Wizard of Oz

Baum, L. Frank. The Wizard of Oz. New York: Award Book, Inc., 1976.

This is one of those reviews I feel ridiculous writing because who doesn’t know the story of The Wizard of Oz? Actually, I take that back. Most people know Judy Garland as Dorothy. This Dorothy is a child living in a one-room house in Kansas with her aunt, uncle and dog, Toto. A tornado rips through the plains but before Dorothy and her little dog can make it to the hole in the floor the tiny house is swooped up in the tornado’s vortex and they are whisked off to a fantasy land. Upon landing they inadvertently kill a wicked witch (of the East). The townspeople munchkins are overjoyed but all Dorothy wants to do is go home. So, the munchkins give her the witch’s special shoes and send her along a yellow brick road. At the end of the road is a wizard who supposedly can help her get back to Kansas…however he has a favor to ask first. Along her journey she meets some oddball characters (the ones we all know and love, a tin woodsman, a cowardly lion, and a brainless scarecrow). Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched on their journey. The deceased witch’s sister (Wicked Witch of the West) wants the shoes given to Dorothy. To read The Wizard of Oz as an adult is 100% entertainment. I had fun taking note of how many times the brains-needing Scarecrow did something exceedingly smart or the Cowardly Lion acted inherently brave or the no-heart Tin Woodsman felt true compassion. Other amusements: the group discussing heart disease.

Author Fact: L. Frank Baum’s biography was recently aired on the Smithsonian channel (narrated by Miss Natalie Merchant).

Book Trivia: According to Baum’s introduction before  The Wizard of Oz Baum wrote this story because he felt the fairy tales of his day were too laden with morals and not “fun” enough for children. TWoO was written to be pure entertainment for children. However, I can remember being completely mortified by the Tin Man’s story of chopping off his own extremities!
Other book trivia: The Wizard of Oz was made into a movie in 1939 (as we all know) and like Wicked I am willing to bet more people have seen the movie than read the book. I know my grandmother plopped me and my sister in front of it every Thanksgiving.

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Fractured Fairy Tales” (p 94).

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