The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of those precious novels that has almost been eclipsed in fame by the movie based on it. I must admit that more than once when picking up this book, I mentally sung to myself, "I'm off to read the wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". And yet, as fond as I am of the classic musical, I somehow went through childhood never having read the original text. Berating myself over this, I eagerly downloaded the novel to my Kindle (for free!) and joyfully read the simple story rather rapidly.

Baum really did create a wonderful fantasy story for children with this book. The prose is straightforward but beautifully descriptive and the adventures are quite numerous for such a short story. I was pleased to find that the movie had done justice to the book, but there were also some rather startling discoveries such as Dorothy's not-so-ruby slippers: the magical, iconic Hollywood footwear were originally written to be silver shoes. The book also covers much more of the various people and places in Oz, including the Winkies and the Quadlings, and another surprise was that the winged monkeys were not entirely evil.

Would these be the world's most expensive shoes if they were silver?
I really enjoyed experiencing this book as an adult, but I'm rather sure I would have loved it even more as a child. Baum's imagination is extensive and I think Dorothy's adventures have a distinctive bedtime story feel to them. The classic characters of the Lion, Tin Woodsman, and Scarecrow, and even the spunky little dog Toto, make this a story about friendship and love as much as about fantasy and fun. Knowing that no matter how far one travels it is good to be safe and at home again, this story seems to end perfectly with the sighing words, "good night".

4 Response to "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"

  1. Sam (Tiny Library) says:
    October 5, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    I went through a similar experience - I never read this as a child but downloaded it for my Sony Reader. I loved it too, it left me with a smile on my face :)

  2. Book Loving Mommy says:
    October 5, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that there is an award waiting for you on my blog!

  3. Lesa says:
    October 5, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    I read this and more of the series at age 10-12 and I've read it a few times as an adult too. I remember being pleasantly surprised at all the facts left out of the movie too--So fun knowing more about Oz-- I always felt sorry for people who didn't know all the wonderful things there were to know about OZ.

  4. Casey (The Bookish Type) says:
    October 9, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    I love this review! It's so sweet! =) This one really has been eclipsed by the movie. I know I started reading it as a child, but I'm not sure I ever finished. After reading your review, I think I shall have to pick it up again!

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