Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Genre: Juvenile
Pages: 198
Published: 1900
Date Finished: 18 May 2009
My Rating: 4
Challenges: 100+, New Author, Visit to Oz, RYOB, Decades, Spring, Daring Girls

The 1939 movie version of the Wizard of Oz holds many fond childhood memories for me. I still have the old VHS copy that my grandma sent me as a birthday gift when I was a young girl, I have countless memories of watching the movie during sleepovers and one of the few things I remember from a family trip to Washington D.C. when I was a young girl is seeing the ruby red slippers (which are actually silver in the book) at the Smithsonian Museum.
I often thought about checking out the books from the library and reading them when I was younger but never did. I remember being confused about what order the books went in and instead of trying to figure it out, just never read them.
The book was really a treat to read and I am glad I've finally read it as it is vastly different from the movie. I tried to go into my reading without drawing comparisons between book and movie, but really, when you are so familiar with a movie it is impossible not to let it influence your reading.
The book is populated with characters and places that never made it into the movie. Places like the land of the Winkies and China Country and characters like the Queen of the Field Mice and a second good witch. One part of the story I found particularly interesting is that the Emerald City was not so Emerald! Oz made everyone where glasses that made everything appear green. Lots of surprises in this little volume and well worth the few hours it took to breeze through the narrative. The book is surprising violent at times but nothing horrifying. The way in which the Tin Man actually became a Tin Man was probably the most violent episode.
I loved that the book really illustrated that each character really possessed in abundance those qualities they thought they were lacking. The Cowardly Lion repeatedly performed brave acts, the Scarecrow was always solving tricky problems and the Tin Man was always looking out for other animals and creature and could not tolerate any harm coming to anyone.
Considered the first truly original American fairy tale, I think The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a book that everyone should read.


Stephanie said...

I read this out loud to my ds when he was four- we had just attended a showing of the movie on our town's courthouse lawn, so we decided to read the book. I had heard that it was a lot different than the movie, so I wasn't too surprised. My favorite part was the place where everything was made out of china. Ds was scared of the creepy winged monkeys, and I can't say I blame him!

Karen Beth said...

When I was young, I read all of the Oz books, and last year I got sentimental after seeing the movie and decided to read it again with my husband (a chapter a night before bed). I think the book is charming. One favorite chapter that comes to mind is when Dorothy and the Lion fall asleep because of the field of flowers. For me, the scariest part occurred when the scarecrow was torn apart. The other books are wonderful if you get a chance to read them! I especially love the Patchwork girl.