The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember having this book read to me as a first-grader and being surprised at how different it was from the movie. Beyond that, I only had a vague recollection of the plot, so I thought it was time I re-read it to refresh my memory.

For better or for worse, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is forever going to be compared to its movie counterpart The Wizard of Oz. I happen to like both, but I feel that this is one of those rare instances where the movie is better than its source material. The book is very picaresque. Each chapter is a different adventure in Dorothy’s tale, which makes it feel a bit disjointed at times, especially when characters come in and out of the plot as quickly and chaotically as the cyclone that swept Dorothy away. Contrast that to the movie which pared down the side-stories to one major villain and one major conflict.

Baum’s writing style is also structurally simple, each sentence very similar in length and style. It works as a folk tale, which explains why it sounds so good read aloud. But on paper it grows bland after awhile. Obviously, I may also be biased, because I am not the target audience for the text.

All and all, the book is sweet, whimsical, and delightfully innocent. The characters are heroes your child can root for and look up to for their bravery, heart, and brains.



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