|Laura Bancroft's six Twinkle Tales were published in 1906|
|The 3rd Aunt Jane's Nieces Book|
- John Dough and the Cherub by L. Frank Baum
- Aunt Jane's Nieces by Edith Van Dyne
- Daughters of Destiny by Schuyler Staunton
- Annabel, A Novel for Young Folk by Suzanne Metcalf
- Mr. Woodchuck (Twinkle Tales) by Laura Bancroft
- Bandit Jim Crow (Twinkle Tales) by Laura Bancroft
- Prairie-Dog Town (Twinkle Tales) by Laura Bancroft
- Prince Mud-Turtle (Twinkle Tales) by Laura Bancroft
- Twinkle's Enchantment (Twinkle Tales) by Laura Bancroft
- Sugar-Loaf Mountain (Twinkle Tales) by Laura Bancroft
|Title page to one of Bancroft's Twinkle Tales|
|John Estes Cooke's "Summer Comedy"|
Until this year I had not read a single one of Baum's pseudonymous works. Even though I was trying to collect them all, I didn't feel compelled to read them because I believed the conventional wisdom that Baum's pseudonymous writing was mostly "hack" work. However, last spring I embarked on a reading marathon and consumed all 39 of them. I was pleasantly surprised.
It's true that these stories are not as well crafted as Baum's Oz and similar fantasies. Even so, I really liked them. What was it that I enjoyed so much? It reminded me of being entertained by a movie even when I know it's not great cinema. Yes, these stories were entertaining, but there was something more to it, something that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then I realized it. It was the voice. I recognized the voice. It was the familiar voice of my favorite storyteller. It was L. Frank Baum!
|Edith Van Dyne wrote 10 books about Aunt Jane's Nieces|
In the first book, Aunt Jane’s Nieces, I was invested in knowing which of the three cousins—Beth, Louise, and Patricia—would inherit Aunt Jane's money. As the series progressed, I followed with interest their encounters with a volcano and kidnappers in Aunt Jane’s Nieces Abroad, their forays into politics and society in Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work and Aunt Jane’s Nieces in Society, their road trip across the country in Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Uncle John, their exploits reporting and publishing a small town newspaper in Aunt Jane’s Nieces on Vacation, their efforts to solve the mystery of a missing baby in Aunt Jane’s Nieces on the Ranch, their escapades in the nascent movie industry in Aunt Jane’s Niece’s Out West, and their contributions to the World War I relief effort in Aunt Jane’s Nieces in the Red Cross. And all the while, I grew to admire Uncle John’s unpretentiousness and his love for his nieces. By the end of the series, the three nieces and their uncle had become fond friends of mine in much the same way as Dorothy and her comrades in Oz.
|Van Dyne's "flying girl" was 17-year-old Orissa Kane|
Next I read the two books in Edith Van Dyne's short-lived Flying Girl Series, The Flying Girl and The Flying Girl and Her Chum, which follow the adventures of seventeen-year-old Orissa Kane in the early days of aviation. This was followed by the Mary Louise Series, which tells of Mary Louise Burrows and her girl detective friend Josie O'Gorman solving various mysteries.
|Mary Louise was named after Baum's sister|