I know what you’re thinking. You already know the story of The Wizard of Oz. Well, maybe.
L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written in 1900. The film musical was released in 1939 to less than favorable reviews and initially a box office bomb. And then, the movie debuted on television in 1956.
Years later, when I saw the movie, The Wizard of Oz, I was inspired to take a ride in a hot air balloon.
The Wizard of Oz - Book vs. Movie
While the now classic film hits many of the notes from Baum’s book, there’s even more brains, heart, and courage displayed by the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion in the book. (Actually, Tin Woodman in the book).
Just as Dorothy has the power all along to defeat the Wicked Witch, the Scarecrow brandishes his brains, the Tin Man reveals his heart, and the Lion shows his courage throughout the journey to The Emerald City.
It’s only The Wizard who dares to recognize what these characters have yet to discover about themselves.
What the film keeps from the original book is the sly humor. Case in point: The house in Kansas is lifted in the air by the cyclone, steering its occupants, Dorothy and Toto, to The Land of Oz where “The cyclone had set the house down, very gently – for a cyclone.”
What the movie changes from the book makes sense for a film made in 1939. The Wizard of Oz book has more frightening scenes that may be too much for children. The book also has more poignancy that may be missed by children.
Why Read The Wizard of Oz Today?
There’s another reason to read Baum’s book. Today, you have so many more choices for which book version to read.
For me, there are two considerations with children’s books: the story and the illustrations. I’m a fan of illustrators, Alison Jay and Emily Winfield Martin.
And now, with this version of The Wizard of Oz, I have a new favorite illustrator, Lisbeth Zwerger.
In 1990, Lisbeth Zwerger received the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international distinction given to those who have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature.
The Kansas Centennial Edition
Do you need another edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? If illustrated by Michael McCurdy, then yes. Yes, you do. McCurdy’s stunning black & white wood engravings bring both sharpness and warmth to The Kansas Centennial Edition produced by the University Press of Kansas.
See other children’s books from my favorite illustrators:
Lisbeth Zwerger books on Amazon
Alison Jay books on Amazon
Emily Winfield Martin books on Amazon
See more Books to Read:
The Reader on the 6.27
Once Upon a Tome
No Time to Spare
Read This for Inspiration
Vivian Maier Developed
Jane Austen: A Life
Books overlooked. Bakes for home bakers. Places unexpected. Find your new favorite thing.