The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – A 2015 Reading Challenge Review

This week’s read was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. This checks off “A book you can finish in a day” from the reading list.

Overall, I liked it. Definitely a kid’s story and my 4-year-old has spent the week flipping through it, looking at the pictures, and asking dozens of questions. I’ll very likely be reading it out loud to her before it goes back to the library. Then maybe we’ll rent the movie.

I found myself comparing it to the classic movie most of the time. First thing I noticed was just how young Dorothy was. She struck me as being about 6-years-old or so, though I don’t think the book ever specifies. Quite different from the teenaged Dorothy of the movie.

Color played a big role in the story. Kansas is described as being very gray. When Dorothy first lands in Oz, she’s in the East, the land of the Munchkins, where everything is blue. Clothes and houses are all colored blue. The West is yellow, while the South is red. The Emerald City, obviously, is green, but that’s due to green tinted glasses the Wizard makes everyone wear. Dorothy never goes north, so that color remains a mystery. Probably orange or purple…

The Good Witch of the North is dressed in white, though she is not the same person as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, who also wears white. The Wicked Witch of the West didn’t come into play until much later in the story, after the Wizard has commanded Dorothy and her friends to kill her. She did desire Dorothy’s silver shoes (silver, not red!) because they held great power.

One point in the book made me laugh. The Wizard gives the Scarecrow his “brains,” which is a mix of bran and pins and needles. The Wizards says he’s given the Scarecrow “bran-new brains.” When his friends observed the pins and needles, the Lion says he has them as “proof that he is sharp.” The puns rival that of my old high-school teacher…

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was an easy read, and full of entertaining pictures. Still a good book for kids and I think my daughter will enjoy it when we start reading it.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing Uncle Tom’s Cabin for my “book you were supposed to read in school, but didn’t.”

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