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  • The Road to Oz
  • Written by Kathleen Krull
    Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780375832161
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  • The Road to Oz
  • Written by Kathleen Krull
    Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780385754293
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Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum

Written by Kathleen KrullAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by Kevin HawkesAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Kevin Hawkes

eBook

List Price: $10.99

eBook

On Sale: August 28, 2013
Pages: 48 | ISBN: 978-0-385-75429-3
Published by : Knopf Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
The Road to Oz Cover

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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
Synopsis

Synopsis

KATHLEEN KRULL’S LIVELY text traces the life of L. Frank Baum from his dreamy privileged childhood in mid-19th-century upstate New York through the many detours on his road to Oz. A failure as an actor, a breeder of prize chickens, a merchant in a wild west town, among other occupations, he finally made a success doing exactly what he had always loved to do: tell stories for children. Along the way, we see the antecedents of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, green glasses, and other characters and attributes of the famous fantasy land. This is the first biography of L. Frank Baum that children can enjoy.

With the same verve she brought to her biography of Dr. Seuss, Kathleen Krull’s wry prose couples with Kevin Hawke’s exuberant paintings and drawings to create a book not to be missed by Oz fans of all ages.
Kathleen Krull|Kevin Hawkes

About Kathleen Krull

Kathleen Krull - The Road to Oz

Photo © Paul Brewer

What a conversation starter for a classroom or the dinner table: Can you imagine life without TV?

 

I can't even imagine it, and I'm old. Not that old, but I'll admit to this much: I doubt very much that the Krulls were the first family on their block in Wilmette, Illinois, to get a TV. My mom was pretty sure TV rotted your brain, but once we got one, she did let us watch The Wizard of Oz movie every year and a few other shows. So we had a lot more time for that other thing . . . what is it called . . . oh, right—reading books.

 

Anyway, going all the way back to 1920—and it's really not that long ago—there was no such thing as TV. My new book is about a supersmart boy named Philo Farnsworth who came up with the idea for inventing one. Yes, a boy—he was only fourteen years old. In between chores on his family's farm in Idaho, Philo played with machines and followed the latest developments in science, such as electricity.

 

One day he was out plowing the potato fields, he looked behind him at the rows of dirt he was forming, and suddenly his quirky ideas all came together for a television using electricity. Amazing.

 

It took him several more years to build the first model, with a few explosions along the way, and there's a lot more to tell about his story. But I wanted to frame it by emphasizing just how drastically Philo Farnsworth changed the world. So I start by describing how harsh and lonely it must have been growing up in the American West of the early 1900s. Before Philo.

 

One of the many things I liked about him was that he genuinely wanted to help humanity, bring people closer together, maybe even bring about world peace, and he thought his machine was the way to do it.

 

What do you think—has TV helped or hurt humanity, and in what ways? As for me, there are some shows I believe to be the end of civilization as we know it. There are certain other shows I couldn't live without.

 

But I still think books are more important than TV. I say turn off the TV and read, read, read. My motto is "There's no such thing as reading too much."

 

Let the debate begin. . . .

 

 

 

 

Kathleen Krull is well known for her innovative approach to biographies for young readers. Her books include The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum; The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss, the Lives of . . . series of collective biographies, the Giants of Science series; and more as featured at www.kathleenkrull.com. Kathleen lives in San Diego, with her husband, children's book illustrator Paul Brewer.

About Kevin Hawkes

Kevin Hawkes - The Road to Oz

Photo © Karen Hawkes

When I am asked how I chose to be an illustrator and then an author, I think back to my early childhood. I must have been four or five years old. My family lived in an old house in the middle of the French countryside. My parents loved books and read to us all the time. Sometimes we lit a fire in one of the old fireplaces, especially in the wintertime when it was bitter cold. My mother would read my brothers and I bedtime stories. Often these were Grimm’s fairy tales. Imagine hearing Grimm’s fairy tales by firelight in an old house in the middle of winter in France! I was doomed to become an illustrator and author!

I’m a very nostalgic person. Whenever I illustrate a book, there is something about it that appeals to some part of my past. I spent lots of time outdoors as a child and so nature plays a strong part in everything. I’m drawn to light, shadow, water, and trees. I have a strong sense of mystery. (I spent more time in castles than I did on the playground.)

Books have always been important to me. And libraries. Living in a military family, I moved a lot. Every two or three years we were off to a different part of the country or the world. This was exciting, but left me yearning for familiar things. Whenever we moved to a new place, my mother took us to the library. Do you know that every library in the world smells the same? When I went to the library I could find familiar books, like old friends and discover new ones. Other than my family, books became the constant familiar things I could rely upon.

Art is an escape for me. There was an art teacher who came to my second-grade class, but only once a month, or so it seemed to me! I remember one day she drew a mushroom with a man sitting under it. I was so excited to think that I had permission to draw something straight from my imagination! I loved anything three-dimensional. Clay sculpture was my favorite. I think my sense of depth and form came as a result of modeling heads out of clay.

If a story idea is like building a house, then more often than not I begin with a doorknob. I start with something small, a snippet of conversation or a random object or a particular image that persists in coming to mind and I ask myself “ What sort of door would go with this knob?” When I get the answer to that question I ask, “ What sort of room would go with this door?” and so on until somehow I get a house. It’s a very random way of working, but I find that if I’m thinking of the right questions, then the answers show up at the oddest times.

When I was illustrating a book a few years ago about an obnoxious family of musicians who move next door, there was a baby that kept cropping up in the paintings. Some times he popped out of a tuba or danced on the tip of a Rhinoceros horn.

The art director asked me “ What’s with this baby?”

“He’s from Maine,” I replied. “He’s a Toddlah. A wicked big Toddlah! “ That’s how The Wicked Big Toddlah began.

I think every book should have a slightly different style unique to that particular story. This allows me to experiment with different ways of drawing and storytelling. That keeps me wondering what I’ll be doing next, and that’s a good thing.
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide



ABOUT THIS BOOK

DID YOU KNOW?

• It took L. Frank Baum 44 years to get to Oz. After attempts to be an
actor, a breeder of prize chickens, a merchant in a Wild West town,
and other occupations, he finally made a success doing exactly what
he had always loved to do: tell stories for children.

• A neighbor asked Frank where the creatures—a scarecrow, a lion,
and wizard—in his story lived. His gaze fell on a file cabinet: two
drawers labeled A–N and O–Z. “Oz!” was his reply.

• Frank’s heroes were almost always self-reliant girls. One of his
biggest influences was his mother-in-law, Matilda Joslyn Gage, who
helped Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony found the
National Woman Suffrage Association.

DISCUSSION AND WRITING

• L. Frank Baum tried many careers on his long, curly road to success.
How do you think Frank stayed positive even when he did not
succeed? How did his imagination and ambition pay off?

• Frank said, “The imaginative child will become the imaginative man
or woman most apt to create, to invite, and therefore to foster
civilization.” What do you think he meant by this statement?

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

• “How delicious it was to play with words!” L. Frank Baum loved
to write from an early age. At age 14, he and his brother published
the Rose Lawn Home Journal, a monthly newspaper about Baum
family life. Try your hand at your own newspaper about your own
family life.

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