Tagged: dorothy

Book Review: The Magic of Oz

11081386_1_lTitle: The Magic of Oz
Written by: L. Frank Baum
Series: Book 13 in the Oz series
Publisher: Reilly & Britton
Publish Date: 1919
Genre: Middle Grade Classic!
Pages: 266
Source: Borrowed from Library
Buy the Book: The Magic of Oz

Synopsis: There’s trouble once again in the land of Oz!

The mischievous boy Kiki Aru has discovered a magical word–Pyrzqxgl–can transform him and anyone else into whatever Kiki demands. Worse yet, Kiki has been recruited by the villainous Nome King in his latest attempt to get revenge on Princess Ozma and all her friends.

While Ozma’s court plans a spectacular celebration for her birthday, Dorothy and the Wizard set out with the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger to find a gift for their beloved princess. But in the Forest of Gugu they become entangled in the wicked plans and magical transformations of Kiki and the Nome King.

Can Dorothy and the Wizard stop the evil-doers before they conquer Oz? Or will Kiki’s incredible powers finally give the Nome King the revenge he has craved for so long? (Via Amazon)

Brian’s Review: A year ago this week I started reading, for the first time since childhood, L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, a gorgeous annotated edition that had nearly 100 pages of biography on Baum and all sorts of neat trivia about the book. At the time I was working on my newest revision of my young adult novel Over the Rainbow, a subversive modern day update of The Wizard of Oz, and I thought it would be fun to embark on a fourteen-month project and finally read all of Baum’s Oz books, not just the first one or two. When I was a kid my mom bought me the first 10, so I’ve had most of the books on my bookshelf for about twenty years. The farthest I ever got back in the third grade was Ozma of Oz, and I thought it was time to finally explore what else Baum’s world had to offer.

A lot has happened in the last year—I finally finished and self-published Over the Rainbow, started graduate school and teaching, and completed two additional novels—but in the midst of all of life’s craziness, it’s been so much fun for me to curl up in bed for a few hours each month and check out Baum’s latest offering. It’s kind of amazing to think I only have one left to read—Glinda of Oz—before this sometimes frustrating but mostly enjoyable journey comes to a close. I haven’t liked all of the books, with some so far removed from the core set characters we love and adore that at times they don’t even feel like Oz books. Unfortunately, The Magic of Oz is one of the lesser entries in the series.

Like Scarecrow of Oz and Riki-Tink in Oz, the characters we’ve come to know and love act as side characters to the new Kiki Aru, who finds great use with his newfound magical power. Baum bounces around to a few stories throughout the novel, essentially making this his “Magnolia,” but unfortunately the storyline here is nowhere near as compelling as the twelfth book in the series, Tin Woodman of Oz, which kept me throughout engaged from beginning to end. I find the best books in series, like Ozma of Oz and The Emerald City of Oz, to have high stakes, with the lesser having little to no stakes, like The Magic of Oz, which has a storyline that depends on whether or not Dorothy and the Wizard can find Ozma a frickin’ birthday present (!). The best scenes of the book occur at the end, like when all of the characters sit around Ozma’s birthday table and make conversation, and the last chapter when the Nome King finally gets his comeuppance in the Emerald City. Overall, this was an OK read, not the worst of the series, but not one of the best, either. I have a fixation on the books revolving around the characters from the previous books that I’m interested in, and when Baum throws in a new character for half the book that doesn’t offer much interest or personality, I tune out a little.

I’m hoping Glinda of Oz ends the fourteen book series on a high note. Check back in December to see what I think of Baum’s last book, and my thoughts on the series as a whole!

Book Review: The Lost Princess of Oz

425px-Cover_~_The_Lost_Princess_of_OzTitle: The Lost Princess of Oz
Written by: L. Frank Baum
Series: Book 11 in the Oz series
Publisher: Reilly & Britton
Publish Date: 1917
Genre: Middle Grade Classic!
Pages: 312
Source: Borrowed from Library
Buy the Book: The Lost Princess of Oz

Synopsis: Princess Ozma is missing! When Dorothy awakens one morning to discover that the beloved ruler of the Land of Oz has disappeared, all of the Emerald City’s most celebrated citizens join in the search for the lost princess.

But Ozma isn’t all that’s gone missing. The magical treasures of Oz have disappeared, too, including the Magic Picture, the Wizard’s black bag, and even Glinda’s Great Book of Records. With no clues to guide them, Ozma’s friends separate into four search parties and spread out across their vast country in a desperate quest for their absent ruler.

Deep in the Winkle Country, Dorothy’s search party is soon Joined by Cayke the Cookie Cook, who has lost a magic gold dishpan, and the amazing Frogman, a man-sized frog who walks on his hind legs. Together with these new allies, Ozma’s friends learn that their valued possessions aren’t missing but have been stolen by a mysterious villain. If their new foe is powerful enough to steal Princess Ozma and all of their magical treasures, how will they defeat him with no magic of their own? (Via Amazon)

Brian’s Review: Since reading The Patchwork Girl of Oz, I’ve been complaining that many of these later sequels are subpar to the magic and wonder of the original The Wizard of Oz (released in 1900) and Ozma of Oz, still the best of the sequels. I was particularly disappointed by The Scarecrow of Oz  and Rinki-Tink of Oz, both which felt like non-Oz books, with some generic Oz elements thrown in during the last few chapters. With only four books left to go in Baum’s series, I was worried there wouldn’t be any bright light as I reach the end this December. Was there going to be a late surprise? YES!

The Lost Princess of Oz is grand entertainment, a rousing adventure all the way through, and it does everything right where so many of the other sequels have gone wrong. What works here? One, a simple story. The last two sequels were so damn complicated sometimes I’d start skimming. In this one, Ozma gets kidnapped, and her friends have to find her. That’s it. And it makes for a fun journey. Two, we actually get to spend the book with the characters we adore! Unlike Rinki-Tink in Oz, which introduces us to new characters for 250 pages and then throws Dorothy and Ozma in the last couple characters, The Lost Princess of Oz gives us Glinda and Dorothy and the Scarecrow and many others from the early books, from the get-go! Baum does spend too much time in the middle portion with the amazing Frogman character, but even he is one of the more charming new characters of these later sequels. Three, there’s a strong and at times spooky villain, Ugu, the Shoemaker. Not only are the illustrations of this old, vindictive man rather eerie, but he is easily the most memorable villain Baum has created since the Nome King. What happens to him, and where he ends up in the end, is also unexpected, and surprisingly beautiful. And four, this adventure, unlike some of the others, feels fresh, with lots of innovative ideas along the way, one of my favorites being a wall of ghost girl soldiers who pretend to have the power to keep the core characters away from Ugu’s lair.

As we head into October, the fourteen-month Oz books project, something I’ve wanted to take on for years, is winding down, with only three books left to go. After Baum died, the books continued by John R. Neill, but I wanted to focus solely on the works Baum had his stamp on. As I get nearer to the end, I’m very interested to see if there’s any sense of finality in Glinda of Oz, Baum’s final book, but I’m not done yet! I’m excited to see if the Tin Woodman gets his own story in book 12, and not be tossed off to the side for the majority of the pages like the Scarecrow did in book 9. Not every sequel has been a success, but I’m so happy to see the amount of fun Baum seems to had on The Lost Princess of Oz, easily the best sequel of the series since The Emerald City of Oz. If you’re not going book by book like I am, and just simply want to read a fun later sequel, give The Lost Princess of Oz a try. It’s a great read!

Book Review: The Patchwork Girl of Oz (100th Anniversary!)

i003Title: The Patchwork Girl of Oz
Written by: L. Frank Baum
Series: Book 7 in the Oz series
Publisher: Reilly & Britton
Publish Date: 1913
Genre: Middle Grade Classic!
Pages: 352
Source: Received as a Child
Buy the Book: The Patchwork Girl of Oz

Synopsis: Forced to venture out of the dark forest, Unc Nunkie and Ojo the Unlucky call on the Crooked Magician, who introduces them to his latest creation: a living girl made out of patchwork quilts and cotton stuffing. But when an accident leaves beloved Unc Nunkie a motionless statue, it is up to Ojo to save him. In his search for the magic ingredients that will restore his uncle to life, Ojo is joined by the Patchwork Girl and by the conceited Glass Cat, who boasts of her hard ruby heart, the resourceful Shaggy Man, and the lovable block-headed Woozy, whose tail hairs are just one of the things Ojo needs to rescue Une Nunkie.

As they travel to the Emerald City, home of the wise and powerful Ozma, they meet Dorothy, the kind and sensible girl from Kansas; the gallant Scarecrow; and, of course, Toto. But no one proves more loyal than the spirited Patchwork Girl, who, although she was brought to life as a servant, is determined to see the wide world for herself. (Via Amazon)

Brian’s Review: In 1910, L. Frank Baum put a firm, decisive end to his Oz series, with The Emerald City of Oz, the sixth installment, by cutting off the land of Oz from the rest of the world… for good! Three years passed, and no Oz books. Of course we all know that Baum would go on to write a whopping eight more. So what happened? From Wikipedia: “He was forced to restart the series with this book due to financial hardships.” So essentially The Patchwork Girl of Oz exists because Baum needed the money, and for me, this kind of approach to the material, not of passion or want, but necessity, is apparent all through the pages. This is not only the longest Oz book so far, at 350 pages (Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz was 220), but it’s also the weakest in terms of originality and excitement. When the title character having a romance with the Scarecrow is the most interesting plot development in the book, you know something’s not quite right.

Of course the book is entertaining enough to please readers out there, young and old, and Baum even stated once that this was one of the two best books he ever wrote. His reasoning for being able to revisit the land of Oz is a clever one. One of the many readers who pined for more books suggested to Baum that he should correspond with Princess Dorothy through wireless telegraph, and by golly, it worked! These books were so popular that it seems surprising it took Baum three years to write the next one, but the main question I have is, did we need more?

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Maybe my problem at this point is that the books are becoming just a little too routine for my taste. They always start with characters finding themselves with a crisis, a need to have something fixed, and then the characters begin their journey to the Emerald City to find the help they need. In this case we have a slate of new characters, like Ojo, a munchkin boy; Scraps, the patchwork girl, and Bungle, a Glass Cat. Ojo’s Unc Nunkie accidentally gets petrified into a marble statute, and Ojo has to set on a quest to return him to his normal state. The first big chunk of the book completely revolves around new characters. Along the way the group meets all the beloved characters we’ve come to know over the last six books, and in the end, the Wizard of Oz ultimately saves the day. It’s fun to see all these characters again, but at some point, even though I know these are children’s books, I want some stakes, some horror, something to throw the series for a loop. It’d be like if the seventh Harry Potter novel was just Rowling introducing a couple new wizards, have them have fun with Harry and Ron and Hermione for a few days, then go home.

Of course kids will probably have a fun time with The Patchwork Girl of Oz, and all the previous entries of the series. While the original Wizard of Oz is still my favorite of the series, two sequels have exceeded my expectations—Ozma of Oz and The Emerald City of Oz. These were two sequels where Baum raised the stakes a little and gave us some real terror spread out among the more casual nature of the characters’ journeys. While this one disappointed me a little, I’m confident he’ll have some tricks up his sleeves for the remaining books. The last one as a child that I ever owned and perused over was Tik-Tok of Oz, the eighth installment, and I know absolutely zip about Books 9-14. Here’s hoping for a nice surprise!

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Book Review: The Road to Oz

the-road-to-ozTitle: The Road to Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Series: Book 5 of 14 of the Oz Series
Publisher: Reilly & Britton
Publish Date: 1909
Genre: Middle Grade Classic!
Pages: 245
Source: Received as a Child
Buy the Book: The Road to Oz

Synopsis: Dorothy and Toto are off again on an exciting adventure down The Road to Oz!

In order to help the lovable, ever-wandering Shaggy Man, Dorothy and Toto must journey through magical and mysterious lands. Soon the three are joined by a lost lad named Button-Bright and the beautiful young Polychromethe Rainbow’s Daughter. With magic at work and danger about, these new friends must journey through cities of talking beasts, across the Deadly Desert into the Truth Pond, and through many other strange and incredible places before they can reach the Emerald City.

Along the way, Dorothy and her companions encounter a whole new assortment of fantastic and funny characters–the crafty King Dox of Foxville, the magical donkey King Kik-a-bray, the terrible bigheaded Scoodlers, and Johnny Dooit (who can do anything)–along with old friends Jack Pumpkinhead, Tik-tok, Billina, and, of course, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and the wonderful Wizard himself. (Via Amazon)

Brian’s Review: The Road to Oz was the last of the first five books of the Oz series that I received as a child. If I recall I got them for Easter in 1993, when I was eight. I read books 1-3 that year but never got around to 4 and 5. It might have taken me TWENTY years, but I’ve finally read them! I’m so happy I never gave any of them away, because these are delightful reads I hope to share with my own kids one day. Is The Road to Oz as good as the first book, or the enchanting third entry of the series, Ozma of Oz? Unfortunately no. This is easily the weakest book of the bunch, with lots of new characters and adventures but very little in the way of peril and stakes. There’s a lot of imagination to be spared, but it should be obvious to anyone over the age of twelve that Mr. Baum is just going through the motions here. Just look at what he said in his introduction:

“In the preface to Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, I said I would like to write some stories that were not Oz stories, because I thought I had written about Oz long enough; but since that volume was published I have been fairly deluged with letters from children imploring me to write more about Dorothy and more about Oz and since I write only to please the children I shall try to respect their wishes.”

Imagine if this were happening to J.K. Rowling right now, pumping out a new Harry Potter book a year, each one dwindling in quality, with an intro to each book saying, “Well I’d like to do other things… anything else really… but you all are forcing me to continue with a story I feel is finished. Speaking of finished, Baum goes on to say…

“Since this book was written I have received some very remarkable news about the Land of Oz, which has greatly astonished me… but it is such an exciting story that it must be saved for another book—and perhaps that book will be the last story that ever will be told about the land of Oz.”

He basically finishes his intros giving the readers his hope that maybe the next book, or the one after that, will be the end of Oz. Of course at this point he would go on to write ten more Oz books, and he only didn’t write thirty more… because he passed away. It’s hard to feel too sorry for him, because besides the joy of all the children who loved these books, they were obviously paying the bills for the man in spades. But there’s something sad about someone who can’t pursue other interests in the profession he loves and feels forced to just write the same story over and over.

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The Road to Oz IS the same story, basically, of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, except Dorothy meets a new array of characters and doesn’t fall toward the center of the earth but instead just finds a road that magically leads toward Oz. (One part that really made me laugh was when Dorothy says her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em won’t worry about her because they’re used to her disappearing for days at a time!) The best part of this fifth installment is the instruction of three new memorable characters, the Shaggy Man, Button-Bright, and Polychrome, who is the Rainbow’s daughter. Unlike some of the more outlandish new characters in the fourth book, these three were a little more down to Earth and provided great new friends for our lovable Dorothy.

My main issue with The Road to Oz is that there are basically no stakes, no crisis at all. There are a few small moments of danger in the middle portion of the book, and of course it’s a little disconcerting in the beginning when a tall, strange man confronts Dorothy all by her lonesome, but there’s not a whole lot in this one to keep you flipping through the pages to see what happens next. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy needed to get home. In The Road to Oz, she’ll go home when she feels like it. The last fifty pages of this book consists of pretty much every Oz character from this and all the previous books gathering for Ozma’s birthday, a lavish spectacle filled with great food and dance and fun. Plus there’s a few brand new characters introduced at the end. (Alert! Alert! The Road to Oz jumps the shark! Many crazy characters are introduced in each new Oz book, but in this one, the craziest of them all strolls into oz. SANTA CLAUS is in The Road to Oz!) What if Ozma got kidnapped right before the birthday? What if she came down with a strange illness they have to cure? What if she hit menopause? I don’t know, something, anything. These books are for kids, but kids still need a little conflict in their stories, right?

I’m still excited to read the rest of Baum’s Oz series. I remember loving parts of Patchwork Girl of Oz, Book 7, as a kid, and I’m certain I’ll find another gem in the books to come. My main hope is that Baum enjoyed writing these books, because with each successive one, I’m having the sad realization that maybe he didn’t.

Book Review: The Marvelous Land of Oz

marvelouslandofozARCHIVE[1]Title: The Marvelous Land of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Series: Book 2 of the Oz series
Publisher: Reilly & Britton
Publish Date: 1904
Genre: Middle Grade Classic
Pages: 274
Source: Borrowed from Library
Buy the Book: The Marvelous Land of Oz

Synopsis: First issued in 1904, L. Frank Baum’s The Marvelous Land of Oz is the story of the wonderful adventures of the young boy named Tip as he travels throughout the many lands of Oz. Here he meets with our old friends the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, as well as some new friends like Jack Pumpkinhead, the Wooden Sawhorse, the Highly Magnified Woggle-Bug, and the amazing Gump. How they thwart the wicked plans of the evil witch Mombi and overcome the rebellion of General Jinjur and her army of young women is a tale as exciting and endearing today as it was when first published over eighty years ago. (Via Amazon)

Brian’s Review: Having only read the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a child (as well as the beginning of The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Book 7, for a reason I don’t remember), I’m ecstatic to, even at the ripe old age of 28, to immerse myself into L. Frank Baum’s world of Oz that he created more than 100 years ago, with reading all 14 of his novels, one a month, all the way until the end of 2013. I know a few details about the books, but pretty much everything beyond Tik-Tok of Oz, Book 8, is at a total mystery to me, and I’m curious to see how his tale wraps up in the fourteenth and final tale, Glinda of Oz, Book 14.

I did know sitting down to read The Marveous Land of Oz that Dorothy was nowhere to be found, and that irked readers demanded he bring back Dorothy for Book 3. How did Baum take all this in? He never set out to write a series. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was supposed to be it, but after two or three years of unthinkable demand for a sequel, he finally penned The Marvelous Land of Oz. How does it compare to Book 2? Could anything he have written compare to Book 2?

The Marvelous Land of Oz is great fun, a new adventure in Oz that is similar to the journey taken in Book 1, but with enough small changes to make it completely new. Instead of Dorothy this time we have Tip, a young boy who’s under the guardianship of a mischievous witch. He eventually flees, with a live pumpkinhead and sawhorse in two, and find The Scarecrow ruling The Emerald City. The city is overtaken by an all-girl Army of Revolt who overtake the Scarecrow and take what they think is theirs. Tip and the others flee to the Winkie Kingdom to find The Tin Woodman ruling over a kingdom of his own, and as a group they conspire to return to the Emerald City and overthrow the new regime. And in the end they find Glinda, who has a big surprise for the group that changes all their lives forever.

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Let’s be honest, though: this isn’t The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It doesn’t have the same charm and discovery of the original, and while I don’t think Dorothy needs to be the focal character of all of Baum’s fourteen books, I would lie if I didn’t say I missed her throughout these pages. Tip is fine, and his reveal in the end makes his character’s inclusion worth the reader’s time, but he just doesn’t have the same spunky personality of Dorothy. Also, while I loved spending time with the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, I missed the Cowardly Lion (now, hopefully not so cowardly)! Where was he? I’m curious why Baum felt he didn’t even need to mention the lion at all in these nearly three hundred pages.

What I enjoyed about this sequel is the delightful prose that take us from the beginning to the end. I can see myself reading these books to my kids someday. There’s a joy to the characters and to the journey that really brings back the wonder of childhood. I loved Jack Pumpkinhead and all his quirks. I loved the addition of another witch antagonist, Mombi, who actually plays a much bigger part here than the Wicked Witch of the West played in the original book! And the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman are such humorous, nostalgic character that spending more time with them is nothing short of a pleasure.

I like Baum’s writing a lot. It’s easy to read but still super detailed, and all of his characters, both new and old, burst with life. The ending does a good job setting up the next installment, and I’m excited to see how this series will evolve, especially with Dorothy, and even the Wizard (!), back in the mix.

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Book Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Series: Book 1 of the Oz Series
Publisher: George M. Hill Company
Publish Date: May 19, 1900
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Pages: 259
Buy the book: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Note: There are a bazillion editions of The Wizard of Oz. I recommend the Annotated edition. released in 2000, edited by Michael Patrick Hearn. It’s filled with Baum’s complete biography, the initial drawings by W.W. Denslow, notes that accompany the text, and lots more. Highly recommended!

Brian’s Review: We here at Story Carnivores love to read books, and as we said in our initial video, not everything we review will be the latest and greatest. From time to time, we’re going to look at some classics, too! So why The Wizard of Oz? What could I possibly add to what’s been said about this book over the last 112 years? Well, I’m going to be doing something that I imagine few book bloggers ever have: I’m going to read all 14 of L. Frank Baum’s original Oz books, one a month, all the way to the end of 2013.

I first got this idea over the summer, when I was writing my YA novel Over the Rainbow (currently out to literary agents), a modern update of The Wizard of Oz. When I was a kid I got the first 8 Oz books but only read two or three of them. I remember falling in love with the characters, with the world, but never taking the time to tackle the complete series. And going into 2013, as I look at a potential major rewrite of my novel, and possibly even come up with sequel ideas, I thought it would be important (and fun!) to read Baum’s series, one at a time, and take the readers of Story Carnivores along for the ride.

So here goes nothing. The beginning of my 14-month challenge. All 14 Oz books, reviewed here at Story Carnivores!

And we start with the original, and to what to Baum was always intended to be the only. Instead of picking up any old copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I found an awesome edition of the book at the local library called The Annotated Wizard of Oz, which has the complete text, as well as hundreds of pages of trivia, biographies, funny anecdotes, and more. I devoured this 400-page book in about five days and loved every second of it. The book starts with about 100 pages on Baum’s history, and how he came to write Oz, and its thirteen sequels. I was unaware that Baum had been publishing multiple books throughout the years before Oz came along, including 55 novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, and more. Even after writing The Wizard of Oz, he set out to redefine himself with other works of fantasy for children, all works that have been forgotten today. He didn’t want or need to write a second Oz book; he only did so when he was inundated with letters from children who demanded he write a sequel. All these years later, we can be glad he did, because these books are pure magic, and I’m excited to dig through this series, which includes at least 8 or 9 books I’ve never picked up before.

Not having read The Wizard of Oz since childhood, I was struck by a lot of things, mostly obvious of which how different the endeavor is from the classic 1939 MGM production, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’d been so long I just figured the book and the film were sort of similar, but I was totally wrong! Here, for example, are some major differences in the book:

  • No time is spent in Kansas hardly at all in the beginning. Within just a couple pages we’re tossed into Oz. There’s barely any Uncle Henry or Auntie Em, and none of the other characters from the film.
  • Dorothy is about 5 or 6 years old, definitely not teenage like in the movie. Oz producers initially wanted Shirley Temple, who would’ve been more in line with the age in the book. 
  • The shoes are silver, not ruby! Apparently ruby was chosen for the movie because red would look better against yellow on film. 
  • The Wicked Witch of the West is barely in the book! She doesn’t greet Dorothy at the site of her sister’s death, she doesn’t shout at them from atop a roof by the Tin Woodman. The Wicked Witch is in one single chapter about halfway through the book, and she’s described as short, old, mannish, one-eyed. Nothing like the movie!
  • No singing (obviously)!
  • The scarecrow, tin man, and cowardly lion all reveal to Dorothy in detail their histories, something the movie barely touched on. Did you know, for example, that the tin man was in love once and that’s why he needs a heart? 
  • The poppy field Dorothy and the lion get sleepy in is not enchanted by the wicked witch, but simply is what it is! Even worse, they leave the lion behind for a short while!
  • There are a ton of mini stories not featured in the movie, like a stork saving the scarecrow’s life, and the tin man beheading a wildcat and saving the lives of mice. Yes, that’s right, there’s a beheading. Not exactly material for 5 year olds. 
  • They have to wear green sunglasses in the Emerald City, or otherwise they’d be blinded by the bright lights!
  • The Wizard’s reveal as a normal old man doesn’t come at the very end, but arrives with another 50-60 pages of the book still to go!
  • Where the film ends, the book is just getting started, with plenty more adventures in store! Dorothy in the book does not just click her heels together; she has to travel all the way to the land of Glinda, the Good Witch (who is the witch of the South here) to find a way home. Along the way the scarecrow, tin man, and lion take advantage of their newfound traits. And they stumble across the Attacking Trees, which was a deleted scene nixed from the film!

All in all, I’ve have to say I still prefer the movie, but the book is loads of fun, too. I love Baum’s simple, classic writing style, which doesn’t overload the reader with unnecessary information. The whole adventure has a casual nature to it that makes for light, pleasing reading. I could totally see myself reading this book for a child of mine in the future. It’s filled with so many wondrous, magical characters, both the leads that are also in the movie, but also side characters who don’t even show up in the background in the famous film. The book is enchanting, and sets up so many questions about the world that it seems odd Baum didn’t intend to write any sequels. It’d be like if J.K. Rowling had written Sorcerer’s Stone then never wrote another Harry Potter. Doesn’t make sense. Therefore I’m glad I have many more opportunities to travel back to this world!

With my newest YA novel at the forefront of my mind, and with all of these Oz books to read, and with the awesome-looking Sam Raimi film opening in March, my life right now is consumed with Oz! And I couldn’t be happier. Check back next month for a look at the 1904 sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz!