The Road to Oz 06/20/12
The Road to Oz by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Kevin Hawekes is a nonfiction picture book biography of L. Frank Baum. The book covers highlights of Baum's childhood, early adulthood and the events that lead up to him writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Kevin Hawkes's acrylic paintings bring together the Victorian era and the motifs of Baum's Oz books. Artistically the paintings try to show the real world inspirations for Baum's fantasies.
Thematically the book is about the struggles of doing something you love and the responsibilities of providing for a family. I've seen it with my own family and I'm going through that now as I transition careers.
What's missing though is a sense of cohesion. As it's a picture book there's not much time spent on any particular time of Baum's life. It's mostly a sampling of his life.