Book Review – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

TITLE: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
AUHTOR: L. Frank Baum
THIS VERSION: 2000+ (exact year unknown)


The baby took a nap, so I was finally able to finish this book.  I have to say, I had forgotten how many things were different between this and the movie, since it’s been so long since I read this the last time.  I’ve probably seen the movie 1000 times (daily for a year or so, 3D IMAX, television for years, etc), but this is only the third time I’ve read the book (and the first time was abridged when I was a kid).  I should also add for the sake of disclaimer that I’m not entirely sure that the copy I had wasn’t abridged, but it doesn’t specify either way in my copy, and I can’t find my print copy to verify (not that I checked that hard, but still).

For those somehow out of the know, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz centers around a young teenage girl named Dorothy who is caught in a cyclone and whisked – house and all – from Kansas to Oz, wherever that is.  She meets several witches, a scarecrow, a tin man, and a cowardly lion, and travels through several lands to get to the Emerald City to get the Great and Powerful Oz to grant several requests.

From the book to the movie, there are certainly some similarities – Dorothy drops a house on a witch in Munchkinland, for instance – but there are most certainly some differences as well – the slippers are silver (Red was for Technicolor), the part where the Wizard takes off in the balloon is only about 75% of the way through the book and not at the end, there are Winkies and all four witches and…  Look, at one point the Wicked Witch beats somebody with a switch so she can keep them as slaves.  This is definitely not the beloved children’s movie with Judy Garland where its all just a dream.

But I think it’s worth a read.  I’ll warn you that the language feels a little off, but that’s to be expected with a story that was written in 1900.  And some of the things that happens are just weird.  But there are some cool lands that don’t make it into the movie, and it’s nice to see a wrap-up of where all four characters go and not just Dorothy.

If you’re a fan of the movie, I think you should read this to know where it all began.  I’m going to give it a very cautious 4/5.

Also, a word of note.  There are a dozen Oz books that Baum himself wrote (and at least another dozen that other people wrote).  He only wrote sequels because the public begged him to and he actually hated all of them.  So read the first book, but don’t feel obligated to read the rest of them.


This book satisfies the 100 years old + category.

2 books of 52 completed.

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