At age 20 Michael Patrick Hearn signed his first book contract; he appeared on the front page of the New York Times Book Review at 21. That book, The Annotated Wizard of Oz―with his insightful introduction, a bibliography of Baum’s works, and hundreds of annotations―remains the most authoritative study of both the novel and its author. It was updated and republished as a centennial edition in 2000.
Michael republished seven Oz books as editor of Special Publications for the Oz Club. He provided an introduction for the 1985 reprint edition of Baum’s Little Wizard Stories of Oz, prepared liner notes for Caedmon’s recordings of Baum stories, contributed articles to The Baum Bugle, edited the 1939 MGM movie screenplay for publication, and curated and wrote the exhibition books for the W. W. Denslow exhibit at Brandywine River Museum and the Wonderful Art of Oz exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Michael wrote the afterword for the Oz Club’s edition of Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz. He is the co-author of the only Denslow biography, and editor of the Critical Heritage Series edition of The Wizard of Oz. Although Michael’s contributions to Club conventions include many presentations, it was also at his invitation that special guests such as Margaret Hamilton and Sally Roesch Wagner first joined the gatherings. Today his scholarship and published work extend far beyond Oz; he is in demand as a children’s book reviewer, lecturer, and teacher on early illustrators. He remains consistently recognized as the world’s leading expert on L. Frank Baum and his many works.