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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Books of Wonder) Paperback – August 21, 2001
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In spite of the fact that L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) is one of the most popular stories in America, relatively few people have actually read the book. It's well worth the effort! Young readers expecting rainbows, Munchkin songs, and wicked witches with burning brooms will instead find a complex country populated with mocking Hammerhead men, dainty people made out of china, and fierce monsters with heads of tigers and bodies of bears. Through the fantastic land of Oz ramble Dorothy and her trusty companions--Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion--each seeking his or her heart's desire. Although the premise of the book and the 1939 movie is the same, the book--as so often is the case--delivers a far more subtle and intricate plot. A child's imagination will run rampant in these pages as one extraordinary creature after another leads the motley crew into strange and magical adventures. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Viennese illustrator and Hans Christian Andersen Medalist Lisbeth Zwerger takes a fresh look at L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz in a large-format edition. Zwerger's fantastical, delicate, eccentric illustrations bear no resemblance to the vision of the movie; they make the classic tale new again. And readers can view the Emerald City through a pair of green-tinted glasses, provided in the back of the book.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Am I sorry I waited so long (I'm 28), and it seems almost a sin to have done so, for I am of the natural disposition that the book IS ALWAYS better than the movie. So goes my general experience and as such was the case here with this classic children's fairy tale. Which, of its own merits has received much praise as well as occasional flak, and only a good story can conjure both.
Originally published today... 113 years ago (5.17.1900)... we encounter all the familiar characters: Dorothy, Toto, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion.
As is familiar to most, Dorothy is taken from Uncle Henry and Aunt Em by a cyclone which drops her off in the Land of Oz, a great (usually referred to as `terrible') and secretive wizard. In efforts to get herself back to Kansas, Dorothy must find Oz in the City of Emeralds which is located along the yellow brick road. She first encounters the Scarecrow whom needs some brains; then the tin woodsman, who, caught in a rainstorm rusted into position and being made completely of tin (as the wicked witch had cursed his axe to slowly dismember him until he had no flesh parts... yeah, that wasn't in the movie, huh?) had seized and been stationary for a year, he needs a heart.
Between these two we enter a neat little philosophical debate:
Woodsman: `But once I had brains, and a heart also; so, having tried them both, I should much rather have a heart' (321).
Scarecrow: `I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.' (349). To which the Tin Woodsman retorts: `I shall take the heart, for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.' (350).
Woodsman: `You people with hearts, have something to guide you, and need never do wrong; but I have no heart, and so I must be very careful.' (411).
For the head or heart?
Once the troupe is all together, we encounter many quick little adventures through the land of Oz, many that were not, nor could be, chronicled in the movie due to their graphic nature. Field mice rescuing the sleeping (drugged) lion from a poppy field (586). The Tin Woodsman killing 40 wolves (844); the Scarecrow killing 40 crows (`and twisted it's neck until it died.' (855).
The characters eventually meet Oz. While inside the Emerald City it is imperative that they wear goggles, which are latched securely in place to prevent them from coming off (SPOILER: they give a green tint to everything...). Once here the characters are granted an audience by Oz, and their subsequent mission is: to kill the Wicked Witch of The West.
She does her best to destroy the characters, nearly succeeding with the Tin Woodsman and the Scarecrow, but in attempting to steal Dorothy's silver shoes (those which once belonged to the Wicked Witch of the East) Dorothy gets angry and douses her with a bucket of water. `I'm melting!'
Dorothy uses the Golden Cap to summon the Winged Monkeys, who relay their back-story (and one can empathize with them) while transporting the group back to the land of Oz, to once again visit the wizard and claim the rewards promised them: Kansas, brains, a heart and some courage. And that's where they discover the `humbug' behind the curtain.
We also discover, if it hadn't already been picked up, that each character (except Dorothy) is already in full possession of the thing they desire - the Scarecrow is actually quite the strategist, the Tin Woodsman is incredibly kind and wishes to harm nothing nor nobody, and the lion is quite brave.
After Oz unintentionally leaves without Dorothy see again feels abandoned, her only recourse is to visit the Good Witch of the South (Glenda). The troupe, after a few more story building adventures, make it to the South. Here Dorothy learns the power of her enchanted shoes and is thus able to return to Kansas, while each of the other member's travel to their respected dominions of rule.
Still fantastic. 113 years post-facto.
I recently found myself in the mood to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum, a childhood favourite I’ve read in Romanian and partially in English. As most of you already know, it is a fairy tale about a poor little girl name Dorothy, who lives in Kansas with her aunt and uncle. Her dull life changes when a cyclone makes their house rise up into the air and drops it into the magical Land of Oz.
There, Dorothy and her little dog Toto encounter the inhabitants of this place: the Munchkins, the Witches and other outlandish beings, but also the three friends who accompany them on the way to the Emerald City, where the Great Wizard of Oz lives. The strange creatures that Dorothy befriends are the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. I think that it is redundant to tell you more about this story, because it is a beloved children’s classic and that already says a lot about it.
Dorothy’s adventures in the Land of Oz made me feel like a child again and I’m glad I read it once more. Though I love the movie as well, I think that the book is more complex than it, because there are more adventures and characters in the book than in the 1939 film. Even though the dialogue is a bit repetitive sometimes and Dorothy’s three talking friends are less developed than the characters from the fantasy novels of our times, I enjoyed this classic fairy tale.
And though most people are familiar with the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland, L. Frank Baum's first novel about his magical fantasy land is a whimsical -- somehow darker -- version of the tale. It's a fairly simple tale about a little girl wandering through a magical land filled with strange creatures, but the endearingly familiar companions she picks up along the way and the oddball ideas that Baum peppers the story with keep it entertaining.
A little girl named Dorothy lives in the grey expanses of Kansas, on a grey farm with her grey aunt and uncle, and her little black dog Toto. When a cyclone strikes, her house is torn up and sent whirling away... and when it eventually lands, she's in the land of the Munchkins, and has accidentally crushed the cruel Witch of the East. Hoping to find a way back to her relatives, Dorothy takes the witch's silver shoes (yes, movie fans, they're silver) and heads to the City of Emeralds to find the Wizard of Oz.
She quickly gains some traveling companions -- a sentient scarecrow in a cornfield, a metal woodsman who suffered a series of involuntary amputations, and a fearsome lion with some anxiety issues -- who also want to ask the Great Oz to grant their assorted wishes. But before they can get what they want, they must deal with the many strange things in Oz: the terrible Kalidahs, poppies that cause narcolepsy, the strange green-tinted City, killer crows, and so on. And when they finally do encounter Oz, he gives them one terrible condition: to get their wishes granted, they must kill the wicked Witch of the West. Easier said than done.
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is in many ways a straightforward fantasy story for young children -- a young girl is swept off into a magical land, and must find the enchanted means of finding her way back home again. Simple enough, but Baum had a rather lively imagination that spices the land of Oz with various odd little creatures (Munchkins, the Kalidahs, lots of talking animals) as well as some bizarre, whimsical concepts of his own (the City of Emeralds only looks green because... well, Oz got everyone in it to wear green-tinted eyeglasses).
And those who have only seen the movie may be surprised by some of the things that happen here, as there were quite a few changes. For one thing, it's substantially darker -- there are more monsters (the fighting trees, a sort of G-rated "Evil Dead" plant threat), the Tin Woodsman's gruesome origin story is outlined in detail, and Dorothy and her friends are effectively hired as assassins. And Oz has creatures that never made it in, such as the bizarre Quadlings and the china people.
But Baum presents this with a writing style that is oddly whimsical and cheery, as if refusing to let even the worst events sully Dorothy's adventures for long. It's a pretty simple style, fairly common in the 19th century, but it has a certain charm to it ("Its legs were quite as long as the tiger had said, and it's body covered with coarse black hair"). And his imagination for Oz seems to be almost boundless, as Dorothy simply floats through, encountering one weird thing after another.
The characters are fairly endearing ones -- none are particularly developed, but Dorothy's chipper, no-nonsense attitude makes her a pretty likable little girl. And her companions are each pretty charming, each seeking a cure for some perceived deficiency (brains, heart, courage), but not quite bright enough to realize that they have these things already, as shown by their actions in the story. And there are a fair number of intriguing side-characters, such as the Witches (both good and bad, including Glinda and her army of beautiful young women).
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is basically a fanciful road trip, but Baum's nimble imagination and vivid ideas keep its simplicity from ever becoming dull or cloying. And surprisingly, Dorothy's adventures in Oz are not over yet.