Wizard of Oz

Review: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum [1900]

We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz! Because, because, because, because …

No, that wasn’t in the book but they are the lyrics of the wonderful and catchy songs featured in the 1939 MGM classic movie of the same name. L. Frank Baum’s original book varies somewhat to the version most of us know and love. One of the significant difference is that Dorothy doesn’t wear the ruby slipper because they are actually silver in Baum’s version.

The story begins in Kansas where Dorothy, a young orphan, lives on a dry and desolate farm with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. There is nobody else for miles and the landscape and its people are tired and grey. A cyclone suddenly sweeps through the farm one day and Dorothy, who had run back into the house to find Toto, her dog, finds herself and the house transported to the land of Oz by the cyclone.

In Oz, Dorothy discovers that she is in the Munchkin land, which is filled with colour and beauty in contrast to her home back in Kansas. There, she meets the Good Witch of the North who congratulates her for killing the Wicked Witch of the East by landing her house on top of the witch. Needless to say, the young Dorothy is horrified and asks the good Witch how she can get home to Kansas.

‘The road to City of Emeralds is paved with yellow brick … so you cannot miss it. When you get to Oz do not be afraid of him, but tell your story and ask him to help you.’ – p. 25

And so Dorothy sets off along the yellow brick road and during her journey, she meets the Scarecrow, who desires a brain, the Tin Woodman, who desires a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, who desires courage. During their journey to the Emerald City, the three characters unknowingly display their desired traits without the need for the wizard’s magic.

Since this is already a well known story, there’s nothing much else to add. Undoubtedly, the book is more in-depth than the movie but also rather more philosophical about human nature and inner strength. We would like more courage, brains and heart and if only we looked a little deeper within ourselves, we would discover that we already possess them and do not need a wizard’s magic.

Lazy Sundays

Today was one of the best Sundays I’ve had in a long while. What did I do? Nothing, except lolling around at home watching I Dream of Jeannie DVDs and reading. In the morning I got right into The Mill on the Floss and I’m a quarter of a way through. I’d been struggling with it during the week because I’d been too tired to read it and this is a book that needs your undivided concentration. George Eliot did not write for those who are too lazy to appreciate her work. I’m liking Floss and I love Maggie. The relationship between Mr Tulliver and his ‘little wench’ is already pulling at my heartstrings.

In the afternoon, with the temperamental weather spitting rain and blowing heavy wind one minute then unleashing a blazing sun the next, I laid in bed and read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and it was simply delicious. While I’m a huge fan of the movie, I did like the book and thought it was a little more darker, unnatural but more philosophical than how it was portrayed in the movie. And it made me quite nostalgic simply reading a book that had lovely illustrations inside.

I hope your Sunday was as pleasant and relaxing as mine!

(Painting: Portrait Of Marguerite Guillaumin Reading by Armand Guillaumin)

More New Books

I couldn’t help myself and I bought myself more new books. Granted, I have been looking for these titles for awhile now and they’re pretty difficult to find in stores.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • How the Light Gets In by M.J. Hyland

I had no idea Oxford Press published Wizard of Oz and I particularly love the cover. It makes it look a little more grown up when reading it on the train. I had bought Wizard of Oz previously but I kept getting the wrong version. They were either abridged, adaptations or variations of the original version. I would have liked the annotated Wizard of Oz but that’s a little too expensive at the moment. I’m a huge fan of the movies, including the lesser known Return to Oz, but I have never read the books. With How the Light Gets In I complete my collection of M.J. Hyland’s books. This title has been particularly hard to get even on ebay.