Zauberlinda the Wise Witch


GIBSON, Eva Katharine. Zauberlinda The Wise Witch. Chicago: Robert Smith Printing Co [1901]. 8vo, 258pp. Blue cloth pictorially stamped in yellow and orange. Pictorial endpapers with fixed sheets printed with an orange background; illustrations in one-color on every page with text in black. Light rubbing to spine ends and lower corners, covers slightly so, spine lightly sunned, a few pages slightly soiled in margins, else an unusually clean, tight copy.

First edition. A very early Oz imitation, being released just a year after the publication of Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (which had been the best-selling children’s book of 1900). The book features a style imitating the format of the first Oz novel, with line drawings printed in a variety of colors appearing over and around the text of the novel, just as in The Wizard. Gibson’s tale is also very reminiscent of Baum’s, telling of an isolated little girl on the prairie who is transported into a realm of magic and danger, only to have to find her way home again. Even the novel’s titular character seems to closely match with Baum’s Glinda. And the cover and title page feature a wand with a “Z” at its tip surrounded by a circle of beams – suggesting Oz.