Baum's finest; it comes across as preachy and not nearly as innovative as the Oz stories. Perhaps the main problem, though, is that the tales are too short to develop much of a storyline. Yet even the longest has little of one itself. They often end abruptly, without any real conclusion or conventional storyline arc.
This is, nevertheless, a volume for Baum fans, since these specific tales are a rare find, especially all in one volume. If nothing else, reading this book gave me an even great appreciation for the originality of the Oz books.