The difference between fairy
and wonder tales
I recently stumbled upon an old print of Lyman Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz (1944). I’ve never been interested enough in the book to finish it, but the introduction is an exciting thing to read. In it, Baum distinguishes between fairy tales and wonder tales, and places Oz in the latter. The classic fairy tale, he says (almost in a prophetic tone), filled many “childish” hearts with joy,
Yet the old time fairy tale, having served for generations, may now be classed as “historical” in the children’s library; for the time has come for a series of newer “wonder tales” in which the stereotyped genie, dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and blood-curdling incidents devised by their authors to point a fearsome moral to each tale. Modern education includes morality; therefore the modern child seeks only entertainment in its wonder tales and gladly dispenses with all the disagreeable incidents. Having this thought in mind, the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was written solely to please children of today. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.
—Alexia Raynal, Managing Editor
Original artwork from the book by Evelyn Copelman, adapted from the famous illustrations by W.W. Denslow