Eloise Jarvis McGraw

(Information complied with the assistance of Colleen, an University of Oregon reference librarian, and Eric Gjovaag, webmaster of the The Wizard of Oz Info website. Many thanks to both of them!)

Although three-time Newbery honoree Eloise Jarvis McGraw (b.1915 - d.2000) is currently best known as the author of The Moorchild, I suspect that her most enduring claim to fame will be the bittersweet 1968 coming-of-age novel Greensleeves, the subject of one of our book-of-the-week picks. In addition to her writing, Ms. McGraw worked as a portrait painter, sculptor, and teacher. At twenty-five she married William Corbin McGraw, a fellow author and filbert farmer. Ms. McGraw was an L. Frank Baum devotee and wrote several well received stories (some with her daughter, Lauren Lynn McGraw) set in the Oz-verse.

Note: Like Ann Radcliffe, Baum isn't everybody's Wordcandy, but both Ms. McGraw and Diana Wynne Jones have mentioned him as a major influence. So even if the film version of The Wizard of Oz didn't float your boat, Baum's series is worth reading if you're a fan of McGraw's or Jones's books.

I fail to understand why The Moorchild got such critical acclaim, while Ms. McGraw's other books languish in Out-of-print-ville. While The Moorchild is a perfectly fine fantasy story, it is not Ms. McGraw's best work. Greensleeves, on the other hand is CRYING OUT for a re-printing (hopefully one with better cover art) and yet nothing has come of it.

Everywhere for The Moorchild, limited to garage sales and used bookstores for everything else. Alas.

Other Recommendations:
For younger readers, Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy series.

For older readers, Tanuja Desai Hidier's Born Confused
Posted by: Julia


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