Pay Attention to the Woman Behind the Curtain: Ruth Plumly Thompson’s Royal Book of Oz

Pay Attention to the Woman Behind the Curtain: Ruth Plumly Thompson’s Royal Book of Oz

Everyone knows about Frank L. Baum's world of Oz. Though some may have stopped with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Baum's world continued on for many, many more books. But while the 15th book in the series, The Royal Book of Oz, was originally attributed to the creator and released after his death in 1919,

Everyone knows about Frank L. Baum’s world of Oz. Though some may have stopped with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Baum’s world continued on for many, many more books. But while the 15th book in the series, The Royal Book of Oz, was originally attributed to the creator and released after his death in 1919, it was actually written by Ruth Plumly Thompson, who went on to write 20 more books in the beloved world of Oz. Like so many women, Plumly Thompson’s work has been forgotten, or worse, been erased completely.

Clover Press seeks to correct this gross oversight, reintroducing readers to The Royal Book of Oz through a beautiful new book celebrating both the world, and the woman who continued its adventures. 

Cover of the Royal Book of Oz featuring Dorothy, the Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow

Featuring illustrations by Eisner Award-winning artist, Sara Richard (Rick and Morty, My Little Pony) and an afterword by Eisner Award-winning artist and writer, Eric Shanower (Adventures in Oz, Oz Omnibus), the book is currently campaigning on Kickstarter.

Though this book is number 15 in the series, new readers should have no concerns about stepping into the adventure. “Readers will recognize many familiar and beloved Oz characters in Ruth’s books, making jumping back into the magical land of Oz all too easy and thoroughly enjoyable,” says Clover Press editor and art director Elaine LaRosa, who answered a few more questions for WWAC here.

How did you discover the truth about this book’s author? Why was it important to bring this story to light?

I have a treasured box set of the first 15 books in the Oz series, proudly displayed in my home that I often re-read. During one of those many re-reads I noticed Ruth’s name in the small print attributing The Royal Book of Oz to her and did some digging. I was shocked and surprised to learn she was the writer on Royal Book and that she’d written many more books in the series.

It’s all too common in history for works, inventions and discoveries by women to be wrongly attributed to men. We want Ruth to finally get the credit she deserves for continuing the legacy of the Oz novels; all in all, Ruth ended up writing more Oz books than Baum himself.

How did Sara Richard become involved in this project?

We had the pleasure of working with Sara on past projects at IDW Publishing. Sara’s name came up in very early discussions on the direction we wanted the art for this book to go, this magical world perfectly lends itself to Sara’s breathtaking, colorful and whimsical takes on characters. She’s done an amazing job breathing new life into these treasured characters for what we hope will be a whole new generation of readers.

Sara Richard’s ketches for the cover of The Royal Book of Oz:

What role did the Oz series play in your lives?

As children, story time in the evenings before bed was especially important, these books are such a beautiful escape into a magical world of unique characters. And as I’m sure many people did, we grew up watching The Wizard of Oz movie as well as the somewhat lesser known cult classic Return to Oz released many years later, which features many of the characters in The Royal Book of Oz.


The Kickstarter for The Royal Book of Oz offers many additional perks, including postcards, enamel pins, a copy of the book, a bumper sticker, a lunch box, art prints, and signed slipcase editions. The campaign runs until Friday.

Wendy Browne
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