Lyra's Classics


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A Novel, by

L. Frank Baum

Published In A Hand-Bound Limited Edition From

Lyra's Books


“There is no place like home”

Dorothy Gale, a young girl from Kansas, finds herself transported to the magical Land of Oz after a cyclone sweeps her away. Desperate to return home, and with her faithful dog Toto at her side, she embarks on a journey to seek the help of the powerful Wizard of Oz, believed to have the ability to grant her wish. Along the way, Dorothy encounters companions who join her on her quest: the Scarecrow, who longs for a brain; the Tin Woodman, in search of a heart; and the Cowardly Lion, seeking courage. Together, they navigate various obstacles and dangers, including encounters with the Wicked Witch of the West, who is determined to thwart their efforts. As they travel to the Emerald City, they discover the true strength of friendship and come to realise that the answers they seek may well already lie within themselves.
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was first published in 1900 by George M. Hill Company. The book quickly gained popularity among readers and became one of the best-selling children’s books of the time. It spawned a number of sequels, with Baum writing a total of fourteen Oz books, and several adaptations in various media, including stage plays, musicals and films. The most notable of these being the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, which has become an enduring classic and cultural phenomenon. The movie helped to cement Baum’s story in popular culture and it has remained a beloved and influential work, continuing to captivate new generations of readers across the world.
This edition is freshly illustrated with 22 stunning oil paintings by award-winning artist, Gregory Manchess. All copies are signed by the artist. The books are printed with a combination of letterpress and litho for the Numbered edition and letterpress and giclee for the Lettered edition. The text is printed letterpress by Hand and Eye in two colours throughout, using photopolymer plates. The colour images of both editions are printed by Hurtwood directly to the page and sewn into the structure of the bindings rather than being tipped into or onto the pages. The exception is the four double page spreads which are tipped onto tabs, allowing the pages to fold out without any sewing through the centre. Our edition contains an afterword by the artist. All copies, as always, are hand bound by us using the finest materials available.

L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (1856 – 1919) was an American author, actor, and independent filmmaker best known as the creator of one of the most popular books in American children’s literature: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This was to be the first of twelve Oz novels published in his lifetime, with The Magic of Oz and Glinda of Oz being published posthumously.

Under various pseudonyms, he penned 41 other novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, and at least 42 scripts. His relentless pursuit of bringing his tales to life on stage and screen culminated in the iconic 1939 adaptation of the initial Oz book, 20 years after his death, which became a landmark of 20th century cinema.

Baum will be remembered as a visionary, responsible for crafting one of the most enduring mythologies in literature. His worlds continue to captivate and inspire generation after generation.


Gregory Manchess

The award-winning painter, Gregory Manchess’ work has appeared on covers and feature stories of National Geographic Magazine, Time, Atlantic Monthly, and The Smithsonian. His figure and portrait work has led to numerous commissions for stamps by the US Postal Service, including Oregon Statehood (2009), Mark Twain (2011), and The 1963 March On Washington (2013).

National Geographic Society sent Manchess on expedition and chose his work to illustrate the adventures of the first discovery of an actual pirate ship for the traveling exhibition, Real Pirates: The Untold Story of The Whydah, from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship. His large portrait of Abraham Lincoln and seven major paintings of key moments from Lincoln’s life are highlighted in the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

Manchess wrote and illustrated his first ‘widescreen novel’ Above the Timberline, released in 2017 to stellar reviews. Thirty of the 120+ paintings from the book were recently featured as an exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts.

The Coen Brothers chose Gregory’s work to illustrate the book showcased in their latest film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Widely awarded within the industry, he exhibits frequently at the Society of Illustrators in New York. In 1999, his peers at the Society presented him with their highest honor, the coveted Hamilton King Award. Manchess is included in Walt Reed’s edition of The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000.

Today, Gregory lectures frequently at universities and colleges nationwide and gives workshops in painting at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, and teaches at the Illustration Master Class in Amherst, MA.

Design Notes

An Artist's Edition

Marcelo Anciano & Gregory Manchess

First and foremost, this book is the artist’s edition. Initially, an edition created both for and by the artist. This is a story that Greg Manchess had wanted to illustrate for many years, and he had a clear vision for the tone he wanted to give to Oz right from the start.

Early on, Greg had given us a wish-list of the books he’d like to make with us, and amongst that list was ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. We immediately sensed that the title would be perfect for Lyra’s Classics. The story is crying out to be filled with art; and to have an artist who truly loves it – and has an original vision – is a dream come true.

He wanted “… my version of the Tin Man; my own Scarecrow; and I wanted to portray the Lion as realistically as I had imagined him as a child: scary in appearance, and yet a total wimp. The Tin Man might have been built from scrap pieces of machinery and vaguely robotic. The Scarecrow, for all his goofiness, still needed to look slightly dapper in his clothes, and so I chose an old frock-like coat and tricorn hat that might have been sitting around in any Munchkin’s closet from some long-forgotten ancestor.” (from Greg Manchess’ artist’s afterword).

Design Notes

Marcelo Anciano

Our conception took its root from the first edition, which had hundreds of two or three colour pictures by W.W.Denslow on virtually every page. We wanted to have the same sense of a book as lavish as that first edition.

We gave Greg the freedom to fully make his mark upon the book and promised that we would print as many colour plates as he wanted to paint. We knew that the amount of paintings that Greg wanted to do might mean that, once tipped in, the book’s structure might become tricky with the additional thickness, but the success of our Coraline production meant we were able to give Greg the chance to paint what he liked: we had produced Coraline’s Standard Edition combining Letterpress printing with colour plates printed straight onto the page – it was a complex production, but we knew now what needed to be done, and that it would be perfect for Oz.

I then started to map out how the book might look, and it quickly evolved away from that 1900 first impression of the book to find its own original voice. The main design issue was making sure we would have a readable rhythm to the book. I have always been concerned that the images in any book complement the reading experience, that the cinematic experience, the actual edit and image choices all enhance the reading. The design changed quite a bit before we had a draft.

Once mapped out, Greg stepped up with an incredible twenty-two paintings! And four of these are double page spreads.

Greg is an artist we hugely enjoy working with; he understands the way we work, with visual revelation and page turn, and it was a great experience to work with him on such a personal project.

Design Notes

Numbered Edition

Richard Tong

Having an artist so personally invested in a story is always going to bring out the best and that is exactly what we have ended up with. The artwork is phenomenal and my job was to try and create bindings that sit comfortably alongside all of the paintings.

Right from the beginning, Greg was with me through the design process of the bindings. This is a classic book in our Classics series, so the design (for the Numbered edition at least) was always going to veer towards the more traditional. As always, I physically produced lots and lots of different versions, combining various materials, structures and colours until I found something that I/we felt was right. In the end, we found ourselves with a bradel structure, for no other reason than it broke up the colour across the covers and meant that, if we wanted, we could use different materials. One colour all the way across just looked a little dull and we wanted it to have some echoes of the lettered edition. Originally, the cover had a leather spine and marbled front and back boards but we opted to make the book full leather and wrap the marbling around the slipcase instead. Marbled slipcases always look incredible and it was much better suited there than on the book. Now you get to see that POP! as soon as you pull it from the shelf.

The numbered edition is all about the greens. No yellow brick road. Just hints of the Emerald City and the lush green country of Oz. Greg’s paintings speak of a slightly more mature version of Oz than what we know, so the darkness of those greens, alongside the black gives the design a more brooding feel, but still with the edge of playfulness brought by the flying monkeys. The binding design is not overly fussy and allows Freya’s wonderful shimmering papers and the green of the leather to be the stars. Not only do we have the greens inspired by the city and by Oz but, in the paper, also the swirls which suggest the cyclone that starts Dorothy’s journey. Notice also the tiny amounts of light blue which represent Dorothy’s dress in the vortex. Freya very patiently worked with me on the look of the paper until we both felt that it sat comfortably alongside Greg’s paintings, discarding all kinds of weird and wonderful patterns along the way! It has to be seen in real life to fully appreciate its shimmer and shine.

Design Notes

Lettered Edition

Richard Tong

For the lettered edition, Greg and myself worked our way through several different concepts before we found ourselves wondering about the idea of the yellow brick road running through the middle of the forest and how that might be achieved as a binding design. Originally, we had the poppies in there too but found that the additional colour just muddled it all too much and made everything far too busy. The different shades of green inspire thoughts of not only the Emerald City, like the numbered edition, but also suggest shafts of light that pierce the canopy of the trees.

There is a painting in the book where Dorothy and her friends are stood upon the road in the forest and this is the illustration that I wanted the binding to be most simpatico with. Obviously, what we ended up with is something quite abstract, but there is absolutely a concept to it (and a very time-consuming construction). The idea of multiple panels of colour could not be achieved with foil blocking and, besides which, I wanted each piece to have a slightly different personality. By piecing the binding together with lots of different bits of leather, it allowed for us to use different tanneries and grains. It also opened up the opportunity for each binding to be unique: we can cut and place the shapes slightly differently for each book.

When all is said and done, ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ is a children’s book. The design needed to be reasonably light-hearted but there is a balance to be struck between that and the artwork contained within. I hope our swarms of monkeys and the colour choices have done just that.

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