The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy. Toto. Witches. Wizard. Hot-air balloon. The end! Review over!

Okay, no. I’ll tell you more, as I actually found this book quite intriguing. My experience with Oz is primarily Wicked, the musical, which is fantastic; Wicked, the book (and its first sequel), which is frickin’ weird; and The Wizard of Oz, the movie, which I have seen all the way through maybe twice and probably not more recently than a decade ago. So as I was reading the book, I was constantly asking the husband, who has seen the movie many times, whether these things in the book were the same at all. Mostly, they were, but even the things that were the same were a little bit different!

The general story is the same, with all those words up at the top. Kansas is still super-duper grey, but no one bicycles outside the window during the tornado. Dorothy still squashes dead the Wicked Witch of the East, but no one really cares about her. The Good Witch of the North is not Glinda, and is also awesomely self-important (see her line that is something like, “The witches of the North and South are the good ones, which I know because I am one”). There’s a wonderful road of yellow brick, Dorothy meets some needy fellows, Oz is like, “I’m totally all-powerful but could you maybe go kill the Wicked Witch of the West for me?” Said W3 has not only flying monkeys, but also wolves, crows, and bees, but even with all that at her command she gives Dorothy a bucket of water which ends up melting the witch. The Wizard is like, crap, and placebos the needy fellows but offers Dorothy a ride in his hot-air balloon, which Toto totally screws up. Dorothy journeys to actual-Glinda of the South for help, with the needy fellows getting offered kingships along the way, and Glinda’s like, “Well, you could just use those shoes you took off of W2E and wish yourself home,” and Dorothy’s like, “Sweet,” and does just that.

So, interesting! I think that the book version manages to make more internal sense than the movie, except for that whole bucket of water thing, but of course there is no singing in the book and that is just disappointing! So, I should probably go watch the movie again, preferably with my cute little cousin-in-law dressed up as the Tin Man, as she is wont to do.

Recommendation: For lovers of delight and those who want to complete their movie experience.

Rating: 8/10

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6 thoughts on “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

  1. Mary says:

    I looooooooove Wicked the book, can I cannot believe you've only seen the movie twice… I had a copy of a special edition anniversary VHS that I beat the crap out of by watching it so many times before the age of 7. I also read the book at some point, and I vaguely remember almost wishing that the movie had been made so recently because some of the monsters in the book were so much cooler than what's in the movie, haha… wishing for CGI = blasphemy in Mary-land!

  2. Alison says:

    I'm sure if you count up all of the time I've spent watching various parts of The Wizard of Oz, it would add up to about umpteen jillion. I just never manage to see the whole thing all at once!

    And I'm with you on the monsters, though I can understand why they cut out, say, when the Tin Man and Scarecrow kill all those poor wolves and crows and bees to death. I was like, “Are you sure this is a story for tiny people?”

  3. Amy says:

    I was on this entire Oz kick for awhile as a kid. There are tons of Oz books and I read at least five or six. I remember liking the book so much more than the movie. Next you should read Mary Poppins – totally different than the movie!

  4. Alison says:

    There are at least a few Oz books on OverDrive, so I'm sure I'll be listening to them soon! I'll have to see if they have Mary Poppins, too…

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