by Doug Bratton
Baum's masterpiece was the first modern American fairy tale and it's as imaginative today as it was when I first read it as a child. The 1939 movie whitewashed some things and left others completely out. The original book is more dark and magical than that famous movie. I was in a production of The Wizard of Oz last year and read several Oz books as well as a biography about Baum as part of my preparation. Re-reading the book again after all of that made me appreciate this story even that much more. In many ways, the book is a parable of Baum's life. And now I know why Dainty Chinaland exists.