Title: The Wizard of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Publication Date: May 17, 1900 (Canterbury Classics Oct. 21, 2013)
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
We all know the movie and storyline well. But have you ever read the original novel? Influenced by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, L. Frank Baum created this classic story and fantasy using the dream of young Dorothy on her journey home to demonstrate the theme of good vs. evil. Throughout her adventure, she encounters several newfound friends: a scarecrow, a tin woodman, and a cowardly lion. They traverse the land of Oz together by following the famous yellow brick road to the stunning Emerald City. Though they encounter surprises along the way, what they find in the Emerald City shocks them.
Lyman Frank Baum was an American author, actor, and independent filmmaker best known as the creator, along with illustrator W. W. Denslow, of one of the most popular books in American children's literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, better known today as simply The Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a plethora of other works (55 novels in total, 82 short stories, over 200 poems, an unknown number of scripts, and many miscellaneous writings), and made numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen.
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I started reading "Oz" with my kids a couple of months ago for school. I decided to use an english curriculum that taught nouns, pronouns, and such to my seven-year-olds that revolved around using literature to learn these concepts the fun way.
Our first book is "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". My kids and I have all seen the Judy Garland movie (more than once) and so we were all excited to start the book; eager to read about the munchkins, ruby slippers, and melting green witches.
For those of you that have read the book, you'll know that those slippers are, indeed, not ruby red. They are silver! What?!
Once I began reading to my girls, I knew that I needed to throw away all preconceived notions of what I thought this story was out the window. From the first chapter, it seemed that most of the similarities ended with a girl named Dorothy.
Once I was able to get into the book and empty my mind of the Hollywood counterpart, I was immediately able to immerse myself into the world of Oz.
The book is whimsical and silly. But, in an almost, grown-up way. There were bits of humor interlaced throughout that my girls just didn't get, but that would make me giggle.
Baum's classic made me realize--once again--that reading the book before seeing the movie should always be a priority.
And, now, I get to read the sequel with my nine-year-old.