Book Reviews

Review — The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Book title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Series: Oz, #1
Publisher: First published by George M. Hill Company
Release date: First published May 1900
Format: Email subscription, 43 installments
Source: Daily Lit.

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Note: The cover I am using for this review does not reflect the copy of the book I read.


Synopsis:

Follow the yellow brick road!

Dorothy thinks she’s lost forever when a tornado whirls her and her dog, Toto, into a magical world. To get home, she must find the wonderful wizard in the Emerald City of Oz. On the way she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. But the Wicked Witch of the West has her own plans for the new arrival – will Dorothy ever see Kansas again?


The review:

We all know the story of The Wizard of Oz, don’t we? Most of us have probably seen the iconic 1937 film starring Judy Garland.

The movie is embedded in my brain and while I was reading this children’s classic, I kept picturing everything as I’ve seen it in the film. I know this changed my experience of reading the book for the first time, and while parts of the story are different between the two versions, I am pleased to say that I was not at all disappointed. There’s a reason this story is famous and beloved. It’s just a great adventure no matter what form it’s in. Interesting to note, though, that in the book Dorothy’s slippers are silver, not red!

I missed out on reading this book when I was a kid. I saw it many times at my library over the years but never had a huge urge to read it. All this time later I decided I should finally see what I was missing out on.

To summarize quickly, a tornado hits Dorothy’s house in Kansas and whisks her away to a magical land called Oz. The book is Dorothy’s journey to find a way back home, by meeting with the great Wizard himself. She teams up with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion, the three of whom also want to ask the Wizard of Oz for brains, a heart, and courage, respectively. There’s also a Wicked Witch of the West, the famous poppy field, a Good Witch, green people, and a yellow brick road, to name a few things Dorothy encounters along her way. I don’t need to elaborate, do I? You know the story…

As I mentioned before, there are differences between the book and movie. The movie makes the Wicked Witch of the West a true villain, when in the book she doesn’t really do much until the Wizard has tasked Dorothy and her friends with killing the evil Witch, only after of which he will grant them their requests. Then the evil witch spins up some trouble, but she’s not even that menacing, to be honest. (Now the film version of the Wicked Witch of the West… absolutely terrifying!)

The movie also cut out a huge chunk of adventure toward the book’s end, as well as changed how Dorothy gets out of the sleep-inducing poppy field. In the film, Glinda the Good Witch makes it snow, therefore killing the poppies (if I remember correctly; it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie). In the book, it’s an entire clan of mice that help drag Dorothy and the Lion out of the field. I actually loved that scene, it might have been my favorite part of the whole book!

In terms of all the characters, I thought Dorothy was adorable. Her dog, Toto, too. The Scarecrow and Tin Man were fine, and felt very similar to their film counterparts. The Lion, though, has always annoyed me, both book and movie version. I think movie Lion is far more irritating than book lion (like, he’s my least favorite character in the film, right after the Wicked Witch of the West and that sad excuse of a Wizard), but I still wasn’t a huge fan of book lion.

Anyway, The Wizard of Oz (which was originally published as The Wonderful Wizard of the Oz) is a delightful story. The book is a quick and fun, fast-paced adventure full of magic and strange people and sights. I much prefer the film, but I do highly recommend the novel. Kids will love it, adults will love it for the nostalgia. I’m not sure if I’ll read the many sequels that make up the rest of the series. I don’t know if the rest of the books are as good as the first one, and I don’t want to taint the lovely experience I’ve had. ♦


So tell me…

Have you read The Wizard of Oz? If you haven’t, would you be interested to? Have you seen the classic movie? And what’s a children’s book you didn’t read during your childhood, but that you read later in life and still really enjoyed? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!

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7 thoughts on “Review — The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

  1. I remember reading The Wizard of Oz in primary school and absolutely LOVING IT, especially the parts that didn’t make it into the movie 😀 honestly I’d like to read it again just for the nostalgia. I’d completely forgotten that her shoes were silver 🙂

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