- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 4
- Lexile Measure: 1020 (What's this?)
- Series: Books of Wonder
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (August 17, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0688098266
- ISBN-13: 978-0688098261
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 148 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (Books of Wonder) Hardcover – August 17, 1990
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About the Author
L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900 and received enormous, immediate success. Baum went on to write seventeen additional novels in the Oz series. Today, he is considered the father of the American fairy tale. His stories inspired the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz, one of the most widely viewed movies of all time.
Michael Sieben is a professional designer and illustrator, primarily within the sub-culture of skateboarding, whose work has been exhibited and reviewed worldwide as well as featured in numerous illustration anthologies. He is a staff writer and illustrator for Thrasher magazine, and a weekly columnist for VICE.com. He is also a founding member of Okay Mountain Gallery and Collective in Austin, Texas, as well as the cofounder of Roger Skateboards. The author of There's Nothing Wrong with You (Hopefully), he lives and works in Austin.
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If you happen to know Dorothy Gale, let me advise you to stay away from her. The girl attracts natural disasters like she’s some sort of magnet. This time, it’s an earthquake. Dorothy and her cousin Zeb are traveling on a wagon in California when it strikes. Down they go into a big crack in the earth and keep falling until they land in a city made of glass buildings. There are several clues that they have entered a fairy realm: Zeb’s horse (Jim) and Dorothy’s kitten (Eureka) can suddenly talk, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz (who was also in California) shows up with nine tiny piglets in his pocket, and the inhabitants of the city turn out to be made of vegetable matter. Dorothy and her friends can’t get out of the earth the way they came, so they decide to try to walk to Oz where they know they’ll be welcome.
First they are nearly killed while trying to fight their way past the vegetable people. Then they are nearly killed when they travel through a land where the inhabitants eat a fruit that makes them invisible so they don’t get eaten by the local bears. Then they get captured and nearly killed by wooden “gargoyles.” Finally they make it to Oz where Dorothy introduces her traveling companions to all of her old friends and the reader gets to spend time with their favorite Oz characters (Ozma, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Billina, Hungry Tiger, Sawhorse, Woggle-bug, etc.).
There are some continuity problems with Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. At the end of the last book (Ozma of Oz), we are told:
…it was arranged that every Saturday morning Ozma would look at Dorothy in her magic picture, wherever the little girl might chance to be. And, if she saw Dorothy make a certain signal, then Ozma would know that the little Kansas girl wanted to revisit the Land of Oz, and by means of the Nome King’s magic belt would wish that she might instantly return.
But here Dorothy tells us:
“…Well, every day at four o’clock Ozma has promised to look at me in that picture, and if I am in need of help I am to make her a certain sign and she will put on the Nome King’s Magic Belt and wish me to be with her in Oz.”
Not only does Baum get it wrong in this book, but if Dorothy thought she had the power at 4:00 every day to wish herself to Oz, why the heck didn’t she do that instead of dragging her friends through all these life-threatening situations? Also, the invisible people warned Dorothy et al that they would have to sneak past the gargoyles, so why didn’t they bring the fruit that would make them invisible? Even the children who Baum is writing for are going to be asking these questions.
Still, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is fairly entertaining because it features the cute absurdities that Baum is so good at. There are a couple of thoughtful bits, too, such as the realization that if everyone in your town was invisible, you would care a lot more about your personality and behavior than about how you look or dress.
I enjoyed Claire Bronson’s narration of the audio version I listened to. You can “buy” the free Kindle version and then add narration for a couple of dollars.
Like the other Oz books, this fourth one included lots of fun wordplay. The story of OZPINHEAD was funny. I enjoyed Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz very much. I highly recommend it to people of all ages, especially those who are Oz fans.
The story itself is pretty good. Although all of this series is clearly written for children, it's entertaining enough for adults to enjoy reading as well. But as an adult, I couldn't help but notice that many of the characters in all of these Oz stories, including the central characters, are often conceited, arrogant, and rude, yet at the same time, quite polite about it.
Sorry. I confess right up front that I'm being completely uncritical here. If I were critical about the preposterous concepts, the lack of development of the new worlds visited, the flake-outs of the continuity of the series, or the shape of the plot, this one would not fare too well. Yet, I enjoyed it. I delighted in the wildly imaginative creatures, even if they were underdeveloped. I loved the unpredictability of what happens next and then what happens after that. Most of the book was a wacky "on the road" journey through cultures that exist underground. Near the end of the book, the cast arrives in Oz and has warm-fuzzy reunions with old friends-for the most part. Suffice it to say, some of the new members of the cast don't play well with others. Lastly there is court-room drama where a kitten is put on trial for murder. It's absurd, but if you can approach the book with the innocence of a child with wide surprised eyes, it's fun!
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