Welcome to the “Friends of the Emerald City” website. No doubt you’re already familiar with L. Frank Baum’s famous children’s classic “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which was published in 1900, and the fabulous MGM film adaptation of that story? But did you know that it’s been beloved by generations of Russian children as well?
Russian author Alexander Volkov brought out his rather free translation of the story in 1939 (the same year MGM released their film). He called it THE WIZARD OF THE EMERALD CITY, and the country where the story is set became, not Oz, but MAGIC LAND. That’s how our Russian friends have known it ever since. In 1959, with the help of our beloved artist Leonid Vladimirsky, he revised it, making it even better. And then, until his untimely death in 1977, he penned five additional tales about Magic Land, with new characters and new adventures aplenty. In recent years, other authors have taken up his pen and continued the legend even further. These tales have been the delight of millions of children, not to mention their parents, their grandparents, and they’re sure to delight YOU...
What is Volkov’s Magic Land like? And how does it differ from Oz?
One of the main differences you’ll find is in the names of the characters. Baum’s Dorothy has become “Ellie,” and the Wizard is now “James Goodwin.” Of the heroine’s three friends, the Cowardly Lion is much the same, but the Scarecrow is called “Strasheela” (derived from a Russian word meaning “terrifying”), and the Tin Woodman is now the IRON Woodman. All four of the witches, good and bad, have new names: Villina (Baum’s Good Witch of the North), Gingema (Wicked Witch of the East), Bastinda (Wicked Witch of the West), and Stella (Baum’s Glinda, Good Witch of the South). And there’s also an Ogre who captures Ellie early on and is about to devour her when the Woodman makes quick work of the creature with his trusty ax!
Yet many of Baum’s features survive intact. The young heroine, as always, comes from Kansas. You’ll find the familiar Yellow Brick Road leading to the same fabulous Emerald City. And we still have the Munchkins who live in Blue Land and the Quadlings of Rose Land. The Winkies, however, live in VIOLET Land, while Yellow Land, to the north, is uninhabited. In Volkov and his successors, Blue Land lies to the west, and Violet Land to the east. (Rose Land is still in the south.) The Munchkins are renowned for their munching, the Winkies are skilled craftsmen, and the Quadlings come up with plenty of cock-and-bull stories! But in all its essentials, Volkov’s treatment of the opening story is the same tale that English-speaking readers (and filmgoers) have loved for generations!
So join us now. In the pages of this website, you’ll learn not only about the books, but about everything connected with RusRussia’s Magic Land. We think you have a real treat in store as you explore this fabulous realm!
artwork on this site, unless otherwise noted, is by Leonid Vladimirsky..