The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Barnes & Noble Classics) Paperback – Illustrated, September 1, 2005
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
From J. T. Barbarese’s Introduction to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
For readers who come to the novel after having grown up with the movie, the biggest shock is to find in the novel none of the film’s comforting, gap-filling backstory. Some of the cinematic revisions, such as the snowstorm that wakes the sleepers in the poppy field and that replaces their rescue by the Queen of the Mice in chapter IX, were cost-efficient alternatives to special effects that might have proven impossible or inadequate to the illusion.5 The change from Silver Shoes to Ruby Slippers in the 1939 movie, as most people know, was dictated by technical considerations (red showed up more vividly on the film stock of the period than silver); and American culture would be poorer without some of its memorable dialogue. But the principal changes are in the overall characterization and in retrospect seem less defensible. In the book Uncle Henry and Auntie Em never really emerge from the background and appear together only in chapter I, Auntie Em appearing alone in the very brief closing chapter. The film, however, shows them as loveable (if two-toned) representatives of a loveable Kansas home. Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch turns out to be one more ripple in Dorothy’s concussed subconscious and the Kansas prototype of the Wicked Witch of the West, who even has a name—Almira Gulch. Auntie Em is hardly the “thin and gaunt,” childless old woman whose eyes had lost their sparkle and were as gray as Kansas. She is an all-American original with a tongue and a personality to match. “Almira Gulch,” she says on hearing of Almira’s plan to destroy Toto, “just because you own half the county doesn't mean you have the power to run the rest of us!” Perhaps the biggest change is in Dorothy herself, who is actually a feistier child in the novel than on film. Consider the witch’s death. The film stages the event as an accident—Dorothy aims a bucket of water at the burning Scarecrow and douses the witch instead. But the novel makes it no accident. The witch tricks Dorothy and obtains one of her Silver Shoes. Dorothy gets “so very angry that she picked up the bucket of water that stood near and dashed it over the Witch.” Judy Garland’s Dorothy is tearfully apologetic; Baum’s is outspoken and “angry.”6
The screenwriters (Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar Allan Woolf) also expanded the roles of the three companions and turned the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Lion into metamorphosed versions of farmhands named Hunk, Hickory, and Zeke. Professor Marvel (Frank Morgan), the genial fraud who watches Dorothy head off as the tornado prepares to descend, reenters her dream vision as the Wizard (as well as, once in the City of Oz, the doorman of the Emerald City, a cabdriver, and the Wizard’s guard). These were more than touches of simple psychological realism. Like the technical stroke to shift to color from black and white when Dorothy arrives in Munchkin Land and the suddenly indispensable musical score, these permanent contributions to the Oz mythology are also improvisations that may not necessarily constitute improvements.7 They blur the clarity of the original, superimposing a second relational network on a clearer original. Dorothy and her companions each lack something and venture to the Emerald City to request it of the Wizard to find it, but in the novel neither the companions nor their deficiencies have reciprocal counterparts in the “real” world of Kansas. Oz is no Purgatory or compensatory educational experience, and it is definitely no metaphor for unconsciousness. Yet the film persuades the audience of a nearly allegorical symmetry between Kansas and Oz and raises unique questions. Is this Dorothy’s way of disclosing in dream truths too dangerous or painful to bear while awake? Are the three companions, like the three beasts who temporarily block Dante’s entrance to Hell, reflections of flaws in her personality? We don’t really know. The movie supplies teasing closures to questions that only it raises. The screenwriters’ brilliant adaptation—whether you find it welcome or not—turns each character into a symbolic referent, a point on a carefully plotted postcyclonic rainbow that begins and ends in Kansas. As a result, the film displaces emphasis from fantasy to psychology and makes several “unforgivable” changes.8 Whatever its justification in commercial or technical terms, the film forces its audience to measure the distance between Kansas and Oz in psychic, not imaginative, terms; it tidies up certain loose ends, such as the origins of the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow, each of whose histories is explained in the book, by eliminating the need for explanations. Everything that occurs in the end occurs in Dorothy’s mind.
This is an essential point: Baum’s Oz, like the Elysian Fields in Greek mythology or the witch’s house in “Hansel and Gretel,” is a place you can get to from here. There is no complicated prospectus, more fit for adults than children, of dream projections of waking originals. The text has a serene confidence in its own imaginative conditions that, along with its disquietingly simple style, are its lasting strengths. For those raised on the movie, what is “missing” is surface complexity, density of characterization, and witty dialogue. Baum’s prose is clear and childlike and represents an uncompromising attention to plot rather than style, to events over character. It’s almost as if children’s literature had found in Baum its own Homer, a writer whose straightforward and occasionally pedestrian style is the determined outcome of the oddness of the story he has to tell. You may miss the character overlays of the film and its calculated verbal ironies, derivative of the more sophisticated children’s books. You may long for the closure you feel when you see Ray Bolger behind the Scarecrow’s outlines or hear the Wizard in Professor Marvel’s voice.9 On the other hand, the novel dispensed with Wonderland-ish exits such as Dorothy’s coming to at the end or the final tableau where the ensemble, including Professor Marvel, gathers around her bed like a Broadway cast taking a second bow. While the last person to consult in matters of intention is the author, it’s noteworthy that Baum’s stated purpose was to “please children of today” with “a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.” Simplicity, in other words, was his goal, not stylistic flash or psychological nuance.
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And while it delivers on that, the quality of the printing, formatting, and layout is poor.
The Annotated Wizard of Oz, based on the original text by Frank Baum and including a variety of illustrations including original color plates by W. W. Denslow. Annotations by Michael Patrick Hearn.
Bottom Line First: Beautiful to look at. Annotations vary from highly informative to self-indulgent.
If you consider this as an especially learned coffee table book, The Annotated Wizard of Oz is no less than beautiful. The text of the Baum’s Oz is a reproduction of the original and therefore lovely to look at. Hearn has collected an enormous number of pictures and illustrations from many versions and variations of the Wonderful Wizard of oz. Old posters from the Broadway Extravaganza and Denslow variations on the main characters and so much more. The result s a book well worth flipping through and occasionally stopping to glance at a caption or pick up the odd bit of trivia.
Now then, the annotations themselves. The extensive introduction includes a more than pocket sized biography of Baum. Who knew how many areas where this man made of himself an expert and how many times he re-invented himself.
An acknowledged expert on raising and breading Chickens
Author of a Stamp Collector’s Directory
Novelty store owner
Town newspaper editor
Add a few other achievements before establishing himself as a leading author of Children’s Stories. As we say in Houston, The Oz books were not his first rodeo.
Hearn then gives us, still in the introduction something of a blow by blow recitation of everything the Wonderous Wizard of Oz spawned in the way of plays, the aforesaid Extravaganza, and toys. Then equal details leading to the rift between the Author and Denslow his illustrator.
If all of this does not serve warning that the annotator is easily distracted by too many details, Hearn requires 6 pages to get us from the 1900 cover of the original Wondrous Wizard of Oz to get to the List of Chapters. Most of these pages are in a fine print and double columns. 355 pages later Hearn gets us to the last page of a 190-page children’s book. Well that is the way of Annotation.
I like annotation. Background, local and personal references can enhance my appreciation of and understanding of how a book better fits into its time and how the author may have assumed we would grasp his intent. This much is fairly well achieved by Hearn. Unfortunately, he is given to discussing a vast amount of ways Baum’s work had been borrowed, interpreted or adopted to purposes that may have a tenuous connection to what is in the text. Annotations become as much speculative as informative. Ultimately this becomes a recitation of whatever ‘shiny’ or stray notion Hearn could link to some part of Baum’s fairy tale.
Speaking of self-indulgent_
My copy, purchased used came with a picture lost among the pages. A lovely young couple posed in front of what may have been their first home. She in front on him, in a nice checked blouse, he with is arms around her in a dark leather jacket. No date, place or names. Who ever you two are, I hope you are as happy and smiling as you are in this color picture.
The only negative thing I can say is that some of the illustrations have writing superimposed on top, and if they are darker illustrations it makes it difficult to read. But really, that is a pretty trivial thing.
Great book, great story, great time with my kiddo.
The sad part was that the binding fell apart the first time I opened the book. The first 20 pages were not lined up properly and didn’t get bound to the book. Returned.
Top international reviews
Espero que haya sido útil mi valoración.
When you read through you discover how much more story there is after The wonderful Wizard of Oz story. Most people have no idea more stories exist. You also admire how much of a grand imagination Frank Baum has, considering this is only the first 5 stories.
The first 5 stories are…
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Marvellous Land of Oz
Ozma of OZ
Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz
The Road to Oz
I totally recommend this to people young and old. I have included some pictures
If there is a moral in the story, it should be that good will triumph over evil. The other thing, is that when everybody helps one another, they will get repaid in some way.
It should be noted that the first edition was written in the year 1900, and this is a brave attempt by Mr Baum to write about Fantasy. By all the laws he has succeeded, particularly as it gets increasingly clear that Oz is not what he appears to be. Perhaps another warning of the story is "Don't believe all you hear". However, both film and book are timeless classics, This takes pride of place on my bookshelf. I am a collector!
What a great book. Great value for money. What I found really helpful is popping this book into Youtube where is will show step by step, page by page. You can view it for yourself.
Highly recommend this book & author. Its the same TLC & quality in every book that I have bought. Highly recommend
Oh my gosh, it's beautiful! It's the most beautiful book I own. (The cover illustration has marginally different colours than in the picture, but I honestly didn't notice until I came back to write this review. The title is green rather than red and the soldiers' outfits, pictured as red and green, are silver. The illustration also has more shine than the picture shows). The page edges are a gorgeous emerald green colour which was a delicious surprise. A childish joy bubbles up in me every time I look at it. I've started reading it, and it feels as magical to read as the story is inside.
I have to commend the predominantly yellow and green colour scheme. Can you get a more perfect pair of colours for a journey along the yellow brick road to the Emerald City?
This is a great, non offensive way of getting him started. Not only does he get to read a classic and make no mistake this comic is as true to the classic book (not the movie) as any interpretation can get. But he gets to read it in a way that's fun, doesn't bogged down by the writing and actually follows an amazing story.
If he likes it I'm hoping to follow it up with the other Oz books as well as Bone. That's the thing about reading, it doesn't matter where you get started as long as you're hooked from the start.
As well as the pop ups the pages are embossed and highly detailed. The yellow brick road is a stunning sweep of gold foil trailing across the pages. Each page has pages within it, either in the form of tiny books or hidden flaps which contain smaller pop ups, gorgeous illustrations and more of the story. Children will be intrigued as they hunt for the next part of the tale to unfold.
The main popups which take place over double spread pages are elaborate and delicate. This is most definitely not a book for younger readers. The pages require a real lightness of touch if they are to remain intact, particularly the page where Dorothy sails away from Oz in the giant balloon and the initial pages showing the tornado twisting its way over Kansas.
There are wonderful extra touches like the pair of green glasses to wear on the page which unfolds to reveal the Emerald City. The book is just a joy to own and has something to please on every, single page.
One of my Favourites when I was a child. I've always loved this book and the film. So, I downloaded this book and I sat in my garden with a coffee today reading one of my favourites again.
So, who's too old at 47? to go back into to Dorothy's world and following the yellow-brick road to the Emerald City, Meeting the Wicked Witch of the West and then with the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion.......
Still a fab book for any age.......
Está hecho al mínimo detalle, con unas figuras que nos te imaginas.
Cada página que pasas es más increíble que la anterior. Además, tiene subdesplegables en cada página, realizados con la misma maestría.
Los textos son en inglés, pero muy sencillos.
Yo lo recomendaría para cualquier edad. Mi hijo tiene dos años y medio, y me lo pide cada día, siempre con nuestra supervisión.
Totalmente recomendable. Intentaré conseguir más libros de este autor.