Friday, May 6, 2016

The Forest of Burzee

May 6, 1919
That's the day that L. Frank Baum creator of the Wizard of Oz died. He was only 62 years old and had led a most interesting life. Baum grew up in a well-to-do family and most likely could have carried on in the family business, but his love of the theater took him in another direction. I really had no idea that Baum did everything from acting, to running a store (Baum's Bazaar), to traveling salesman, to journalism. He is best known for his children's books, however, and that is where he found fame.

While the Wizard of Oz is so ingrained in our culture that phrases like "we're not in Kansas anymore" and "there's no place like home" are part of our everyday speech, Baum created an entire world with other stories that you may not be as familiar with. He has over 15 books to his name featuring the world of Oz.

Baum felt that Queen Zixi of Ix was actually his best book. It's a fairy tale about a magic cloak that takes place in and around the Forest of Burzee just outside of the Land of Oz. This story was made into a movie called The Magic Cloak of Oz in 1914 which was a flop by the way.
Queen Zixi of Ix from Pakbrat

I'm most interested in Baum's creation of the Forest of Burzee. All of his books take place in a magical land called Nonestica and the forest is in the lower left corner near Happy Valley where Santa Claus lives (in case you were wondering.) The forest is home to all kinds of magic beings including dragons, fairies, demons, and sprites to name a few. It sounds almost as detailed as any place in Tolkien's Middle Earth.

While I loved the Wizard of Oz movie as a child, I never really explored anything that Baum wrote. I think I might have to rectify that. If you're passing through Kansas in the near future, you may want to stop at the Oz Museum in Wamago, KS.  If you can't make it to the museum you can show your support by purchasing one of these smashing items.

99 Problems but a Witch Ain't 1 T-shirt

Allergic to Water Shot Glass
Life Hasn't Been the Same T-shirt

And we haven't even talked about Wicked yet! That's for another day.

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