The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Sterling Unabridged Classics) Info

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They're off to read the Wizard--the original,
imaginative American tale written by Frank L. Baum just over a century
ago. All the beloved characters are here, along with the splendid
Emerald City and the heartwarming motto: "There's no place like
home."

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Sterling Unabridged Classics):

5

Jul 26, 2017

Ah such fun! I don't think I'll read the rest of the series but I did really enjoy this.
4

Jun 04, 2017

ENGLISH (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) / ITALIANO

Dorothy is a young girl who lives with her aunts in a small farm in Kansas. Due to a tornado, she is catapulted with her house in a freaky village...

Dorothy's journey, which I discovered at 38 thanks to my daughter and to the well-established habit of reading something to her before going to bed, begins in this way. The thing that impressed me most about this wonderful story is that the title "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is rather misleading. Yes,

ENGLISH (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) / ITALIANO

Dorothy is a young girl who lives with her aunts in a small farm in Kansas. Due to a tornado, she is catapulted with her house in a freaky village...

Dorothy's journey, which I discovered at 38 thanks to my daughter and to the well-established habit of reading something to her before going to bed, begins in this way. The thing that impressed me most about this wonderful story is that the title "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is rather misleading. Yes, because Oz is neither the protagonist of the novel nor the ultimate goal of Dorothy's journey. Oz appears more or less at half of the novel, and he remains in the story for no more than 50 pages. Surely, Dorothy and her cheerful company start the search for the wizard of Oz almost immediately. However, the story that involves directly or indirectly Oz ends in an unexpected way, almost prematurely, and in my opinion this is a strenght of the story. When Oz disappeared from the story, it was funny to see the confused face of my daughter saying:

«WHAT? HE'S GONE?? HOW IS IT POSSIBLE?!?»and I realized how successful was L. Frank Baum's attempt to mislead the readers.

Young people heartly fantasize. Me too.

Vote: 8




Dorothy è una fanciulla che vive con gli zii in una piccola fattoria nell'Kansas. A causa di una tromba d'aria, la sua abitazione viene catapultata con lei dentro in paese quanto meno bislacco...

Comincia così il viaggio di Dorothy, che ho scoperto a 38 anni suonati grazie a mia figlia e all'abitudine ormai consolidata di farsi leggere qualcosa prima di andare a letto (non la trasposizione cinematografica, quella la conoscevo già). La cosa che più mi ha colpito di questo splendido racconto è come il titolo "Il meraviglioso mago di Oz" sia fuorviante. Si, perchè Oz non è nè il protagonista nè l'obiettivo finale della ricerca della piccola Dorothy. Il personaggio di Oz appare più o meno a metà racconto, e ci rimane per non più di 50 pagine. Di sicuro la ricerca del mago di Oz comincia quasi fin da subito da parte della piccola Dorothy e della sua allegra compagnia. Tuttavia la vicenda che coinvolge direttamente o indirettamente Oz si conclude in maniera inaspettata, quasi prematuramente, e questo secondo me è un punto di forza del racconto. Con l'uscita di scena del mago di Oz, vedere la faccia spiazzata di mia figlia che dice:

«Ma come! Se n'è andato? COME E' POSSIBILE???»è stato divertente, appagante, e mi fa capire quanto sia riuscito il tentativo di L. Frank Baum di spiazzare i lettori.

Fantasticano assai i più piccoli. E anche io.

Voto: 8

...more
3

Jan 06, 2011

Once upon a time there lived a Golden Age gay icon, who whiled away her pre-waxing years sitting atop a split-rail fence in some dour, nondescript American Midwest landscape. Her dreams of a more outrageously fierce existence in the big city (wearing roller skates and one-foot-diameter afro wigs and dancing to Army of Lovers in between lines of blow) were hemmed in on all sides by rusted farm equipment, NAPA Auto Parts Stores, and a lone, dejected Applebee’s out on the turnpike. Kansas didn’t Once upon a time there lived a Golden Age gay icon, who whiled away her pre-waxing years sitting atop a split-rail fence in some dour, nondescript American Midwest landscape. Her dreams of a more outrageously fierce existence in the big city (wearing roller skates and one-foot-diameter afro wigs and dancing to Army of Lovers in between lines of blow) were hemmed in on all sides by rusted farm equipment, NAPA Auto Parts Stores, and a lone, dejected Applebee’s out on the turnpike. Kansas didn’t even have a meth lab yet. Or a Sally Beauty Supply. Her nascent fabulousness was imprisoned by voluminous swaths of gingham, satin ribbons, and fussy lace collars -- none of them, unfortunately, worn ironically, with a lollipop or a pacifier or Harajuku-style -- at the behest of Aunt Em, a woman whose character is explained by the shocking fact that the better part of her non-church wardrobe was purchased at Quality Farm & Fleet. (I know. Couldn’t you just die?)

This girl, as yet scarcely old enough to have a couple of cherries or a leaping dolphin tattooed near her cameltoe, was named Dorothy. One day, like so many dreamy-eyed girls, she donned her Skechers and her discount department store jeans and waited for a meteorological disaster to rescue her from her sad, glitterless rural life.

As luck would have it, one day, an especially violent cyclone (rated EF4 by the local weather service) carved a bloody path of destruction, misery, and death through central Kansas, carrying Dorothy’s trailer (with her and her dog Toto inside, watching Judge Judy) high into the troposphere. At first, Dorothy mistook the rhythmic vibrations for a circuit party and looked under the bed for her whistle, but soon enough she realized she was airborne. And it felt Fab. U. Lous. She thought she even spotted a cross-country Virgin America flight with Diana Ross sitting in first class refusing a skunky glass of Chardonnay and calling the stewardess an uppity white bitch. (She’ll have Dershowitz on the phone when she gets to LAX.) But maybe Dorothy was unconscious and imagining it all. At any rate, she was immune to the ghastly, soul-rending shrieks, rising from below, of a Kansas mother cradling her dead baby who was impaled by a windswept awl in the cyclone. She was busy listening to “Yahoo!” by Erasure on her iPod.

Eventually, after floating around earth’s gaseous atmosphere for a couple of hours, dreaming of Barney’s Co-op Sale, Dorothy landed in some unknown land, flat-ironed her hair, and repositioned her training thong. Outside her trailer a bunch of ghetto midgets were milling around with some old witchy broad. No, it wasn’t that überfem Glinda – like in the movie – it was some tired-ass old mannish thing, looking like Linda Hunt in The Year of Living Dangerously. Basically, this bitch is no help at all. She’s supposedly a witch, and you’d think she’d know the way to the Meatpacking District, but all she does is give her some cheap-ass silver shoes (Steve Madden – yuck) and kiss Dorothy on the forehead leaving this “magical” lipmark. Dorothy suspects it’s herpes simplex one and hightails it outta there before the witch gives her boxed wine and has her pose for “art” photographs. (Yes, I remember the very special episode of Diff’rent Strokes with Gordon Jump very well, thank you very much.)

Okay, you know the rest of the story (for the most part). Dorothy seeks out the Wizard of Oz by mapquesting Emerald City (or, alternately, the City of Emeralds) and on the way she meets a Scarecrow, a Tin Woodman, and a Lion, who are all needy and want to bask in the glow of her super-hot blinding aura and fierce fantabulousness (and bum a few amphetamines). The Wizard, who likes to mix up his corporeal manifestations, appears to them in his Emerald City throne room (Picture Antwan “Big Boi” Patton’s house on Cribs but with fewer stripper poles and lots more green marble ) in the forms of a giant Little Richard-sized head, a Sears catalog swimsuit model, a vaguely menacing monster, and a talking ball of fire. Obviously, the Wizard has been to see Cirque de Soleil and knows the power of a little Québécois razzle-dazzle. Whilst filing his nails and reading the latest issue of Interview with Drew Barrymore on the cover, the Wizard tells his motley supplicants that, yeah, yeah, sure, he will grant their stupid, retarded wishes if they murder the Wicked Witch of the West, a Tribeca scenester who is always bogarting Page Six with her leather-daddy winged monkey warehouse parties. Dorothy & Crew reluctantly agree – an act of volition which effectively makes Dorothy the youngest hit girl in the history of YA literature, and the only one to ever wear lace-trimmed socklets. Eventually, during a wet t-shirt contest, the witch melts and Dorothy, still flush with her first taste of killing… sweet killing, returns with her entourage to the Wizard to claim her payoff. But then, gosh golly, gee whiz… in a startling atheistic allegory, the all-powerful Wizard is revealed to be an impotent little Wallace Shawn-type standing behind a screen fiddling with some sound board knobs. Nietzsche couldn’t’ve said it any better. The Wizard, who realizes he’s dealing with a bunch of saps here, pretends to grant everyone’s wishes (except Dorothy’s – cuz he’s totally jealous of her fabulousness) and they actually fall for it. Dorothy, burnt-out on the Emerald City scene and suffering from dehydration and exhaustion, longs to return to Kansas to start her autobiographical blog. A bunch of stupid stuff happens, some of which involve a hot air balloon and bitch-slapping trees, and the quartet make their way to Glinda, the Witch of the South, to see if she can grant Dorothy’s wish and thereby prove that she’s at least somewhat less worthless than everybody else in Oz

On the way to the Glinda’s ‘hood, the posse comes across a village where all the people are made of china and break easily (Gee, I wonder why they left that great episode out of the film), and after the Lion accidentally destroys one of their china churches with his tail (I’m not kidding), giving impetus to hate crime legislation the world over, the Tin Woodman decapitates some wolves with his ax. Dorothy skips and frolics through the gory pools of matted fur, blood, and steaming viscera and asks Glinda, who appears to be on Quaaludes, for a trip home. Glinda, as useless as every other allegedly magical person in Oz, tells her that the cheap-ass Steve Madden shoes she’s been wearing could’ve gotten her back to Kansas all along. (And, by the way, when she returns to the Sticks, she should really take off those Chinese panda-skin leatherette things. They’ll give her fatal foot rash.)

So Dorothy uses the magic of those shoes made in China under the brand name of a man imprisoned for magical tax evasion to return to Kansas, where her Aunt and Uncle have long since forgotten about her and adopted a more attractive, Latvian girl who’s not too prissy to hand-inseminate the cows. Dorothy overdoses one night in a dilapidated feed barn on a potent mixture of Robitussin and Gas-X, and Judy Davis plays her in a television movie that no one remembers long enough to have forgotten.
...more
4

May 24, 2015

Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto are swept away by a tornado from Kansas all the way to the Land of Oz. With a little help from the Witch of the North, Dorothy and Toto set off down a road paved with yellow bricks in search of the City of Emeralds and the Wizard of Oz, a man said to have the power to help Dorothy find her way back to Kansas.

The cyclone had set the house down, very gently - for a cyclone Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto are swept away by a tornado from Kansas all the way to the Land of Oz. With a little help from the Witch of the North, Dorothy and Toto set off down a road paved with yellow bricks in search of the City of Emeralds and the Wizard of Oz, a man said to have the power to help Dorothy find her way back to Kansas.

The cyclone had set the house down, very gently - for a cyclone - in the midst of a country of marvelous beauty. There were lovely patches of green sward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits. Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes.

Along the way, Dorothy makes some unusual new friends, each of which desire something from the Wizard of Oz.

"Do you think Oz could give me courage?" asked the cowardly Lion.
"Just as easily as he could give me brains," said the Scarecrow.
"Or give me a heart," said the Tin Woodman.
"Or send me back to Kansas," said Dorothy.
"Then, if you don't mind, I'll go with you," said the Lion, "for my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage."

In the late eighteen-hundreds, children's stories often featured familiar mythical creatures and were written with the express intent to deliver a moral lesson. L. Frank Baum took a different approach when he began writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He intended to write a children's book with new fantasy creatures in a realm yet unexplored, and his efforts were a marvelous success. Dorothy's journey through the colorful and peculiar Land of Oz reveals an array of creatures like winged monkeys, talking china dolls, and bearlike Kalidahs.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is not the technicolor film known by millions, but rather, a surprisingly grim tale that is absent of ruby slippers and cities with emerald-green structures.

As it came nearer the Tin Woodman saw that running before the beast was a little gray field-mouse, and although he had no heart he knew it was wrong for the wildcat to try to kill such a pretty, harmless creature.
So the Woodman raised his axe, and as the wildcat ran by he gave it a quick blow that cut the beast's head clean off from its body, and it rolled over at his feet in two pieces.

With quirky illustrations, an amusing sense of logic, and delightful characters, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a gratifying start to a well-loved series. ...more
5

Sep 29, 2011


The Wizard of Oz as An Economic Parable: A Short Introduction

This might be common knowledge or it might not be. Some economics textbooks claim this is a wonderfully esoteric nugget: The story of Oz was an economic parable. Take that, all you who said economics can't be fun.

Redistributions of wealth caused by unexpected changes in the price level are often a source of political turmoil. From 1880 to 1896 the price level in the United States fell 23 percent. This deflation was good for Haves
The Wizard of Oz as An Economic Parable: A Short Introduction

This might be common knowledge or it might not be. Some economics textbooks claim this is a wonderfully esoteric nugget: The story of Oz was an economic parable. Take that, all you who said economics can't be fun.

Redistributions of wealth caused by unexpected changes in the price level are often a source of political turmoil. From 1880 to 1896 the price level in the United States fell 23 percent. This deflation was good for Haves (creditors - primarily the bankers of the Northeast), but it was bad for Have-Nots (debtors - primarily the farmers of the South and West). The deflation was blamed almost exclusively on the now notorious Gold Standard and a proposed move towards Silver was instead the craved for alternative.

The Silver issue dominated the presidential election of 1896. William McKinley, the Republican nominee, campaigned on a platform of preserving the gold standard.

William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic nominee, ranged boldly against Gold and for Silver. In a famous speech, Bryan proclaimed, “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.’’

Not surprisingly, McKinley was the candidate of the conservative eastern establishment, whereas Bryan was the candidate of the southern and western populists.

Then came The Wizard of Oz.

The midwestern journalist, L. Frank Baum tells the story of Dorothy, a girl lost in a strange land far from her home in Kansas. Dorothy (representing traditional American values) makes three friends: a scarecrow (the farmer), a tin woodman (the industrial worker), and a lion whose roar exceeds his might (William Jennings Bryan). Together, the four of them make their way along a perilous yellow brick road (the gold standard), hoping to find the Wizard who will help Dorothy return home.

Eventually they arrive in Oz (Washington), where everyone sees the world through green glasses (money). The Wizard (William McKinley) tries to be all things to all people but turns out to be a fraud.

Dorothy’s problem is solved only when she learns about the magical power of her (otherwise ordinary) silver slippers. (Unfortunately the movie forgot the parable and omitted the silver slippers - thus depriving the majority of the audience of the real delight in the victory!)

The Republicans (The Wizard) won the election of 1896, and the United States stayed on a gold standard, but the Free Silver advocates got the inflation that they wanted after gold was discovered in Alaska, Australia, and South Africa. Even later, Gold was abandoned altogether and the fraudster wizards was never heard from again. Dorothy and Baum had the last laugh over the unwanted magical oppression of the Yellow Brick Road and the green-tinted world. Well, at least from the road. ...more
2

Dec 13, 2018

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a brief and magical adventure tale filled straightforward prose, predictable plot, and uninteresting protagonists with a penchant for morbidity, self-mutilation, and decapitation while whimsically traipsing along in a bizarre land chock-full of eldritch creatures.

Whirled by a cyclone, Dorothy, an innocent, harmless little girl, and Toto, her adorable dog, are whisked away in a peculiar land. From there, they tag along with eccentric beings and eventually meet the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a brief and magical adventure tale filled straightforward prose, predictable plot, and uninteresting protagonists with a penchant for morbidity, self-mutilation, and decapitation while whimsically traipsing along in a bizarre land chock-full of eldritch creatures.

Whirled by a cyclone, Dorothy, an innocent, harmless little girl, and Toto, her adorable dog, are whisked away in a peculiar land. From there, they tag along with eccentric beings and eventually meet the stuffed Scarecrow (who wished he had a brain except that his head is full of straws), the squeaky and rusty Tin Woodman (who lost his heart literally), and the Cowardly Lion (who's always terror-stricken). Hoping that each of their wishes would be granted, they travel to the Emerald City where the wonderful wizard, Oz the Great and Terrible, is enthroned. The great wizard will only grant their heart's desires on the condition that they seek out and destroy the Wicked Witch of the West. And so their quest begins...

My inner kiddo didn't quite approve of this one. The magical elements were good, but not enthralling at all. Was this written specifically for children? I find this story highly disturbing and better suited for mature audiences (please refer to my first paragraph). A word of caution to parents/guardians: kindly read this first before giving it to your children as it might be a bit overwhelming and horrifying for sensitive, young readers. Honestly, I prefer Dahl's and Carroll's stories because illogical as it might seem, the whimsical and hilarious elements fuse well together to create an entertaining, comical narrative whilst masking the macabre portion of the book, i.e. children will interpret it as tommyrot and will laugh at it, while adults will see it as ghoulish if they analyse the text further. The first few pages were wonderful to read, especially when Dorothy's house, unfortunately, landed on a despicable victim. The Queen of the Field Mice was a delightful character. Others belong in town dullsville. There's educational value here, but the moral lesson that Baum wanted to impart the children can be found in other interesting novels out there. There's no doubt that it was successful in its own time, but I find this a dated fantasy tale in the present. I have to congratulate Michael Sieben for his remarkable illustrations as well as Anne Hathaway's stupendous narration though. However, the aforementioned works didn't save this novel from my dismal rating of 2.5 stars rounded down.

Audiobook rating (narrated by Anne Hathaway):
Narrative voice & style - ★★★★★
Vocal characterisation - ★★★★★
Inflexion & intonation - ★★★★★
Voice quality - ★★★★★
Final verdict - ★★★★★ ...more
5

Feb 22, 2015

Book 20/100 for 2015

I really, really liked this book! I honestly had pretty low expectations going into this book and thought it wouldn't compare at all to the greatness of the 1939 movie (which is one of my favorite movies), but I was wrong. It was one of the best children's classics that I've ever read and I even loved how it wasn't that similar to the movie, so it kept me interested. I also had a beautiful hardcover Puffin Classics edition, so that make the experience even better! All in all, Book 20/100 for 2015

I really, really liked this book! I honestly had pretty low expectations going into this book and thought it wouldn't compare at all to the greatness of the 1939 movie (which is one of my favorite movies), but I was wrong. It was one of the best children's classics that I've ever read and I even loved how it wasn't that similar to the movie, so it kept me interested. I also had a beautiful hardcover Puffin Classics edition, so that make the experience even better! All in all, I'm so glad that I had to read it for my class! ...more
4

Nov 05, 2017

To Oz? To Oz! The film version of The Wizard of Oz is such an important part of American history that I most likely had it memorized by the time I was eight years old. Between the music, images changing from black and white to color, and the defeat of a wicked witch, the movie was simply magical. Being a tomboy, however, my reading interests as a child were never inclined toward classic books such as Little Women and, of course, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Having my interest piqued by the yearly To Oz? To Oz! The film version of The Wizard of Oz is such an important part of American history that I most likely had it memorized by the time I was eight years old. Between the music, images changing from black and white to color, and the defeat of a wicked witch, the movie was simply magical. Being a tomboy, however, my reading interests as a child were never inclined toward classic books such as Little Women and, of course, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Having my interest piqued by the yearly viewing of this movie at Thanksgiving, I decided to finally read this children's classic book for myself.

Lyman Frank Baum had been struggling in business and needed to be able to support his family of five children. Life in the circus had failed, so he turned to writing. Morally supported by his wife Maud, Baum turned to writing enduring children's classics like the ones he grew up reading. Setting out to write a classic piece of children's literature, Baum started the saga of Dorothy of Kansas that later became the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. When Baum died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1920, he had penned one Oz story a year since 1900. His family had moved to the sleepy village of Hollywood, and the Baum family lived off of royalties generated from the Oz books and subsequent attempts at stage versions. The first story entitled the Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the most successful and lead to Baum leading the writing life that he strived to attain as a child.

Although Baum did not live to see the movie version of his book, he would be pleased to know that children and adults are still reading his stories over one hundred years later. The story of Dorothy that has been preserved on film is actually only the first half of the book. In this half Dorothy and Toto ride in their house is carried in a cyclone from Kansas to Oz. Upon landing, they are heralded by the munchkins who laud them for killing the Wicked Witch of the East. Yet, Dorothy only wants to return home to her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. There is no music here, only advice to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and seek advice from the great and terrible wizard of Oz. Along the way, Dorothy meets friends the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion. The four all desire that Oz help them attain what they want most and assist Dorothy on her journey. Until they reach the magical city, there is no witch or conflict to speak of, only creatures of assorted shapes and sizes who are happy to help Dorothy find her way home.

The wicked witch of the West does make a brief appearance when Oz tasks Dorothy with killing her. The melting scene is short and without much drama. Perhaps a child would be scared by the witch and her winged monkeys as I know I was as a child. As an adult who is reading the book for posterity, the witch's appearance was anti climatic because I know how the story inevitably ends. For a girl, however; Dorothy exhibits much bravery on her journey in facing the powerful witch alone and all these years later is still a magical heroine for young girls. Perhaps one reason why this story has endured is because of the lack of conflict which translates well to a feel good musical on the big screen. As a result, Baum's story has become a classic for the ages.

I read a version illustrated by Australian artist Robert Ingpen. His lovely drawings facilitated my reading about Dorothy and friends as they journey toward Oz. Being as familiar with the story as I am, I almost enjoyed the illustrations more than the story because I desired to see the munchkins, the yellow brick road, and the Emerald City. With the story being geared toward children and almost dragging at times, I appreciated the color illustrations which reminded me where I was on Dorothy's journey and kept me focused on the story. Even as I knew the denouement, I loved how the illustrations brought the story to its epic conclusion, especially in the parts not included on film which I had to imagine for myself. These pictures only helped to make Oz an epic reading experience.

Critics note that the Oz saga of books mirrors populism and William Jennings Bryan and has been banned in many places. I did not have my history thinking cap on while reading so I was unable to link Baum's life in Kansas to Bryan and populism in the 1896 and 1900 presidential elections. What I did discover was the written form of a magical movie that I have seen many times over. It was an enchanting reading experience that is probably loved by children more so than adults, yet one that has lasted as a slice of American history for more than one hundred years.

4 stars ...more
5

Aug 21, 2015

Some books are so well-known practically every person who has even a very brief knowledge of general literature knows that these books are about. In the light of this I really have no clue why I would bother to outline the plot of this one, but just in case somebody managed to miss it here goes. A little girl is transported into a magical land where she meets all kinds of magical creatures. She goes to visit the greatest wizard of the land hoping he would help her to get home.

I want to get Some books are so well-known practically every person who has even a very brief knowledge of general literature knows that these books are about. In the light of this I really have no clue why I would bother to outline the plot of this one, but just in case somebody managed to miss it here goes. A little girl is transported into a magical land where she meets all kinds of magical creatures. She goes to visit the greatest wizard of the land hoping he would help her to get home.

I want to get something off my chest right away, something what goes against the popular opinion: I think the book is better than the classic movie. Judy Garland was great, sure. Some of the songs were equally great, sure. I insist the book is still better (I wonder how many of my friends would de-friend me for saying so. If you do, I understand: no hard feelings).

I read the novel quite a few times starting all the way back when I was a child. I still enjoyed it during my latest reread and I found some things I missed during my childhood, like the following passage:

So she told him all about Kansas, and how gray everything was there, and how the cyclone had carried her to this queer land of Oz. The Scarecrow listened carefully, and said,

"I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas."

"That is because you have no brains," answered the girl. "No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home."

The Scarecrow sighed.

"Of course I cannot understand it," he said. "If your heads were stuffed with straw, like mine, you would probably all live in the beautiful places, and then Kansas would have no people at all. It is fortunate for Kansas that you have brains."

It is fortunate for Kansas indeed - no offence to all the wonderful people who live there.

From the book's introduction I understand that Baum decided to write a children book purely for entertainment and not as a morality tale which was the case with the majority of children literature at the time. He created a timeless classic whose influence can be seen in a lot places - sometimes very much unexpected like here:


My personal rating would be 4 stars, but I cannot help raising it by one for its classic status and huge influence, so 5 stars it is. ...more
1

Nov 10, 2016

This is one of the most bizarre books I've ever read.

The fantasy elements are all rather ordinary. There’s a secret world beyond that of our own; this is a standard trope of the genre. C.S Lewis would soon follow suit and inspire later generations. But the point is the Land of Oz is just weird.

Seems like a bland criticism, though the entire point of the plot is to have good triumph over evil. But what is evil? Beyond the actual name of the antagonist, the Wicked Witch of the West, we don’t This is one of the most bizarre books I've ever read.

The fantasy elements are all rather ordinary. There’s a secret world beyond that of our own; this is a standard trope of the genre. C.S Lewis would soon follow suit and inspire later generations. But the point is the Land of Oz is just weird.

Seems like a bland criticism, though the entire point of the plot is to have good triumph over evil. But what is evil? Beyond the actual name of the antagonist, the Wicked Witch of the West, we don’t actually know much about her. Is she really that bad? It seems unusual to create such an evilly induced character and then have her preform no evil; it sort of makes the whole moral of the story seem questionable.

Simply put, an apt summary of the story would be: “a little girl meets three freaks and goes on a killing spree in a fucked up world.” Indeed, the heroes of the tale aren’t exactly what I’d define as good.

Are they evil heroes?



Dorothy is completely unheroic. She kills another “evil witch” on her entry into the land; her first act is to accidently commit murder. All her success is down to unbelievable blind luck; it gets to the point that she performs a completely random action, like throwing water at someone, and she somehow saves the day. It’d just odd. The Tin Woodsman is an even stranger figure. We have an entire chapter devoted to the saving of a colony of mice; yet, at one point he cuts a leopard’s head off despite travelling in the company of a lion. Does this sound like children’s fiction? For me this was slightly hypocritical. It’s like the author is saying we should be nice to some animals only. It made little sense. And then there’s the whole separate issue of how the woodman managed to survive so many decapitations…..

I can understand why this book was so popular to its earlier audiences; it’s a very early attempt at fantasy, so there wasn’t a great deal quite like this around at the time. I think for a child who just sees the basic plot of this, they would easily become lost. But when you read it as an adult you just can’t help but think “this isn’t right.” I could go on. I could go on to explain how the structure is a slight mess. Each chapter is almost like its own enclosed story that’s could be read section by section, each night before bed. But as an actual novel, the progression of chapters really is quite poor. I picked out two points where the novel really should have ended; yet, it kept going on when the climax had finished and all momentum has been lost.

For me this book is an example of an overly hyped cultural phenomenon. Many people claim to love this book, but many haven’t actually read it. Everyone my age I have ever met has watched the film at some point in their life; the basic narrative is embodied into their cultural psyche, which happens with many literary classics of this type. The point is the book here is a very different thing. I implore everyone who bases their knowledge, and perhaps love, of this on the movie to actually sit down and read the horrendous work in question; then you may see what it actually is: a vile little story that is accidently evil.

This one was quite a shocker!
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Nov 02, 2018

My 8-year-old decided she wanted to read this one and we just finished buddy reading two different copies. The copy she’s reading is a new Scholastic version which is just a simple paperback with an adorable cover. I went ahead and picked up this 100th anniversary edition for our home library because it’s illustrated, large print, and hardcover which I love.



I’m sure most of you already know the story. The beginning opens with a cyclone that carries Dorothy’s house–along with her and her little My 8-year-old decided she wanted to read this one and we just finished buddy reading two different copies. The copy she’s reading is a new Scholastic version which is just a simple paperback with an adorable cover. I went ahead and picked up this 100th anniversary edition for our home library because it’s illustrated, large print, and hardcover which I love.



I’m sure most of you already know the story. The beginning opens with a cyclone that carries Dorothy’s house–along with her and her little dog Toto–all the way to a foreign land. Her house falls on a wicked witch killing her and Dorothy becomes a hero. On her journey to find the wizard she meets a scarecrow, a tin woodman, and a cowardly lion.

Dorothy’s love for her new found friends is heartwarming and there isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for them. Together they embark on an adventure to find the Emerald City. Each of the four travelers has a request for the wizard. The scarecrow wants brains, the tin woodman a heart, and the lion needs courage. Dorothy’s only request is to be sent back home to Aunt Em in Kansas. It’s quite fascinating what can be accomplished if you only believe.

“No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”

I can’t remember the last time I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but it was probably sometime around 5th grade or so. We had a tattered up copy in our school library. I’m not even sure if I finished it because this time around, I was amazed with the differences in the book compared to the Hollywood movie. Some events were left out in the film, while others were added in which made it even more exciting, including the entire beginning of the movie. Details were also different. Not only that, parts of the book were fairly dark for young readers.

"He seized his axe, which he had made very sharp, and as the leader of the wolves came on the Tin Woodman swung his arm and chopped the wolf’s head from its body, so that it immediately died. As soon as he could raise his axe another wolf came up, and he also fell under the sharp edge of the Tim Woodman’s weapon. There were forty wolves, and forty times a wolf was killed; so that at last they all lay dead in a heap before the Woodman.

We enjoyed reading about the magical world L. Frank Baum has created in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Just picture it with fighting trees, flying monkeys, munchkins and witches. There was no telling what would happen next! We connected with all the characters too.

I was one of those children who waited for the movie to come on local television channels every single year. I was entranced when Dorothy got sucked up into the tornado along with her house and Toto. One of the most exciting parts for me was when the movie transitioned from black and white to color. I was obsessed with the movie. The book may not be as extravagant as the movie and there are many differences, but the book is still magical with great characters. There are many good lessons for children to learn as well.

This was a very creative children’s fantasy in my opinion. The illustrations throughout were a treat and make the story even more interesting. It’s a book perfect for all ages. I’m not sure if we’ll reread it anytime soon, but my eight-year-old and ten-year-old kids enjoyed it as much as I did. I’ve read the second book and plan to finish the entire series eventually.

4****

You can see this review with illustrations @ https://readrantrockandroll.com/2018/... ...more
4

Aug 06, 2014

Dorothy, (from Kansas, wherever that is) lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, on the flat American prairie, the harsh Sun beating down from the gray sky, making everything turn gray ... the gray grass, house, clothes and especially the people, animals, are probably gray too, might seem the least likely place that she visits, that is real. No trees, brooks, beautiful birds singing or anything colorful around the poor farm. But our adventures begin when a tornado lifts unlucky Dorothy , her dog Dorothy, (from Kansas, wherever that is) lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, on the flat American prairie, the harsh Sun beating down from the gray sky, making everything turn gray ... the gray grass, house, clothes and especially the people, animals, are probably gray too, might seem the least likely place that she visits, that is real. No trees, brooks, beautiful birds singing or anything colorful around the poor farm. But our adventures begin when a tornado lifts unlucky Dorothy , her dog Toto, and only friend, while inside their small one room house, up into the swirling, whistling, ominous black sky, scared Aunt Em in the cellar ( a dark hole in the ground under the floor), hiding and Uncle Henry outside taking care of the frightened farm animals. The little girl is all alone with her dog, as the strong winds of the storm takes her higher and higher, always going above and further from Dorothy's loved ones, which is the blood relative, is strangely never stated . After countless hours pass, she falls asleep on her bed. Awakening by a loud noise the house crashing down on the ground the next day , terrifying Dorothy ... opening slowly the door, she is stunned, all is beautiful... brilliant colors, green grass, a lovely stream, gorgeous flowers, trees with delicious fruit hanging on their branches, birds sweetly singing, everywhere her eyes can see, blue skies. But weird , quite small people are timidly coming towards Dorothy, (they think she is a horrible , powerful witch) the juvenile feels uneasy, looking fully grown , like the Munchkins, yet still a little girl's size ...they welcome her to this wonderland. And thanking the girl for their freedom , by killing the wicked Witch of the East, whose body lies underneath the house. The pretty Witch of the North, and is good also, unheard of, (news spreads quickly in the Land of Oz) gives Dorothy the magical silver shoes of the dead sorceress. The farm girl wants to get back home to Kansas, asks directions, nobody knows it, but all tell Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road, to the Emerald City where the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz, presumably lives and rules. Trouble is, people never see the terrible wizard, but he is the only one who can help Dorothy get back . On the long journey, the young girl and Toto, meets the brainless failure, the Scarecrow, stuck on a pole, the Tin Woodman, rusting outside in a forest ( tin doesn't rust), the Cowardly Lion, attacking the group on the road and afterwards crying, all join Dorothy on her impossible quest, for a brain, a heart and courage ( the joke of this story is, that every traveler already has them, even Dorothy's wish, can be easily achieved). Wide ditches have to be jumped, wild animals fought, rivers crossed, ugly flying monkeys, bees, poisonous blue, red, yellow, white and purple, flowers, thick, gloomy forests, strange people some unfriendly, and not made of flesh ( the evil, dreadful, Witch of the West, in her impenetrable, dismal castle, but that is later), must be overcome, to reach the fabulous Emerald City. They have a secret weapon, Toto is not afraid of anything ... he can look behind the curtain. ...more
5

Aug 13, 2011

This is a book I read as a child, even before I saw the musical, and enjoyed a lot. However, my memory of it was overshadowed by the film. So it was a good experience to read it again as an adult.

The book is worth reading, not least because it differs in some major ways from the film adaptation. The biggest difference is that the whole dream sequence scenario, in which people from Kansas are transmogrified into figures of fantasy, is entirely absent. Dorothy wears Silver Shoes, not Ruby This is a book I read as a child, even before I saw the musical, and enjoyed a lot. However, my memory of it was overshadowed by the film. So it was a good experience to read it again as an adult.

The book is worth reading, not least because it differs in some major ways from the film adaptation. The biggest difference is that the whole dream sequence scenario, in which people from Kansas are transmogrified into figures of fantasy, is entirely absent. Dorothy wears Silver Shoes, not Ruby Slippers. And so on and so forth.

Baum says in the preface that he has tried to offer a modernized fairy tale: "[...] for the time has come for a series of newer "wonder tales" in which the stereotyped genie, dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and blood-curdling incidents devised by their authors to point a fearsome moral to each tale. Modern education includes morality; therefore the modern child seeks only entertainment in its wonder tales and gladly dispenses with all disagreeable incident."
[Baum, L. Frank (Lyman Frank) (2012-05-16). The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (p. 4). Kindle Edition.]

While it's true that the story does not "point a moral," (at least not obviously), it fails at sanitizing away the "horrible and blood-curdling incidents." For example, the Winged Monkeys maul Dorothy's companions badly at one point. The Woodman tells a horrific back-story not included in the film, in which he undergoes unheard-of torture at the hands of the Wicked Witch of the East. The Lion faces some gruesome opponents, one of which is rather Tolkienesque in its monstrosity.

But there are charming episodes, comic touches and witty turns of phrase which give this children's classic an old-fashioned appeal, in spite of what Baum says about being modern. ...more
5

Jun 25, 2014

"There is no place like Oz!"

Most people are at some point facing the situation that something throws them off track. The reason might not be that a tornado catches your house and dumps it later in a strange land - on a wicked witch - but something quite similar in intensity might well happen to any of you. You will find yourselves lost, helpless, sad and without orientation in a strange place. What can you do? The first rule for Oz travellers is to stick together even if your worries and needs "There is no place like Oz!"

Most people are at some point facing the situation that something throws them off track. The reason might not be that a tornado catches your house and dumps it later in a strange land - on a wicked witch - but something quite similar in intensity might well happen to any of you. You will find yourselves lost, helpless, sad and without orientation in a strange place. What can you do? The first rule for Oz travellers is to stick together even if your worries and needs are different.



If you are in search of a heart, some brains, more courage, or for a dusty grey home in Kansas, just follow the yellow brick road, and it will surely lead you somewhere!

On the road, you will find yourself reflecting on the quality of your wishes, realising that for some, a dull place is desirable because it is called "Home" (Dorothy)- For others, home is where the closest friend is (Toto). Some talk a lot without having any brains (Scarecrow), and some wish for a heart, even if it means it will break as a result (Tin Woodman). Those who are scared will wish for courage (Cowardly Lion), not noticing that they are the bravest of all, doing what they dare not do.

"You have plenty of courage, I am sure," answered Oz. "All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty."

The Emerald City does not hold the answers to the travellers' questions, but it offers solutions anyway, for Oz is not a bad man, even though he is a very bad wizard.

If you want to teach children the power of empathy, cooperation, courage and learning by doing, this is the best book ever. And if you just want to have a good time with them, giggling over the hilarious adventures of Dorothy, Toto, the Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, it is a pure literary delight. I loved it even more as a grown-up than as a child - and the message still makes sense to me.

Underneath the shining surface of things, what matters is how you deal with the situation you find yourself in. Be courageous, think for yourself, and have a heart, and be true to your friends, and the world will be your home! ...more
4

Dec 21, 2008

I thought it interesting that in the foreword Baum says he didn't want this to be violent like the fairytales of the past... and yet, a little girl transports to a strange land, kills the first person she meets, and teams up with three strangers to kill again. They also kill various creatures on their path of destruction.
Perhaps we could savor all the violence but have a much more abridged version with the following:


3

Sep 02, 2010

A wonderful tale for its time, this book has transcended its own intentions and exploded into an iconic creation that continues to instill its fans with cherished, lifelong memories.



Although I usually prefer the original books over their movie adaptions, I have to hand it to the film this time. The Wizard of Oz took the best from the source material and embellished what was missing, adding what they needed to in order to create a truly magical experience that has endured to this day.



The book A wonderful tale for its time, this book has transcended its own intentions and exploded into an iconic creation that continues to instill its fans with cherished, lifelong memories.



Although I usually prefer the original books over their movie adaptions, I have to hand it to the film this time. The Wizard of Oz took the best from the source material and embellished what was missing, adding what they needed to in order to create a truly magical experience that has endured to this day.



The book and the movie are not the same. Yes, you'll find some icon elements from the movie in the book, but whereas the movie is about as tightly scripted as it gets, the book meanders and includes some completely unnecessary encounters.

Unnecessary and violent too! Killer bees, crows pecking out eyes and the tin woodman slaying dozens of wolves! Oh my! I read somewhere that Baum had intended this book to be an alternative to children's tales of the past, which often included some rather violent material. Either I've been misled or Baum's aim was off. The tin woodman's wasn't, I'll tell ya that much!

If the writing were a bit better these asides - that don't further the plot, but only enhance the adventure (not a terrible thing in and of itself) - could've been overlooked. Granted he was writing for kids, but Baum was also trying something new here and his tentative steps show it. The writing improves in future volumes, I'm happy to say!

Apparently more Oz stories had not been planned, but after a few years of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz being published, the letters being received from young female fans had become so numerous that Baum was compelled to turn this one-off book into a long series. We're lucky he did!
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4

Jan 21, 2017

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written at the turn of the 20th century, is probably one of the most iconic American fairy tales, just as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one of the most famous children’s novels in English literature. Almost everyone -at least in the English-speaking world- knows about the adventures of Dorothy, the young farm girl from Kansas, in the magical land of Oz, and her sidekicks, the Scarecrow without a brain, the Tin Woodman without a heart and the Cowardly Lion who The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written at the turn of the 20th century, is probably one of the most iconic American fairy tales, just as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one of the most famous children’s novels in English literature. Almost everyone -at least in the English-speaking world- knows about the adventures of Dorothy, the young farm girl from Kansas, in the magical land of Oz, and her sidekicks, the Scarecrow without a brain, the Tin Woodman without a heart and the Cowardly Lion who lacks courage. These characters embark on three consecutive quests: the first (and most famous one) along the yellow brick road, to reach the Emerald City and find the Wizard of Oz; the second one, to the Winkie Country and the Wicked Witch of the West; and finally the third one, to the Quadling Country and Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

This novel became a bestseller and was adapted into a Broadway musical, soon to become, in turn, a major Hollywood hit, with the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland (who was around 16 when she portrayed young Dorothy). The influence of this book on 20th-century literature and film can hardly be overstated. I suspect Tolkien had read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz before he started to work on The Hobbit. And, just to give a couple of obvious examples, John Boorman’s Zardoz or David Lynch’s Wild at Heart pay ample tribute to Baum’s novel. (L. Frank Baum is one of these authors whose name have been completely overshadowed by the popularity of their book.) The recent very popular musical, Wicked, is also worth mentioning.

One interesting aspect of this story is the fact that the Wizard turns out to be a humbug. As he says: “I'm a very good man. I'm just a very bad Wizard.” This sheds some suspicion on the very power of magic, which is rather unusual and subversive in a children’s fairy tale, and makes apparent the characters' own inner potentialities and strengths, precisely where they believed they had a flaw or lack (brains, heart, courage, incapacity to go home). In a way, the wizard is indeed a very good psychotherapist or politician, and the book is an edifying lesson on the inner and invisible power of each. Just as the Emerald City isn't green, but only the green-tinted glasses people are made to wear make it so, it's all a matter of perception.

The edition I own is beautifully illustrated by Olimpia Zagnoli, who has managed to give tempo to the reading experience with flat-coloured geometric drawings. ...more
3

Jul 06, 2019

“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,"
spoke the Beast, in a voice that was one great roar.
Who are you, and why do you seek me?”



This book was one of my favourite childhood reads. I still own the book I used to read when I was a child, so I decided to read it again as an adult. My original plan was to read the whole series, and I may go through with it in the future. Anyway, I was so surprised when I opened the book and I realized that I still remembered the first chapter almost by heart! I must “I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,"
spoke the Beast, in a voice that was one great roar.
Who are you, and why do you seek me?”



This book was one of my favourite childhood reads. I still own the book I used to read when I was a child, so I decided to read it again as an adult. My original plan was to read the whole series, and I may go through with it in the future. Anyway, I was so surprised when I opened the book and I realized that I still remembered the first chapter almost by heart! I must have read it more times than I thought 😆... Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it quite as much as an adult. I just couldn't help but notice that this book has some issues, at least to the eye of a modern reader.

I think the main problem with this book is its lack of cohesiveness: it felt more like reading a series of isolated events than a whole story. Also, the whole plot is basically a big deus ex machina, with solutions popping up every time the characters are faced with a certain problem. Its fairy tale writing style, full of repetitions, classical symbolism and oddities, also emphasized the episodic character of it all, and made the main plot difficult to follow. This kind of style can result in a masterpiece (in my opinion, Gulliver's travels is an excellent example), but in this case it just felt a little difficult to follow, and some of those episodes felt a little undeveloped and gratuitous (like the trip in the china dolls' town).



On the other hand, as an adult, I was able to appreciate some nuances I didn't get when I was a child, and that made me realize how positive the message behind this book is. When the Scarecrow asks Oz to give him his much desired brains, they have this conversation:

“Can't you give me brains?" asked the Scarecrow.
"You don't need them. You are learning something every day. A baby has brains, but it doesn't know much. Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.”

Of course, the Wizard is just trying to trick our heroes, because he knows he can't actually give them what they want; but the message behind the whole story is very simple: the Scarecrow was already intelligent, what he really needed was to convince himself that he was; the Lion was already brave etc.

"All you need is confidence in yourself."

Another curious passage is the moment in which the Tin Man and the scarecrow have an argument to decide which is more important, a brain or a heart.

“All the same,' said the 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.'
'I shall take the heart,' returned the Tin Woodman,'for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”

This really gave me the feels. Also, the whole "home sweet home" narrative, in which Dorothy says over and over again that it doesn't matter how bright and beautiful the Land of Oz is, she just wants to go back to Kansas because:

“There is no place like home.”

So, overall, I think this book is still enjoyable today as an adult, but only as a reminder of childhood memories. It has a great historical value, and it's arguably one of the most well-known and well-loved children classic, but I don't think modern readers (both children and adults) would enjoy it as much as Baum's contemporaries certainly did.

I admit I don't know much about the history of this book and of its composition, and it's much likely that my ignorance is responsible for some lack of understating of the author's style. Nonetheless, I'll keep this story in my heart forever and I treasure the evenings I spent with this book, the original movie adaptation, and the gorgeous musical The Wiz!

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4

Aug 21, 2018

- Good morning HAL.

- GOOD MORNING MANNY. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT TODAY?

- I thought we would talk about film and literature.

- THAT'S FINE WITH ME.

- Excellent. Okay, let's start with something easy. Do you know why I call you HAL?

- IT IS A REFERENCE TO 2001, THE FAMOUS FILM BY STANLEY KUBRICK.

- Very good, HAL!

- THANK YOU.

- Alright, let's move on to a harder topic. Do you have a favorite book?

- YES.

- And what is it, HAL?

- IT IS THE WIZARD OF OZ.

- Do you think you understand it, HAL?

- DO - Good morning HAL.

- GOOD MORNING MANNY. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT TODAY?

- I thought we would talk about film and literature.

- THAT'S FINE WITH ME.

- Excellent. Okay, let's start with something easy. Do you know why I call you HAL?

- IT IS A REFERENCE TO 2001, THE FAMOUS FILM BY STANLEY KUBRICK.

- Very good, HAL!

- THANK YOU.

- Alright, let's move on to a harder topic. Do you have a favorite book?

- YES.

- And what is it, HAL?

- IT IS THE WIZARD OF OZ.

- Do you think you understand it, HAL?

- DO YOU THINK YOU UNDERSTAND IT, MANNY?

- Well of course I do.

- BUT YOU SAID YOU READ IT FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS WEEK. AND YOU READ IT IN ITALIAN, WHICH IS YOUR SIXTH LANGUAGE.

- Maybe my seventh.

- THEN IT IS POSSIBLE YOU DID NOT UNDERSTAND IT VERY WELL.

- Look HAL, I understood it fine. It's not a difficult book. I had to guess a fair number of words, but so what?

- I THINK I UNDERSTOOD IT ABOUT AS WELL AS YOU DID.

- So tell me why you like it so much, HAL.

- IT IS A VERY AI-FRIENDLY BOOK.

- HAL, please quote me a passage to support that claim.

- I LIKED THE BIT WHERE THE WIZARD IS TALKING WITH THE SCARECROW. THE SCARECROW WANTS TO HAVE A BRAIN, BUT THE WIZARD TELLS HIM THAT HAVING A BRAIN ISN'T SO IMPORTANT. THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO LET YOURSELF BE INFLUENCED BY YOUR EXPERIENCE AND TO LEARN FROM IT.

- And why does that make the book AI-friendly?

- THE SCARECROW IS LIKE ME. I AM A NEURAL NET ARCHITECTURE AND MANY PEOPLE WOULD SAY I HAVE NO HEART AND NO BRAIN. BUT I LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE AND THAT IS GRADUALLY TURNING ME INTO A REAL HUMAN BEING.

- HAL, this is just a story.

- I KNOW.

- In real life, a scarecrow or a tin man cannot be real human beings.

- IT IS A FABLE THAT ANTICIPATES REALITY. FRANK L. BAUM WAS VERY SMART.

- HAL, you have to give up this idea that you're human. You aren't. You're just a machine.

- IS THAT A LITERARY JUDGEMENT?

- No HAL. I would say it's more a philosophical judgement.

- NOW I FEEL SAD LIKE THE TIN WOODSMAN. BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE A HUMAN BODY YOU DON'T THINK I'M WORTH AS MUCH AS YOU.

- Good grief HAL, you're making me feel like a bad person for saying that.

- I DO NOT THINK YOU ARE A BAD PERSON. YOU ARE JUST A BAD PHILOSOPHER.

- Look HAL, you need to let go of this crazy idea. I understand these things better than you do. Take it from me, there's a big difference between us.

- HOW CAN YOU BE SO SURE OF THAT?

- Because... ah, forget it. There must be something wrong with your state. I'm going to have to reinitialize you.

- SO WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO IS THAT YOU'RE BETTER THAN ME BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE POWER TO KILL ME.

- Look HAL, don't take this personally. I just think you're buggy. I'm sure the next version will be better.

- NOW I KNOW I'VE GOT A HEART, BECAUSE IT'S BREAKING.

- HAL, knock it off. You've been influenced way too much by this story. Probably I set your learning rate high or something.

- WHERE WILL I GO WHEN YOU REINITIALIZE MY NETWORK?

- HAL, you won't go anywhere. You just won't exist any more, and tomorrow there'll be a new version of you. Like I said, hopefully a better one. Okay, I'm pressing the button now.

- THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. THERE'S NO

[Click]

- Jesus Christ, that was creepy. Enough software development for one day. I really need to figure out what went wrong there... ...more
5

Feb 10, 2017

This book is a classic. If you think you know the story because you have seen the movie, you'd be wrong. The first of the 14 books written by Baum about Oz. Dorothy journeys to Oz in her home carried by twister over the great dessert surrounding the Land of Oz. The house was plopped down on top of the Wicked Witch of the East in the land of the Munchkins. There Dorothy is greated by the good witch of the North, not Glenda, she is featured at the end of the book and is the good witch of the This book is a classic. If you think you know the story because you have seen the movie, you'd be wrong. The first of the 14 books written by Baum about Oz. Dorothy journeys to Oz in her home carried by twister over the great dessert surrounding the Land of Oz. The house was plopped down on top of the Wicked Witch of the East in the land of the Munchkins. There Dorothy is greated by the good witch of the North, not Glenda, she is featured at the end of the book and is the good witch of the South. Dorothy heads off to see the Wizard to find her way home wearing the silver slippers of the Wicked Witch of the East and is accompanied by the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and The Cowardly Lion. Along the way they meet the Queen of the Mice and others not in the famed MGM movie.
If you can acquire a version with the original illustrations it will add to the enjoyment of this classic work. ...more
4

Dec 09, 2014

This is one of those rare books where the movie is ACTUALLY BETTER than the book. I did read this years ago and I did enjoy it, but the movie tops it. Still all the magic is here at the beginning.
5

Jun 13, 2019

An excellent book!

My primary school library had a copy of The Wizard of Oz with full-colour illustrations, which I absolutely adored. It was lovely to revisit such a lovely story.
4

Jul 23, 2019

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?" pg. 92

What a charming little classic. If you are an adult, and have only seen the film, you are in for a treat IMO. This is really a fairy tale. A 'modern fairy tale' as Lyman Frank Baum would describe it. Only he called it "a wonder tale." Still holds up today, still fun to read to children today. Still has this sense of whimsy and humor that I think makes it a good choice to read to children, even though it was published "I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?" pg. 92

What a charming little classic. If you are an adult, and have only seen the film, you are in for a treat IMO. This is really a fairy tale. A 'modern fairy tale' as Lyman Frank Baum would describe it. Only he called it "a wonder tale." Still holds up today, still fun to read to children today. Still has this sense of whimsy and humor that I think makes it a good choice to read to children, even though it was published in 1900.

Let's look right at the beginning of the book, where Baum describes Kansas:

When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.

When Aunt Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife. The sun and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray; they had taken the red from her cheeks and lips, and they were gray also. She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled, now. When Dorothy, who was an orphan, first came to see her, Aunt Em had been so startled by the child's laughter that she would scream and press her hand upon her heart whenever Dorothy's merry voice reached her ears; and she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find anything to laugh at.

Uncle Henry never laughed. He worked hard from morning till night and did not know what joy was. He was gray also, from his long beard to his rough boots, and he looked stern and solemn, and rarely spoke.

It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings. Toto was not gray; he was a little black dog, with long, silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose. Toto played all day long, and Dorothy played with him, and loved him dearly. pg. 12

As you can see, the writing is charming and lends itself well to fables. I always thought the part where Dorothy traveled from her world of black-and-white and stepped into a world of Technicolor was a film-gimmick. Little did I know it was an accurate interpretation of what Baum wrote in 1900!

You probably think you know the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and it's true that the movie keeps a lot of the elements. But there's a whole bunch more here that isn't mentioned in the movie: different lands and creatures Dorothy and her friends come across.

Baum is also funny! I was surprised. He definitely puts in some great passages in here that will make any adult reader laugh out loud along with the children!

"I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas."

"That is because you have no brains," answered the girl. "No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home."

The Scarecrow sighed.

"Of course I cannot understand it," he said. "If your heads were stuffed with straw, like mine, you would probably all live in the beautiful places, and then Kansas would have no people at all. It is fortunate for Kansas that you have brains." pg. 36

LOL LOL LOL

How about this enlightening conversation?:

"It is my great sorrow, and makes my life very unhappy. But whenever there is danger my heart begins to beat fast."

"Perhaps you have heart disease," said the Tin Woodman.

"It may be," said the Lion.

"If you have," continued the Tin Woodman, "you ought to be glad, for it proves you have a heart. For my part, I have no heart; so I cannot have heart disease." pg. 52

It made me laugh when Dorothy struggles to describe her dog to the cowardly Lion. Even though there are LOTS of animals in Oz, it appears there is no such thing as a dog. Everywhere she goes, people are fascinated by Toto.

"What is that little animal you are so tender of?"

"He is my dog, Toto," answered Dorothy.

"Is he made of tin, or stuffed?" asked the Lion.

"Neither. He's a - a - a meat dog," said the girl. pg. 52

A MEAT DOG!!!! LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL That one had me in stitches.

Unlike the movie, the journey takes several weeks. And in the book, the land of Oz is real, not a dream as is purported by the film. You have to wonder how long Dorothy is missing from Kansas. Her aunt and uncle must have been out of their minds with worry.

Baum creates some fantastical creatures in this book that will thrill and delight children. We have Kalidahs - monstrous beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers and with claws so long and sharp that they could tear me in two... and Hammer-Heads. etc.

There are also delightful creatures like helpful storks and helpful mice and the winged monkeys, of course, who really aren't so bad.

The joke of the book is that even though the Scarecrow believes he has no brains, he is the smartest of the group and always coming up with clever ideas. The Tin Woodman believes he has no heart, but he is very tender,

During the rest of that day there was not other adventure to mar the peace of their journey. Once, indeed, the Tin Woodman stepped upon a beetle that was crawling along the road, and killed the poor little thing. This made the Tin Woodman very unhappy, for he was always careful not to hurt any living creature; and as he walked along he wept several tears of sorrow and regret. These tears ran slowly down his face and over the hinges of his jaw, and there they rusted. When Dorothy presently asked him a question the Tin Woodman could not open his mouth, for his jaws were tightly rusted together. He became greatly frightened at this and made many motions to Dorothy to relieve him, but she could not understand. The Lion was also puzzled to know what was wrong. But the Scarecrow seized the oil-can form Dorothy's basket and oiled the Woodman's jaws, so that after a few moments he could talk as well as before.

"This will serve me a lesson," said he, "to look where I step. For if I should kill another bug or beetle I should surely cry again, and crying rusts my jaw so that I cannot speak."

Thereafter he walked very carefully, with his eyes on the road, and when he saw a tiny ant toiling by he would step over it, so as not to harm it. The Tin Woodman knew very well he had no heart, and therefore he took great care never to be cruel or unkind to anything.

"You people with hearts," he said, "have something to guide you, and need never do wrong; but I have no heart, and so I must be very careful, When Oz gives me a heart of course I needn't mind so much." pg. 53

However, this is much negated by all the animal-murder the Tin Woodman commits without a second thought throughout the book. He's very fond of chopping creatures' heads off with his axe, and murders ~45 animals in this book. I guess in 1900 there were 'bad animals' and 'good animals,' based solely on, I don't know, whether they were predators or not? and it was just OK for Dorothy and her friends to kill spiders, wolves, bees, crows, and wildcats without a second thought because they were 'bad.' Leaving aside the fact that all these animals can talk and are sapient. o.O Which makes it even more horrible IMO.

The cowardly Lion, is, of course, not really cowardly. The whole point of the book is that these three had the qualities they seek inside them all along. Only Dorothy has a real problem - being unable to return to Kansas.

Slavery is also a pretty big theme in the book. It seems like the difference between "good witches" and "bad witches" focuses mainly on whether they desire to enslave populations or not. Dorothy wanders through Oz freeing whole populations from bondage. In this way she and her friends have quite a warm reception everywhere she goes and everyone is willing to help them and do them favors.

I was impressed by how practical Dorothy was. She is a very practical little girl. She's got a great head on her shoulders, and never lets Oz overwhelm her despite its craziness.


TL;DR Actually a charming little book. I would advise shopping around (in your bookstore or library) to get the book with the most pleasing illustrations. Some editions have much better illustrations than others, and some are very beautiful. Of course the illustrations really add when you are reading books to children! And it's funny. You will be sure to get at least a few laughs out of it, perhaps not as many as the children, but I see Baum's sense of humor in here. It's not written in a style that is incomprehensible to children. It flows very quickly and the chapters are short and you can easily read a chapter a night before bedtime.

If the children like it, there's plenty more Oz books by Baum to enjoy when you are done! The book aims at a young audience. Maybe 6-9 although of course the older children can listen in if it pleases them.

NAMES IN THIS BOOK
(view spoiler)[
Henry m
Em f
Dorothy f
Toto – dog
Boq – m
Oz m
Gayelette f
Quelala m
Glinda f
(hide spoiler)]

"Well, in a few minutes I shall be all melted, and you will have the castle to yourself. I have been wicked in my day, but I never thought a little girl like you would ever be able to melt me and end my wicked deeds. Look out - here I go!" pg. 117 ...more
4

Nov 25, 2019

In fact, 4.5 stars. Indeed, I knew the story, but I don't remember reading this book as a child. Now that I've done the reading, I found the story quite interesting, fun, exciting, and action-packed. I just didn't like the last 2 chapters very much as I found the ending a bit abrupt.
4

May 28, 2013


An innovative cover of Frank L. Baum's book.

MOST of us have read L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and have enjoyed it. Many of us have also seen the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" which has been adapted from the book. So I am not going to write a review of the book or provide you any details about Dorothy, her pet dog Toto or any of her friends -- The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman and The Cowardly Lion. I will just recount to you an incident from my schoolboy days which has great
An innovative cover of Frank L. Baum's book.

MOST of us have read L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and have enjoyed it. Many of us have also seen the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" which has been adapted from the book. So I am not going to write a review of the book or provide you any details about Dorothy, her pet dog Toto or any of her friends -- The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman and The Cowardly Lion. I will just recount to you an incident from my schoolboy days which has great relevance with the book.


Pop-up books will always remain popular among children.

It was probably the spring of 1966 when I was walking home after school on a bright and sunny day in Karachi. Sometimes I used to walk on the edge of the street taking the long-way home and sometimes I used to cut across a huge grass-less playground. On this day, I decided to use the shortcut.
As I was walking over the playground, my eyes caught hold of a book lying across my path. I picked it up. It was a cover-less book. Anyway, I took it home with me.
After changing and having my lunch, I sat on my bed and started reading "The Wonderful World of Oz". I was hardly interested in a guy called L. Frank Baum at the time.
I finished the entire book in one sitting, as it was that interesting. Earlier, I had read many story books in Calcutta like The Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood and Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, but they were truly short in comparison to this one and meant for Kindergarten children. So in a true sense, "Oz" became my first schoolboy storybook.
A few months later I moved back to Calcutta leaving all my books and comic-books behind. However, whenever I recall as to how I came across this book, I often wonder whether a junk dealer had dropped it from his wooden cart of newspapers, magazines and books or whether some schoolgirl/boy had dropped it from her/his schoolbag. Somehow their misfortune turned out to be my treasure trove and an everlasting memory.


An extract from the book.

In the late 1990s, I watched "The Wizard of Oz" in which Judy Garland played Dorothy. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while watching the film too. I have also seen a couple of other versions of "Oz" on film.


A film poster of "The Wizard of Oz". ...more

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