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The Emerald City of Oz (Books of Wonder) Hardcover – Facsimile, April 23, 1993
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up?If only the superior production values of this audiobook were in service to a better story. The fine vocal characterizations by the actors and actresses really bring the characters to life. To children unaccustomed to read-aloud tapes, using several readers instead of only one will help listeners distinguish who is who. The entire text of the book is narrated, including "he said" and "she said," which allows the tape to be used as a read-along when paired with a copy of the book. Too bad this title is one of Baum's least compelling, even though there are several action scenes. The Emerald City of Oz begins at a snail's pace with the introduction of the villain, Nome King, who wants to destroy the Emerald City and retrieve his magic belt. The beginning also reintroduces Dorothy, Auntie Em, and Uncle Henry. We can look forward to other releases by Piglet Press if they are produced with such a fine cast of actors.
Penny Peck, San Leandro Public Library, CA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Aunt Emma, Uncle Henry and Dorothy, well treated during a Kansas draught-enforced visit at Ozma's court, are nevertheless unhappy because they have nothing special to do. But a trip through the Quadling country to Glinda's region puts new life in everyone. The Kansans decide to stay and Glinda decides to make Oz invisible to passing airplanes. Harry McNaught's flat, paper cut-out technique in the pictures, cleverly suggest depth and humor. --Kirbus Reviews --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
One cautionary note to those who wish to read this book to their young children: My little one was actually quite upset and frightened at the prospect of Oz being invaded and possibly destroyed by the Nomes and their ferocious allies. A number of times I had to soothe him by explaining that Ozma was sure to find some way to save her country. Perhaps this is a better book for older children.
The middle of the book meanders a bit, as Dorothy takes Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on a tour of some of the stranger parts of Oz. The various towns (Cuttenclips, Fuddles, Utensia, etc.) are half puns, half morality plays, but still clever for all of that. Dorothy is a well-written enough character that she can raise a smile even in a ridiculous scene like the one in Bunbury where she is offered a stale wheelbarrow to eat instead of the lunch she was looking for.
The Neill illustrations in this Oz book are particularly magical. For example, the big paste heads of the Whimsies have stuck in my head all the years since I have read it for the first time.
I have read all the Oz books multiple times, and this is one of the three which have proven the most memorable. (The other two are The Road to Oz and Ozma of Oz) It gets a high recommendation despite any minor flaws.
The normal Oz elements are there, as well as some evident growth in Baum's writing style. Other reviews note the first-time dual narrative, but Baum's style has grown in other ways as well. His homespun do-good philosophy remains but is now accompanied in some sections by puns that would make Piers Anthony blush. My personal preference among all chapters is the short trip to Utensia for this very reason. A very amusing chapter, completely lost on my son but entertaining to me.
One slight oddity is the political structure that is becoming increasingly clear in book after book: Oz is a Utopian Monarchy. Everyone does as they wish because everything is owned by a single person who gives completely free reign to everyone. I can see how this would be appealing to the kiddos (no need to work or go to school!), and I can accept the appeal as long as I get to be the king in my house!
This is an enjoyable read aloud to young children. Recommended.
Onr thing, though: The famed metallic ink in the Books Of Wonder edition is just sort of glittery. Nice, but not really any big deal. I don't think that this is the best looking BoW Oz book.
When "The Emerald City of Oz" was first published, a special metalic green ink was used on the cover, and on the illustrations throughout. However, after the first printing run, it was determined that this ink was far too expensive to continue with, and so a regular green ink was used.
This special edition from "Books Of Wonder" very faithfully reproduces the book as it was originally printed, including the use of a metallic green ink. Other OZ books from books of wonder are similarly faithfull in being full reproductions of the first editions.