An impressively researched account of Baum's variegated career as writer, actor, impresario, filmmaker, and devoted family man, whose health and finances were both often precarious. Many amusing or telling anecdotes give a strong sense of the man's personality; Carpenter also includes plot summaries of most of his books and a fascinating afterword on ""Oz and the Censors."" Exceptionally well illustrated, with b&w photos, drawings, or maps on nearly every page. Some cavils: parts of the book are almost too detailed (e.g., an entire chapter is devoted to the itinerary of a five-month vacation); and one might wish that some of the illustrations had been enlarged. Still, highly recommended for any collection whose young readers need to know not just ""something"" but quite a lot about this author. Bibliographies; index.