Folklore, legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood
through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and
instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly
unreal. The winged fairies of Grimm and Andersen have brought more
happiness to childish hearts than all other human creations.
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 disagreeable incident.
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.
L. Frank Baum
Chicago, April, 1900.