2013 Reads: Six {The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum}

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I can't believe I put off reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum for so long! What a wonderful tale of adventure and friendship! I'm glad I finally got around to reading this gem. I'm also glad that I selected this edition - the Barnes & Nobel Classics - because it provided a little bit of literary analysis (if I wanted to look at it) while not being overbearing with explanations of every single detail of the book. It was interesting and appreciated.

The story, as most of us have known since childhood, goes a little like this: Dorothy, an orphan, lives with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in the middle of a prairie in Kansas. A tornado comes by and Dorothy is unable to get to safety with her Aunt and Uncle. The tornado swoops up the house and in it Dorothy and her little dog, Toto. It then sets them down in Oz, a beautiful and lush land with a lot of strange and magical people. Her house has landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her, and all the Munchkins who were under her control are freed, and very thankful. The Good Witch leaves a mark from a kiss on Dorothy's forehead, protecting her from harm, and tells her to take the silver (!) enchanted shoes from the witch she has killed and points her on to the Emerald City to find the Wizard who will send her back to Kansas.

Along the way Dorothy meets the Scarecrow (in search of a brain), the Tin Man (in search of a heart), and the Cowardly Lion (in search of some courage) and they all head towards the Emerald City together. Along the way they encounter a number of adventures including the field of Poppies, having to cross a raging river, and many more. Once they get to Oz the Wizard sends them on a quest to kill the Wicked Witch of the West (which they do) and then on their return he will give them each what they seek. When the do return the secret is accidentally found out (thanks Toto!) that the Wizard isn't all he claimed to be, but he is still somewhat able to provide for Dorothy's companions. When he tries to help Dorothy back to Kansas his balloon leaves without her, leaving Dorothy to have to travel to Glenda the Good Witch for assistance home. This is the last set of adventures for the four friends - and in the end they all live happily ever after.

I loved this novel.

What more can you say about it that hasn't already been said in the 100+ years since it's been written? I'm sad to realize what the movie left out - because there were so many adventures with these four! And so many other interesting characters to meet! Though, this did keep the book interesting for me and kept the movie out of my head somewhat.

I love that this novel was about a strong, intelligent little girl and her empathetic and witty companions. I also liked how all of the characters had inside of them exactly what they thought they were lacking - the Scarecrow was intelligent, always with a plan or a solution to a problem; the Tin Woodsman had a heart full of empathy and love for everything around him; the Cowardly Lion was full of courage in the face of the unknown and the frightening; Dorothy had the ability to leave Oz with the shoes at any time she wanted; but they all needed these adventures to discover that for themselves. So, even though the Wizard put a stuffed heart in the chest of the Tin Woodsman or had the Cowardly Lion drink a bowl of "courage" - they didn't need any of what he had to give to them. It's a good reminder to us all that we have the power of anything we want inside of ourselves so long as we chose to believe it's there.

I'm incredibly glad I read this book, finally. Thankfully I put it on my list for the Back to the Classics Challenge I signed up for! Both as a "Classic Adventure" and as a "Classic Children's/YA Title" because it fit for both :) I forced my own hand on this one, and am so glad I did!

And it's a series! HOW COOL! It's got about 15+ books in it and I really hope to read a few more - especially the next two that were the basis for Disney's Return to Oz that I loved so much as a child.

Any books you've finally gotten around to that you can't believe you waited so long for? What classics are on your list? Have you read the Wonderful Wizard of Oz before? Or any of the rest of the books in the series?

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Genre: Young Adult/Children's; Adventure; Fantasy; Fiction
Medium: Paperback
Pages: 213
Date Read: 29 January 2013
First Line: Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife.
Favorite Line: Oh, no my dear. I'm a very good man. I'm just a very bad wizard.
Last Line: "From the Land of Oz," said Dorothy, gravely. "And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I'm so glad to be at home again!" [Whited out, for spoiler's sake]
Recommended: Whole Heartedly
Recommended For: Kids, Adults, People Who Love the Movie, Everyone!
Challenges: Goodreads; Back To The Classics


  1. Glad you enjoyed Wizard of Oz, I never realized it was a series with 15 books in it! Stopping by from the Back to the Classics challenge, Here's my review of Little Women for the Back to the Classics Challenge if you'd like to stop by. I have Wizard of Oz on my Classics Club list also and look forward to reading it.

  2. I read this book a few times as a kid, and I had a friend who read the whole series and loved it. I read it to my son when he was little, and didn't think it held up well with the passing of my years, but still a classic that has fond memories for me.

    >It's a good reminder to us all that we have the power of anything we want inside of ourselves so long as we chose to believe it's there.

    Well said!


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