Everyone knows the story of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man, right? After all, Judy Garland and her wonderful ruby red slippers brought it all to life for us as we cuddled in front of the TV to watch with Mom and Dad during our childhood years.
Well, this is the book behind the movie. And I have to tell you, there were a few surprises that caught me off guard. For instance, in the book, L. Frank Baum wrote of silver slippers. (Ruby red slippers look better in Technicolor!) The munchkins also aren’t the only “short” people in Oz. And the most interesting deviation from the movie – the Tin Man is a butcher with that axe! There are many similarities, but the differences will certainly draw you in.
First published in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was created to entertain children. But I have to admit that I have a fond place for it in my heart as an adult. In the written story, each of the main characters has a quest, a trial and a reward for which they’re admired. Ultimately, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion meet a different (and more rewarding) end than what you might find in the movie. Altogether, it’s a tale of risk and reward for hard work and bravery.
Throughout, you will endlessly compare the book and movie. The same basic premises hold. But you’ll smile when you realize that the book actually noted that Kansas was indeed gray (black and white) while Oz was colorful. Dorothy still takes out a witch, but she gets into a little more trouble with her companions than the movie showed. Ultimately, her confrontation with the Wicked Witch is far more robust in the novel, and you get to learn some really interesting background on the flying monkeys. Oh, and before you ask, that brick road really was yellow.
Another pleasant surprise for me is that this classic is only the first in a series of 15 books! That’s right, this is just part one. I’m not talking about the modern day spin-offs like the book, Wicked. Mr. Baum actually wrote a series of books, all centered in Oz.
Overall, I think this is an excellent read whether you read it to your kids, or just read it for yourself. It’s relatively short and it adds a really cool aspect to your knowledge of the movie if you enjoyed it as I did. With this story in the public domain, you should be able to grab it for free online, or from a major e-book store for about a buck.
Bottom line – read the book and enjoy Oz like you never knew it before!
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (cgfewston.me)
- Follow the Yellow Brick Road… (reelreviews22.wordpress.com)