The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first book in a series of stories by L.Frank Baum, later reprints of the book took the name the Wizard of Oz instead which was the title of a highly beloved Broadway musical adaptation of the story.
In the story a young girl called Dorothy who lives a grey and boring life in Kansas gets transported to the colourful world of Oz when she and her dog Toto are picked up in a cyclone.
The house they were in lands on the Wicked Witch of the East and kills her, an event which attracts the Good Witch of the North, Dorothy explains how she wants to go home and is encouraged to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald city and seek the help of the Wizard of Oz.
This all sound very similar to those who are familiar with the 1939 film starring Judy Garland, however I was surprised with how different the book was to this film adaptation.
I don’t want to give away too many of differences but I would like to talk about some of them with as few spoilers as possible.
The biggest surprise is the lack of a Wicked Witch of the West, she is in the book but only appears in one chapter half-way through the story so after her demise the groups journey is still not over.
There are various different lands and species in this book that do not appear in the film, one area that stands out is a land that is completely made out of porcelain china.
A pre-warning that the book carries quite a heavy body count of various creatures that are slain by the four heroes of the story (Scarecrow, Lion, Tin-Man and Dorothy), these are not too graphic but younger readers may find them a little bit disturbing.
I love the 1939 film but I think I prefer this version as I felt that this adventure was so much more interesting and intense. I loved the character developments and the conversations they would have, one of my favourite moments in the book was when the Tin-Man and the Scarecrow were debating whether its better to have a brain or a heart, the characters have back stories in this too explaining how they became the way that they are, the Tin-Man’s backstory is particularly quite tragic.
This is a wonderful book and to be honest I was expecting to read a story I already knew and was pleasantly surprised when I read this and it was almost completely different and that reason alone is a great reason to pick up a copy and check it out for yourself.
I hope you enjoyed this review of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum
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