Monday, October 20, 2014

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Buy here*
Publication date: 1900 (original), 2005 (this edition)
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Classics
Pages: 213
My rating: 4 stars
Ages: 10+

In Baum's classic story, Dorothy travels by way of cyclone to the enchanting land of Oz. In order to get back home to Kansas, she must make her way to the Emerald City to see the wizard. On her journey she makes friends with a scarecrow, a tin woodman, and a cowardly lion, with which she shares adventures as they travel West, North, and back again.

I was surprised when I was at the bookstore and realized that I had never read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I was in the play in fifth grade, and the movie is probably one of my favorites. But I had never read the original book. So of course I had to buy it and read it.

The book is enchanting. Younger readers will like the story and the characters. Older readers will pick up on the symbolism, themes, etc. I was surprised that the movie had added so many characters, but really, it's pretty true to the main feel of the story. I was a little surprised at how violent it could be at times. The Tin Woodman at one point chops off the heads of 40 wolves. More than one thing is dashed on rocks. Of course, every thing and person that is killed is wicked.

The person who annotated this edition called Dorothy a flat literary character, which I suppose in a sense she is, though I think that the innocent, wide eyed main character is fairly typical in children's literature, and I find it a bit charming. She knows what she wants, and she helps others get what they want. There is so much conflict in the story surrounding the band of four's quest to get brains, heart, courage, and home that having a more complex character isn't really that important.

In all, a great story that will be enjoyed by all ages.

*I do not receive compensation from Barnes and Noble.

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