New Read: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz

For a lighter tone after The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald I picked another American classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum off my Classics Club list. I had a copy of it waiting on my Kindle and it is a nice short novel which I thought would make an easy read for my busy mind.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz joins little Dorothy as a tornado sweeps her away from her aunt, uncle and the life she knows in Kansas off on a magical adventure to a wonderful new land named Oz. As wonderful as this new land is to Dorothy it isn’t home and so she must make the journey to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz to send her back to Kansas. Along the way she will meet many magical creatures and have many dangerous adventures all with her dog Toto and her new friends a man of straw, a tin woodsman and a cowardly lion. It is very hard not to know this story what with the huge success and continued love of the film The Wizard of Oz (1939) starring the wonderful Judy Garland. Now having read the novel I think the film is a good adaptation but like most films has cut out a lot of the detail and simplified the tale. I was pleasantly surprised to discover more creatures and places that Dorothy visited.

Dorothy the protagonist of this adventure is young, bright, kind and open-minded which she will need to be in this new and unusual land. There are many things in the land of Oz that are unusual and contradict the life that she knew back in Kansas. While Dorothy is a nice character and liked reading about her she is a little two-dimensional. What really made the novel for me were the new friends that she made along the way. First we have the man of straw that Dorothy releases from a field in munchkinland he isn’t very bright but he is friendly and brave. Next we have the tin woodsman who they rescue from the woods where he has frozen solid with rust he isn’t loving but he is strong and clever. Then finally they are joined by the cowardly lion he isn’t brave but he is loyal and kind-hearted. All three want something too so they travel with Dorothy to ask the Wizard of Oz for help.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the first novel I have read by L Frank Baum after reading this though I would like to read more of his Oz series. I thought The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was well-written with a realistic childlike voice and wonder. I loved all the magical characters and colourful places of Oz. I felt I really got to know Oz and many of its inhabitants on this journey. The pace of the journey was good I only wished that sometimes I could have spent more time in some of the locations but that is only a small personal niggle.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a short and magical children’s classic. I highly recommend to those who enjoy the classics and fantasy novels. This is my 22nd read off my Classics Club list. Good read.

Have you read this? Enjoyed the film?

I’m counting The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as Fantasy for the Once Upon a Time VIII event hosted by Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings.

14 thoughts on “New Read: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  1. I agree that the film, though wonderful its own right, missed out on some of the side plots and back stories of the characters, which I really enjoyed. The China Land was brilliant with the china/porcelain inhabitants. I thought that was so creative. There was some witty lines towards the end that I really enjoyed as well.

    Here is my Classics Club review of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, if interested!

  2. I have to agree with you about Dorothy being two-dimensional…Baum presents a series of sturdy young boys and sweet little girls throughout his books, and they’re mostly all the same type. But he did have a gift for wild and wonderful supporting characters! I’d definitely recommend continuing the series. 🙂 They get hit-and-miss eventually, but the first three are all excellent!

    1. Thank you Cheryl reading some of your thoughts on later instalments in this series definitely inspired me to finally pick this up. I would like to read more soon 🙂

  3. I remember reading this as a child (as well as watching the film) but I don’t think I ever read any of the other Oz books. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Oh gosh, I read this years ago – in fact I think it’s one of the first novels I think I ever read at the suggestion of one of my teachers – this and The Borrowers and I loved them both! Maybe I should give it a reread – it would be interesting to see how it stands the test of time.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Lynn that’s lovely and yes it would be nice to see how you feel about them now. I read both this and The Borrowers as an adult so I don’t have anything to contrast with which is a shame as I am sure I would have loved both as a child.

  5. I’ve seen the film (hasn’t everybody?!), but I’ve not yet read the book. I do quite fancy reading it though… I might just add it to my Kindle.

  6. Both the book and the movie are so lovely. I remember reading the sequels as a kid and loving them too. In retrospect though, they were probably a bit too repetitive.

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