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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Paperback – November 29, 2014
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For many of us, the adventures of Dorothy in Oz will forever be associated not with Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" but with W. W. Denslow's exceedingly odd line drawings for the original editions of Baum's Oz series. The Viennese artist Lisbeth Zwerger, however, goes a long way toward providing a new and refreshed set of images for the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the humbug wizard. These illustrations are often cockeyed, with occasional realistic details thrown in, like a crow with a corncob in its beak in the first portrait of the Scarecrow. The characters have a poignance and oddity that escaped the makers of the Oz movie. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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 alternate Paperback edition.
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The Scarecrow of Oz is another great Oz book. There are a couple new characters (Trot and Cap’n Bill) and lots of old favorites (Glinda, the Scarecrow, Button Bright, Dorothy, Ozma, and so on). There is not as much wordplay in this one, but there is some great action and excitement. I highly recommend this book to Oz fans!
Synopsis: Cap'n Bill and Trot (a relationship which probably would not find its way into modern kiddie lit) go for a recreational row and get caught in a whirlpool. The whirlpool transports them to a fairy land which they escape with the help of an orc (a magical flying creature, not the nasties in Tolkein) and some magical shrinking berries. They spend a little bit of time in the Land of Mo (another Oz series) before escaping once again with recurring character Button-Bright (from the Road to Oz), the help of some adventuresome birds and magical growing berries. They land in Jinxland, a semi-autonomous region within Oz, where they accidentally insert themselves into the nuptial politics of the local ruler, an elderly but wealthy courtesan, the daughter of a deposed king, and the son of another deposed king. The three characters are unable to do anything other than get into serious trouble with a local witch and are eventually bailed out by the combination of the Scarecrow's planning, a sudden re-appearance of the original orc with an army of his friends, and a bit of lucky timing. After restoring the king's daughter to her rightful throne and true love, they make their way back to the Emerald City where they meet everyone. The story abruptly ends at this point - the reader can assume Capn' Bill and Trot have found a home in Oz although the story's beginning did not make it seem as if Trot's family was either lost or worth leaving.
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.
WRITTEN BY: L. Frank Baum
PUBLISHED: May, 1900
There really isn't much more to say than has already been offered a thousand time over. This book is a timeless classic. I just read it to my son and can confirm that the story is touching for all ages. He's five, I'm thirty-seven, and we enjoyed it together. My parents love it, grandparents love it, etc. There are not a lot of fiction works that are appealing to so wide an audience. If you don't know the basic story, according to the movie at least, your childhood was a sham. The book includes additional passages and adventures which were left out of the MGM film; it's also darker and more violent than the movie... and lacks the songs.
Five out of Five stars