The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow. It was originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900, and has since been reprinted countless times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of both the 1902 stage play and the extremely popular, highly acclaimed 1939 film version. The story chronicles the adventures of a girl named Dorothy in the Land of Oz. Thanks in part to the 1939 MGM movie, it is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated. Its initial success, and the success of the popular 1902 Broadway musical Baum adapted from his story, led to Baum writing thirteen more Oz books.
Baum dedicated the book "to my good friend & comrade, My Wife," Maud Gage Baum. In January 1901, the publisher, the George M. Hill Company, completed printing the first edition, which probably totaled around 35,000 copies. Records indicate that 21,000 copies were sold through 1900.
The original book has been in public domain in the United States since 1956. Baum's thirteen sequels entered public domain in the United States from 1960 through 1986. The rights to these books were held by the Walt Disney Company, and their impending expiration was a prime motivator for the production of the 1985 film Return to Oz, based on Baum's second and third Oz books.
Historians, economists and literary scholars have examined and developed possible political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. However, the majority of the reading public simply takes the story at face value.
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