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Picturing a World

Book and Illustration (1):The Wizard of Oz

As a lover of illustrated books, I've been thinking about how their stories and pictures relate. Which has primacy, the text or the illustration? One quick criterion: the text is likely to be supreme if it has been illustrated by more than one artist—even if the original illustrator worked closely with the author.
Take the example of L. Frank Baum and W. W. Denslow. They worked as a team on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and held joint copyright. An article in the online Public Domain Review, which publishes a selection of pages from that first edition, shows just how delightfully successful they were in blending story, picture, and page design. The edition I grew up with had a set of illustrations by Eveyln Copelman, which were commissioned by Bobbs Merrill after World War II to take advantage of the popularity of the Judy Garland movie. Even as a child, although I loved the book, I wasn't that crazy about these pictures.


 I still don't have a copy with the Denslow illustrations; but I do own the glorious pop-up book by Robert Sabuda, based on Denslow and an edition with the inimitable Lizabeth Zwerger's space-alien, loony, gorgeous illustrations.


There are many other versions, including The Folio Society edition with artwork by Sara Ogilvie, and and Barry Moser's very expensive limited edition


But to get back to the larger point: In the case of most illustrated books, although the pictures may be glorious, they wouldn't exist without the text, yet the text can be published without illustrations. Can you think of examples besides The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that have attracted many illustrators?


And are there, in fact, books for which the pictures are prime and may invite alternate stories?

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