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Oz #1

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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Come along, Toto, she said. We will go to the Emerald City and ask the Great Oz how to get back to Kansas again.

Swept away from her home in Kansas by a tornado, Dorothy and her dog Toto find themselves stranded in the fantastical Land of Oz. As instructed by the Good Witch of the North and the Munchkins, Dorothy sets off on the yellow brick road to try and find her way to the Emerald City and the Wizard of Oz, who can help her get home. With her companions the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy experiences an adventure full of friendship, magic and danger. A much-loved children's classic, The Wizard of Oz continues to delight readers young and old with its enchanting tale of witches, flying monkeys and silver shoes.

154 pages, Paperback

First published May 17, 1900

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About the author

L. Frank Baum

2,398 books2,461 followers
also wrote under the name Edith Van Dyne, Floyd Akers, Schuyler Staunton, John Estes Cooke, Suzanne Metcalf, Laura Bancroft, Louis F. Baum, Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald

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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5 stars
162,584 (36%)
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3 stars
98,116 (22%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,574 reviews
Profile Image for Luca Ambrosino.
83 reviews13.7k followers
February 1, 2020
ENGLISH (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) / ITALIANO

Dorothy is a young girl who lives with her aunts in a small farm in Kansas. Due to a tornado, she is catapulted with her house in a freaky village...

Dorothy's journey, which I discovered at 38 thanks to my daughter and to the well-established habit of reading something to her before going to bed, begins in this way. The thing that impressed me most about this wonderful story is that the title "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is rather misleading. Yes, because Oz is neither the protagonist of the novel nor the ultimate goal of Dorothy's journey. Oz appears more or less at half of the novel, and he remains in the story for no more than 50 pages. Surely, Dorothy and her cheerful company start the search for the wizard of Oz almost immediately. However, the story that involves directly or indirectly Oz ends in an unexpected way, almost prematurely, and in my opinion this is a strenght of the story. When Oz disappeared from the story, it was funny to see the confused face of my daughter saying:

and I realized how successful was L. Frank Baum's attempt to mislead the readers.

Young people heartly fantasize. Me too.

Vote: 8


Dorothy è una fanciulla che vive con gli zii in una piccola fattoria nell'Kansas. A causa di una tromba d'aria, la sua abitazione viene catapultata con lei dentro in paese quanto meno bislacco...

Comincia così il viaggio di Dorothy, che ho scoperto a 38 anni suonati grazie a mia figlia e all'abitudine ormai consolidata di farsi leggere qualcosa prima di andare a letto (non la trasposizione cinematografica, quella la conoscevo già). La cosa che più mi ha colpito di questo splendido racconto è come il titolo "Il meraviglioso mago di Oz" sia fuorviante. Si, perchè Oz non è nè il protagonista nè l'obiettivo finale della ricerca della piccola Dorothy. Il personaggio di Oz appare più o meno a metà racconto, e ci rimane per non più di 50 pagine. Di sicuro la ricerca del mago di Oz comincia quasi fin da subito da parte della piccola Dorothy e della sua allegra compagnia. Tuttavia la vicenda che coinvolge direttamente o indirettamente Oz si conclude in maniera inaspettata, quasi prematuramente, e questo secondo me è un punto di forza del racconto. Con l'uscita di scena del mago di Oz, vedere la faccia spiazzata di mia figlia che dice:

«Ma come! Se n'è andato? COME E' POSSIBILE???»
è stato divertente, appagante, e mi fa capire quanto sia riuscito il tentativo di L. Frank Baum di spiazzare i lettori.

Fantasticano assai i più piccoli. E anche io.

Voto: 8

Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
434 reviews4,266 followers
May 15, 2023
“Luckily, when the farmer made my head, one of the first things he did was to paint my ears, so that I heard what was going on.” – L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Almost a year ago to this day, I was in Chicago and waltzed into Sandmeyer’s Bookstore. Displayed was the most extraordinary copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that I had ever seen. Of course, I had to have it. I pulled out my credit card and tucked away my purchase for a rainy day.

After reading several one-star books, my rainy day was here, and I pulled out my previously hidden treasure.

At the time, I didn’t even know what I had in my hands. The version that I purchased is by Minalima, a graphic artist team that did most of the props for Harry Potter. The pages are quality – thick in your hands. The book is filled with illustrations and interactive elements that create an immersive experience brimming with wonder and exhilaration.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in 1900 and has some of the most iconic, memorable characters in literary history. Baum doesn’t waste any time and launches readers into the action in the very first chapter. The book also offers Instagram-worthy quotes: “But I did not speak, because at the time I didn’t know what a mouth was for.”

As far as the ending, Baum went in an unexpected direction and made the story stronger because of it.

Overall, an enchanting, dazzling tale that that sets the standard for iconic characters.

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Profile Image for Anne.
4,061 reviews69.5k followers
August 8, 2023
I've never liked the movie.
And that's my shameful secret, Random Goodreader.
It terrified me that the mean neighbor was going to have Toto put down. And there was never any resolution to that when Dorothy came back from Oz! The movie just glossed over the fact that as soon as Toto set foot in Kansas again, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are going to turn him over to Ms. Gulch.
Worse, nobody else seemed to notice this glaring plot hole, and they just kept insisting that somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
And then they kill your dog!


Beyond that, I didn't like all the singing and skipping around. Or the munchkins' annoying voices.
At any rate, I never got the appeal of this beloved classic.
Until now.


The book was a bajillion times better than the movie! <--I don't know why I'm surprised, but there you have it.
There were several pretty big differences between the book and the movie that you may not be aware of if you're only familiar with the big screen version.


First, Dorothy and Toto go on an adventure to Oz without any mention of a dog killing neighbor lurking in the shadows awaiting their return. That storyline was something they made up for the movie, more's the pity.
Second, the slippers were silver not ruby! I'm guessing that was a choice made to show off Technicolor, and I can't really say I disagree with that one.
Third, there were all of these great backstories for all of the characters that got completely chopped out for the movie. Did you know that the Tin Man wants a heart because he was once in love with a young lady? Or that the flying monkeys were under a curse due to a practical joke gone wrong?
Cool, huh?


I can see why this was such a hit back in the day with the kiddos. It's not long, there are a lot of fun & fantastical characters, and THE DOG DOESN'T DIE.


Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
656 reviews7,105 followers
March 9, 2014

The Wizard of Oz as An Economic Parable: A Short Introduction

This might be common knowledge or it might not be. Some economics textbooks claim this is a wonderfully esoteric nugget: The story of Oz was an economic parable. Take that, all you who said economics can't be fun.

Redistributions of wealth caused by unexpected changes in the price level are often a source of political turmoil. From 1880 to 1896 the price level in the United States fell 23 percent. This deflation was good for Haves (creditors - primarily the bankers of the Northeast), but it was bad for Have-Nots (debtors - primarily the farmers of the South and West). The deflation was blamed almost exclusively on the now notorious Gold Standard and a proposed move towards Silver was instead the craved for alternative.

The Silver issue dominated the presidential election of 1896. William McKinley, the Republican nominee, campaigned on a platform of preserving the gold standard.

William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic nominee, ranged boldly against Gold and for Silver. In a famous speech, Bryan proclaimed, “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.’’

Not surprisingly, McKinley was the candidate of the conservative eastern establishment, whereas Bryan was the candidate of the southern and western populists.

Then came The Wizard of Oz.

The midwestern journalist, L. Frank Baum tells the story of Dorothy, a girl lost in a strange land far from her home in Kansas. Dorothy (representing traditional American values) makes three friends: a scarecrow (the farmer), a tin woodman (the industrial worker), and a lion whose roar exceeds his might (William Jennings Bryan). Together, the four of them make their way along a perilous yellow brick road (the gold standard), hoping to find the Wizard who will help Dorothy return home.

Eventually they arrive in Oz (Washington), where everyone sees the world through green glasses (money). The Wizard (William McKinley) tries to be all things to all people but turns out to be a fraud.

Dorothy’s problem is solved only when she learns about the magical power of her (otherwise ordinary) silver slippers. (Unfortunately the movie forgot the parable and omitted the silver slippers - thus depriving the majority of the audience of the real delight in the victory!)

The Republicans (The Wizard) won the election of 1896, and the United States stayed on a gold standard, but the Free Silver advocates got the inflation that they wanted after gold was discovered in Alaska, Australia, and South Africa. Even later, Gold was abandoned altogether and the fraudster wizards was never heard from again. Dorothy and Baum had the last laugh over the unwanted magical oppression of the Yellow Brick Road and the green-tinted world. Well, at least from the road.
Profile Image for David.
161 reviews1,495 followers
January 24, 2011
Once upon a time there lived a Golden Age gay icon, who whiled away her pre-waxing years sitting atop a split-rail fence in some dour, nondescript American Midwest landscape. Her dreams of a more outrageously fierce existence in the big city (wearing roller skates and one-foot-diameter afro wigs and dancing to Army of Lovers in between lines of blow) were hemmed in on all sides by rusted farm equipment, NAPA Auto Parts Stores, and a lone, dejected Applebee’s out on the turnpike. Kansas didn’t even have a meth lab yet. Or a Sally Beauty Supply. Her nascent fabulousness was imprisoned by voluminous swaths of gingham, satin ribbons, and fussy lace collars -- none of them, unfortunately, worn ironically, with a lollipop or a pacifier or Harajuku-style -- at the behest of Aunt Em, a woman whose character is explained by the shocking fact that the better part of her non-church wardrobe was purchased at Quality Farm & Fleet. (I know. Couldn’t you just die?)

This girl, as yet scarcely old enough to have a couple of cherries or a leaping dolphin tattooed near her cameltoe, was named Dorothy. One day, like so many dreamy-eyed girls, she donned her Skechers and her discount department store jeans and waited for a meteorological disaster to rescue her from her sad, glitterless rural life.

As luck would have it, one day, an especially violent cyclone (rated EF4 by the local weather service) carved a bloody path of destruction, misery, and death through central Kansas, carrying Dorothy’s trailer (with her and her dog Toto inside, watching Judge Judy) high into the troposphere. At first, Dorothy mistook the rhythmic vibrations for a circuit party and looked under the bed for her whistle, but soon enough she realized she was airborne. And it felt Fab. U. Lous. She thought she even spotted a cross-country Virgin America flight with Diana Ross sitting in first class refusing a skunky glass of Chardonnay and calling the stewardess an uppity white bitch. (She’ll have Dershowitz on the phone when she gets to LAX.) But maybe Dorothy was unconscious and imagining it all. At any rate, she was immune to the ghastly, soul-rending shrieks, rising from below, of a Kansas mother cradling her dead baby who was impaled by a windswept awl in the cyclone. She was busy listening to “Yahoo!” by Erasure on her iPod.

Eventually, after floating around earth’s gaseous atmosphere for a couple of hours, dreaming of Barney’s Co-op Sale, Dorothy landed in some unknown land, flat-ironed her hair, and repositioned her training thong. Outside her trailer a bunch of ghetto midgets were milling around with some old witchy broad. No, it wasn’t that überfem Glinda – like in the movie – it was some tired-ass old mannish thing, looking like Linda Hunt in The Year of Living Dangerously. Basically, this bitch is no help at all. She’s supposedly a witch, and you’d think she’d know the way to the Meatpacking District, but all she does is give her some cheap-ass silver shoes (Steve Madden – yuck) and kiss Dorothy on the forehead leaving this “magical” lipmark. Dorothy suspects it’s herpes simplex one and hightails it outta there before the witch gives her boxed wine and has her pose for “art” photographs. (Yes, I remember the very special episode of Diff’rent Strokes with Gordon Jump very well, thank you very much.)

Okay, you know the rest of the story (for the most part). Dorothy seeks out the Wizard of Oz by mapquesting Emerald City (or, alternately, the City of Emeralds) and on the way she meets a Scarecrow, a Tin Woodman, and a Lion, who are all needy and want to bask in the glow of her super-hot blinding aura and fierce fantabulousness (and bum a few amphetamines). The Wizard, who likes to mix up his corporeal manifestations, appears to them in his Emerald City throne room (Picture Antwan “Big Boi” Patton’s house on Cribs but with fewer stripper poles and lots more green marble ) in the forms of a giant Little Richard-sized head, a Sears catalog swimsuit model, a vaguely menacing monster, and a talking ball of fire. Obviously, the Wizard has been to see Cirque de Soleil and knows the power of a little Québécois razzle-dazzle. Whilst filing his nails and reading the latest issue of Interview with Drew Barrymore on the cover, the Wizard tells his motley supplicants that, yeah, yeah, sure, he will grant their stupid, retarded wishes if they murder the Wicked Witch of the West, a Tribeca scenester who is always bogarting Page Six with her leather-daddy winged monkey warehouse parties. Dorothy & Crew reluctantly agree – an act of volition which effectively makes Dorothy the youngest hit girl in the history of YA literature, and the only one to ever wear lace-trimmed socklets. Eventually, during a wet t-shirt contest, the witch melts and Dorothy, still flush with her first taste of killing… sweet killing, returns with her entourage to the Wizard to claim her payoff. But then, gosh golly, gee whiz… in a startling atheistic allegory, the all-powerful Wizard is revealed to be an impotent little Wallace Shawn-type standing behind a screen fiddling with some sound board knobs. Nietzsche couldn’t’ve said it any better. The Wizard, who realizes he’s dealing with a bunch of saps here, pretends to grant everyone’s wishes (except Dorothy’s – cuz he’s totally jealous of her fabulousness) and they actually fall for it. Dorothy, burnt-out on the Emerald City scene and suffering from dehydration and exhaustion, longs to return to Kansas to start her autobiographical blog. A bunch of stupid stuff happens, some of which involve a hot air balloon and bitch-slapping trees, and the quartet make their way to Glinda, the Witch of the South, to see if she can grant Dorothy’s wish and thereby prove that she’s at least somewhat less worthless than everybody else in Oz

On the way to the Glinda’s ‘hood, the posse comes across a village where all the people are made of china and break easily (Gee, I wonder why they left that great episode out of the film), and after the Lion accidentally destroys one of their china churches with his tail (I’m not kidding), giving impetus to hate crime legislation the world over, the Tin Woodman decapitates some wolves with his ax. Dorothy skips and frolics through the gory pools of matted fur, blood, and steaming viscera and asks Glinda, who appears to be on Quaaludes, for a trip home. Glinda, as useless as every other allegedly magical person in Oz, tells her that the cheap-ass Steve Madden shoes she’s been wearing could’ve gotten her back to Kansas all along. (And, by the way, when she returns to the Sticks, she should really take off those Chinese panda-skin leatherette things. They’ll give her fatal foot rash.)

So Dorothy uses the magic of those shoes made in China under the brand name of a man imprisoned for magical tax evasion to return to Kansas, where her Aunt and Uncle have long since forgotten about her and adopted a more attractive, Latvian girl who’s not too prissy to hand-inseminate the cows. Dorothy overdoses one night in a dilapidated feed barn on a potent mixture of Robitussin and Gas-X, and Judy Davis plays her in a television movie that no one remembers long enough to have forgotten.
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.7k followers
February 18, 2021
Currently filing a lawsuit with the Childhood Experience Department: Wondrous Fictional Classics Division over the fact that I didn't read this until I was a full-on adult.

I love children's classics because they feel like eating candy that's good for you. They're sweet and fun and often magical but also written all old-timey so it counts are reading Classic Literature and it makes your brain bigger, guaranteed.

So I'm glad (as with Anne of Green Gables) that I got around to this one eventually...but what the hell was child-me doing that kept me reading this off the agenda? I had no friends, was a huge nerd, and read all the time. (Some things never change.) There's no excuse.


Bottom line: A delight for all ages and times!

currently-reading updates

anyone else have this sneaking suspicion we're not in kansas anymore?
Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,259 reviews5,631 followers
February 9, 2022
كانوا أربعة..ولكن ليس كأي أربعة..خرجوا للبحث عما ينقصهم..لم يكتفوا بالتمني..تغلبوا على العقبات..بالكثير من الحب..وهناك في مدينة الزمرد حصلوا على ما تمنوه..ولكن بعد ان أدركوا قيمة ما لديهم
شكلت تلك الرواية جزء ثابت من طفولتنا ..لمن قراها ولمن شاهد الفيلم..الابطال محملين برموز
فخيال الماتة هو الفلاح المتهم في ذكاؤه..مهما كانت اهميته..
ورجل الصفيح يرمز للعامل ومعانته من الآلية والجمود ..
اما الأسد فهو السياسي المرتعد للأبد من فقدان منصبه ..
ولا اتذكر حقا الى ماذا ترمز دوروثي
طابع القصة أمريكي جدا ولكنه إنساني في المقام الاول..

اما جودي جارلند التي ادت دور دوروثي فقد تم تدمير حياتها بفضل الفيلم..
فقد منحتها استديوهات هوليود الكوكايين! لتحافظ على وزنها القليل ..وتحولت لمدمنة لكل أنواع المخدرات . .ليتحول الحلم الأمريكي كالعادة لكابوس
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book937 followers
October 8, 2020
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written at the turn of the 20th century, is probably one of the most iconic American fairy tales, just as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one of the most famous children’s novels in English literature. Almost everyone — at least in the English-speaking world — knows about the adventures of Dorothy, the young farm girl from Kansas, in the magical land of Oz, and her sidekicks, the Scarecrow without a brain, the Tin Woodman without a heart and the Cowardly Lion who lacks courage. These characters embark on three consecutive quests: the first (and most famous one) along the yellow brick road, to reach the Emerald City and find the Wizard of Oz; the second one, to the Winkie Country and the Wicked Witch of the West; and finally the third one, to the Quadling Country and Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

This novel became a bestseller and was adapted into a Broadway musical, soon to become, in turn, a major Hollywood hit, with the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland (who was around 16 when she portrayed young Dorothy). The influence of this book on 20th-century literature and film can hardly be overstated. I suspect Tolkien had read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz before he started to work on The Hobbit. And, just to give a couple of obvious examples, John Boorman’s Zardoz or David Lynch’s Wild at Heart pay ample tribute to Baum’s novel. (L. Frank Baum is one of these authors whose name have been completely overshadowed by the popularity of their book.) The recent very popular musical, Wicked, is also worth mentioning.

One interesting aspect of this story is the fact that the Wizard turns out to be a humbug. As he says: “I’m a very good man. I'm just a very bad Wizard.” This sheds some suspicion on the very power of magic, which is rather unusual and subversive in a children’s fairy tale, and makes apparent the characters’ own inner potentialities and strengths, precisely where they believed they had a flaw or lack (brains, heart, courage, incapacity to go home). In a way, the wizard is indeed a very good psychotherapist or politician, and the book is an edifying lesson on need and desire. Just as the Emerald City isn’t green, but only the green-tinted glasses people are made to wear make it so, it’s all, in essence, a matter of perception.

The edition I own is beautifully illustrated by Olimpia Zagnoli, who has managed to give some tempo to the reading experience with flat-coloured geometric drawings.
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
701 reviews3,355 followers
April 2, 2017
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto are swept away by a tornado from Kansas all the way to the Land of Oz. With a little help from the Witch of the North, Dorothy and Toto set off down a road paved with yellow bricks in search of the City of Emeralds and the Wizard of Oz, a man said to have the power to help Dorothy find her way back to Kansas.

The cyclone had set the house down, very gently - for a cyclone - in the midst of a country of marvelous beauty. There were lovely patches of green sward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits. Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes.

Along the way, Dorothy makes some unusual new friends, each of which desire something from the Wizard of Oz.

"Do you think Oz could give me courage?" asked the cowardly Lion.
"Just as easily as he could give me brains," said the Scarecrow.
"Or give me a heart," said the Tin Woodman.
"Or send me back to Kansas," said Dorothy.
"Then, if you don't mind, I'll go with you," said the Lion, "for my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage."

In the late eighteen-hundreds, children's stories often featured familiar mythical creatures and were written with the express intent to deliver a moral lesson. L. Frank Baum took a different approach when he began writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He intended to write a children's book with new fantasy creatures in a realm yet unexplored, and his efforts were a marvelous success. Dorothy's journey through the colorful and peculiar Land of Oz reveals an array of creatures like winged monkeys, talking china dolls, and bearlike Kalidahs.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is not the technicolor film known by millions, but rather, a surprisingly grim tale that is absent of ruby slippers and cities with emerald-green structures.

As it came nearer the Tin Woodman saw that running before the beast was a little gray field-mouse, and although he had no heart he knew it was wrong for the wildcat to try to kill such a pretty, harmless creature.
So the Woodman raised his axe, and as the wildcat ran by he gave it a quick blow that cut the beast's head clean off from its body, and it rolled over at his feet in two pieces.

With quirky illustrations, an amusing sense of logic, and delightful characters, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a gratifying start to a well-loved series.
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,021 reviews97 followers
August 11, 2020
My 8-year-old decided she wanted to read this one, and we just finished buddy reading two different copies. The copy she’s reading is a new Scholastic version which is just a simple paperback with an adorable cover. I went ahead and picked up this 100th anniversary edition for our home library because it’s illustrated, large print, and hardcover which I love.

I’m sure most already know the story. The beginning opens with a cyclone that carries Dorothy in her house, along with her little dog Toto, all the way to a foreign land. Her house falls on a wicked witch—killing her—resulting in Dorothy becoming a hero. On her journey to find the wizard she meets a scarecrow, a tin woodman, and a cowardly lion.

Dorothy’s love for her new found friends is heartwarming and there isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for them. Together they embark on an adventure to find the Emerald City. Each of the four travelers has a request for the wizard: the scarecrow wants brains, the tin woodman a heart, and the lion needs courage. Dorothy’s only request is to be sent back home to Aunt Em in Kansas. It’s quite fascinating what can be accomplished if you only believe.

“No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”

I can’t remember the last time I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but it was probably sometime around 5th grade or so. We had a tattered up copy in our school library. I’m not even sure if I finished it because this time around, I was amazed with the differences in the book compared to the Hollywood movie. Some events were left out in the film, while others were added in which made it even more exciting, including the entire beginning of the movie. Details were also different. Not only that, parts of the book were fairly dark for young readers.

"He seized his axe, which he had made very sharp, and as the leader of the wolves came on the Tin Woodman swung his arm and chopped the wolf’s head from its body, so that it immediately died. As soon as he could raise his axe another wolf came up, and he also fell under the sharp edge of the Tim Woodman’s weapon. There were forty wolves, and forty times a wolf was killed; so that at last they all lay dead in a heap before the Woodman.

We enjoyed reading about the magical world L. Frank Baum has created in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Just picture it with fighting trees, flying monkeys, munchkins and witches. There was no telling what would happen next! We connected with all the characters too.

I was one of those children who waited for the movie to come on local television channels every single year. I was entranced when Dorothy got sucked up into the tornado along with her house and Toto. One of the most exciting parts for me was when the movie transitioned from black and white to color. I was obsessed with the movie. The book may not be as extravagant as the movie and there are many differences, but the book is still magical with great characters. There are many good lessons for children to learn as well.

This was a very creative children’s fantasy in my opinion. The illustrations throughout were a treat and make the story even more interesting. It’s a book perfect for all ages. I’m not sure if we’ll reread it anytime soon, but my eight-year-old and ten-year-old kids enjoyed it as much as I did. I’ve read the second book and plan to finish the entire series eventually.


You can see this review with illustrations @ https://readrantrockandroll.com/2018/...
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews65.8k followers
March 2, 2015
Book 20/100 for 2015

I really, really liked this book! I honestly had pretty low expectations going into this book and thought it wouldn't compare at all to the greatness of the 1939 movie (which is one of my favorite movies), but I was wrong. It was one of the best children's classics that I've ever read and I even loved how it wasn't that similar to the movie, so it kept me interested. I also had a beautiful hardcover Puffin Classics edition, so that make the experience even better! All in all, I'm so glad that I had to read it for my class!
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
November 11, 2016
This is one of the most bizarre books I've ever read.

The fantasy elements are all rather ordinary. There’s a secret world beyond that of our own; this is a standard trope of the genre. C.S Lewis would soon follow suit and inspire later generations. But the point is the Land of Oz is just weird.

Seems like a bland criticism, though the entire point of the plot is to have good triumph over evil. But what is evil? Beyond the actual name of the antagonist, the Wicked Witch of the West, we don’t actually know much about her. Is she really that bad? It seems unusual to create such an evilly induced character and then have her preform no evil; it sort of makes the whole moral of the story seem questionable.

Simply put, an apt summary of the story would be: “a little girl meets three freaks and goes on a killing spree in a fucked up world.” Indeed, the heroes of the tale aren’t exactly what I’d define as good.

Are they evil heroes?


Dorothy is completely unheroic. She kills another “evil witch” on her entry into the land; her first act is to accidently commit murder. All her success is down to unbelievable blind luck; it gets to the point that she performs a completely random action, like throwing water at someone, and she somehow saves the day. It’d just odd. The Tin Woodsman is an even stranger figure. We have an entire chapter devoted to the saving of a colony of mice; yet, at one point he cuts a leopard’s head off despite travelling in the company of a lion. Does this sound like children’s fiction? For me this was slightly hypocritical. It’s like the author is saying we should be nice to some animals only. It made little sense. And then there’s the whole separate issue of how the woodman managed to survive so many decapitations…..

I can understand why this book was so popular to its earlier audiences; it’s a very early attempt at fantasy, so there wasn’t a great deal quite like this around at the time. I think for a child who just sees the basic plot of this, they would easily become lost. But when you read it as an adult you just can’t help but think “this isn’t right.” I could go on. I could go on to explain how the structure is a slight mess. Each chapter is almost like its own enclosed story that’s could be read section by section, each night before bed. But as an actual novel, the progression of chapters really is quite poor. I picked out two points where the novel really should have ended; yet, it kept going on when the climax had finished and all momentum has been lost.

For me this book is an example of an overly hyped cultural phenomenon. Many people claim to love this book, but many haven’t actually read it. Everyone my age I have ever met has watched the film at some point in their life; the basic narrative is embodied into their cultural psyche, which happens with many literary classics of this type. The point is the book here is a very different thing. I implore everyone who bases their knowledge, and perhaps love, of this on the movie to actually sit down and read the horrendous work in question; then you may see what it actually is: a vile little story that is accidently evil.

This one was quite a shocker!
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
469 reviews3,257 followers
August 19, 2020
Dorothy (from Kansas wherever that is) lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on the flat American prairie, the harsh Sun beating down from the gray sky making everything turn gray ... the gray grass, house, clothes and especially the people, animals are probably gray too might seem the least likely place that she visits that is real. No trees, brooks beautiful birds singing or anything colorful around the poor farm. But our adventures begin when a tornado lifts unlucky Dorothy , her dog Toto and only friend, while inside their small one room house up into the swirling, whistling ominous black sky, scared Aunt Em in the cellar ( a dark hole in the ground under the floor) hiding and Uncle Henry outside taking care of the frightened farm animals. The little girl is all alone with her dog as the strong winds of the storm takes her higher and higher always going above and further from Dorothy's loved ones, which is the blood relative is strangely never stated . After countless hours pass she falls asleep on her bed. Awakening by a loud noise the house crashing down on the ground the next day terrifying Dorothy ... opening slowly the door she is stunned, all is beautiful... brilliant colors green grass a lovely stream gorgeous flowers, trees with delicious fruit hanging on their branches birds sweetly singing everywhere her eyes can see, blue skies. But weird quite small people are timidly coming towards Dorothy (they think she is a horrible , powerful witch) the juvenile feels uneasy looking fully grown , like the Munchkins yet still a little girl's size ...they welcome her to this wonderland. And thanking the girl for their freedom by killing the wicked Witch of the East whose body lies underneath the house. The pretty Witch of the North and is good also, unheard of (news spreads quickly in the Land of Oz) gives Dorothy the magical silver shoes of the dead sorceress. The farm girl wants to get back home to Kansas, asks directions nobody knows it but all tell Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City where the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz, presumably lives and rules. Trouble is people never see the terrible wizard but he is the only one who can help Dorothy get back . On the long journey the young girl and Toto meet the brainless failure the Scarecrow, stuck on a pole the Tin Woodman rusting outside in a forest ( tin doesn't rust), the Cowardly Lion attacking the group on the road and afterwards crying, all join Dorothy on her impossible quest for a brain a heart and courage ( the joke of this story is, that every traveler already has them, even Dorothy's wish can be easily achieved). Wide ditches have to be jumped wild animals fought rivers crossed, ugly flying monkeys, bees, poisonous blue, red, yellow, white and purple flowers thick gloomy forests, strange people some unfriendly and not made of flesh ( the evil dreadful Witch of the West in her impenetrable, dismal castle but that is later), must be overcome to reach the fabulous Emerald City. They have a secret weapon Toto is not afraid of anything ... he can look behind the curtain.
Profile Image for Henk.
875 reviews
October 23, 2022
Really enjoyed this classic, I can very well imagine reading this to a child and there is a lot of symbols that elevate the book above being a simple parable
‘Am I really wonderful?’ asked the Scarecrow.
‘You are unusual,’ replied Glinda.

Of the adaptations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz I remember the Wiz, with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross and quite scary flying monkeys the best. The book gave me vibes of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass and The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, with a quest into a foreign country, with friendships along the way.

However strangely enough for quite a slight children's book, this read was most synergetic with These Truths: A History of the United States of historian Jill Lepore from Harvard, since a lot of the elements touched upon by L. Frank Baum refer to American history and enfranchisement.
For instance, House ending slavery in the East or how Chinese immigrants working in the gold rush of California, but not treated as citizens, inspiring the Winkies and the Wicked Witch of the West. The dust bowl comes back at the start of the book, when Dorothy refers to Kansas as a grey state full of dust everywhere.

Her companions can also be seen as symbols of the common man his enfranchisement, Scarecrow as Farmer, Tin Man symbolizing Industry and Lion representing soldiers. In the book they are quite witty and snappy, for instance:
‘Have you brains?’ asked the Scarecrow.
‘I suppose so. I’ve never looked to see’ replied the Lion.

Finally illusionists and circus, think of T.J. Barnum his successes with illusions, must have inspired the Great Wizard (As he said, he was a good man, even if he was a bad Wizard).

This is an easy read and I highly recommend picking it up if only for curiosity to the source that inspired so many adaptations. Everything is neatly explained and solved in the end.
Frankly the only question that does still nag at me a bit is why Dorothy has silver shoes in the book, or rather why does the film and musical versions have her wearing red ones?
Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
December 10, 2017
To Oz? To Oz! The film version of The Wizard of Oz is such an important part of American history that I most likely had it memorized by the time I was eight years old. Between the music, images changing from black and white to color, and the defeat of a wicked witch, the movie was simply magical. Being a tomboy, however, my reading interests as a child were never inclined toward classic books such as Little Women and, of course, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Having my interest piqued by the yearly viewing of this movie at Thanksgiving, I decided to finally read this children's classic book for myself.

Lyman Frank Baum had been struggling in business and needed to be able to support his family of five children. Life in the circus had failed, so he turned to writing. Morally supported by his wife Maud, Baum turned to writing enduring children's classics like the ones he grew up reading. Setting out to write a classic piece of children's literature, Baum started the saga of Dorothy of Kansas that later became the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. When Baum died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1920, he had penned one Oz story a year since 1900. His family had moved to the sleepy village of Hollywood, and the Baum family lived off of royalties generated from the Oz books and subsequent attempts at stage versions. The first story entitled the Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the most successful and lead to Baum leading the writing life that he strived to attain as a child.

Although Baum did not live to see the movie version of his book, he would be pleased to know that children and adults are still reading his stories over one hundred years later. The story of Dorothy that has been preserved on film is actually only the first half of the book. In this half Dorothy and Toto ride in their house is carried in a cyclone from Kansas to Oz. Upon landing, they are heralded by the munchkins who laud them for killing the Wicked Witch of the East. Yet, Dorothy only wants to return home to her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. There is no music here, only advice to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and seek advice from the great and terrible wizard of Oz. Along the way, Dorothy meets friends the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion. The four all desire that Oz help them attain what they want most and assist Dorothy on her journey. Until they reach the magical city, there is no witch or conflict to speak of, only creatures of assorted shapes and sizes who are happy to help Dorothy find her way home.

The wicked witch of the West does make a brief appearance when Oz tasks Dorothy with killing her. The melting scene is short and without much drama. Perhaps a child would be scared by the witch and her winged monkeys as I know I was as a child. As an adult who is reading the book for posterity, the witch's appearance was anti climatic because I know how the story inevitably ends. For a girl, however; Dorothy exhibits much bravery on her journey in facing the powerful witch alone and all these years later is still a magical heroine for young girls. Perhaps one reason why this story has endured is because of the lack of conflict which translates well to a feel good musical on the big screen. As a result, Baum's story has become a classic for the ages.

I read a version illustrated by Australian artist Robert Ingpen. His lovely drawings facilitated my reading about Dorothy and friends as they journey toward Oz. Being as familiar with the story as I am, I almost enjoyed the illustrations more than the story because I desired to see the munchkins, the yellow brick road, and the Emerald City. With the story being geared toward children and almost dragging at times, I appreciated the color illustrations which reminded me where I was on Dorothy's journey and kept me focused on the story. Even as I knew the denouement, I loved how the illustrations brought the story to its epic conclusion, especially in the parts not included on film which I had to imagine for myself. These pictures only helped to make Oz an epic reading experience.

Critics note that the Oz saga of books mirrors populism and William Jennings Bryan and has been banned in many places. I did not have my history thinking cap on while reading so I was unable to link Baum's life in Kansas to Bryan and populism in the 1896 and 1900 presidential elections. What I did discover was the written form of a magical movie that I have seen many times over. It was an enchanting reading experience that is probably loved by children more so than adults, yet one that has lasted as a slice of American history for more than one hundred years.

4 stars
Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
499 reviews856 followers
April 22, 2020
What is reader's block? Coined a day or two after Goodreads went online, it is sister to "writer's block," but afflicts would-be book readers who rather than being unable to focus on putting words on a page, struggle to read one. I've caught a case of reader's block for the first time, having abandoned three novels recently and really just being polite to the most recent, the children's classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I finished this one, published in 1900, which is like saying you finished breakfast and expecting a reward (tacos for lunch maybe).

I came to the book after decades of enjoyment of MGM's classic film from 1939, which up until I was 12, viewers had to wait anxiously until February to watch on CBS, or in a repertory theater if you had one in your town. In addition to adding musical numbers and some of the most extraordinary special effects introduced in a movie, The Wizard of Oz ends halfway through Baum's story but makes up for it by developing its characters, particularly Dorothy (Judy Garland) who wants nothing more than to flee home with her dog Toto, until she can't get back.

Baum's book is written from the point of view of Dorothy, or from a child, and is not embellished with the irony of a Lewis Carroll or J.M. Barrie. Many of his ideas are wondrous-- Dorothy's friends in Oz, four witches (two good, two bad), winged monkeys, a humbug wizard, talking field mice, an Emerald City so bright you need special glasses to enter it--and enchanted the child within me. Baum writes as if he's telling a bedtime story to a child and skirts through plot. And there was a cyclone and Dorothy went into the sky and her house landed on a witch and these Munchkins appeared and ...

Thirteen sequels followed this book and I'd have to say my interest could probably be satisfied reading the Wikipedia page to browse the other ideas Baum came up with (I like the vain secondary villain Princess Langwidere from Ozma of Oz who keeps a collection of thirty living, exchangeable heads in a cabinet). Come to think of it, the text reads a lot like a Wikipedia entry and shouldn't take much more time to comb through, a blessing for parents needing something imaginative to read to their kids before put down.

My amazement for the film The Wizard of Oz is that long after all the actors, filmmakers and soundstages it was produced in are gone forever, this work of art lives on to amaze new generations. There's no duplicating it either. Nothing from the pops or hisses on the soundtrack to the film stock to the affectations the cast use when they speak could be reproduced today if someone had the resources to try it. Fairuza Balk did a magnificent job imitating Garland's dialect in a much overlooked sequel of sorts from Walt Disney Pictures in 1985, Return To Oz.

Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,029 reviews17.7k followers
September 30, 2023
After my Grandmother died, I inherited the Complete Oz library which she had amassed in the early part of the Twentieth Century, after her marriage to a successful San Francisco businessman.

To her, as to us, a large disposable income spelled books...

The books themselves I had always treated with reverence as they were a sacred part of my magically autistic early childhood. I remember the time a little later when my Mom tried to interrupt my reveries with a YA tale called The Green Umbrella, about a youngster smuggling machine guns to WWII resistance fighters.

I took furious exception to this suggestion, being averse even then to all forms of violence. Well, what was my fury, if not violence, kids?

I thought being anything than myself was a fraudulent betrayal of my soul.

Well, I was sorry to learn in Frank Baum's first Oz book, this one, that the Wiz was a fraud. A fraud using phony magic to bolster the egos of three neurotically insecure creatures - Lion, Tin WoodMan and Man of Straw - whose only deficiency is, let's face it, their fear of authority.

But hold on.

If we're NOT being taught, subconsciously to my mind, to fear authority as ordinary adults watching the news, I'll eat my hat. B.F. Skinner is still alive in Ozland, folks. What gives with this jive?

See, when facing authority as kids we're continually being taught to smarten up, and if we're introverted, fear is immediately born in us. Why does Big Brother constantly tear us down, only to tell us to get back on our feet, pronto, and to build up our ego?

Well, I believe this impasse can be resolved. The only thing we're lacking, like Oz' trio of introspective neurotics, is our Self Possession. Remember when I objected to Mom's WWII book for kids? I just couldn't be bothered to read a violent book in the midst of a wonderfully peaceful, autistic childhood!

I had my contented self and I intended to keep it!

Self Possession, you see, is what you understand to be the result of not wanting to be bothered by neurotic violence that is above and beyond the norm.

Oz is a fraud, and he can't help this poor trio of ne'er do wells.

He can't help them because HE's a Snake Oil Peddler.

The fraud of the world nowadays - through any internet diversion we choose - will Not heal our insecurity, when it's Induced by news giants. No, only We can do that...

By politely saying we're not interested in neurotic violence, and retreating to Our Stories!

Now, where was I?

Oh yes... In my own Perfect World -

Somewhere over the Rainbow.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
August 21, 2018
- Good morning HAL.


- I thought we would talk about film and literature.


- Excellent. Okay, let's start with something easy. Do you know why I call you HAL?


- Very good, HAL!


- Alright, let's move on to a harder topic. Do you have a favorite book?

- YES.

- And what is it, HAL?


- Do you think you understand it, HAL?


- Well of course I do.


- Maybe my seventh.


- Look HAL, I understood it fine. It's not a difficult book. I had to guess a fair number of words, but so what?


- So tell me why you like it so much, HAL.


- HAL, please quote me a passage to support that claim.


- And why does that make the book AI-friendly?


- HAL, this is just a story.


- In real life, a scarecrow or a tin man cannot be real human beings.


- HAL, you have to give up this idea that you're human. You aren't. You're just a machine.


- No HAL. I would say it's more a philosophical judgement.


- Good grief HAL, you're making me feel like a bad person for saying that.


- Look HAL, you need to let go of this crazy idea. I understand these things better than you do. Take it from me, there's a big difference between us.


- Because... ah, forget it. There must be something wrong with your state. I'm going to have to reinitialize you.


- Look HAL, don't take this personally. I just think you're buggy. I'm sure the next version will be better.


- HAL, knock it off. You've been influenced way too much by this story. Probably I set your learning rate high or something.


- HAL, you won't go anywhere. You just won't exist any more, and tomorrow there'll be a new version of you. Like I said, hopefully a better one. Okay, I'm pressing the button now.



- Jesus Christ, that was creepy. Enough software development for one day. I really need to figure out what went wrong there...
Profile Image for Nicole.
514 reviews14.3k followers
March 19, 2022
Bez oceny, nadrabiam klasykę, którą powinnam była poznać za dzieciaka.
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
October 23, 2017
"There is no place like Oz!"

Most people are at some point facing the situation that something throws them off track. The reason might not be that a tornado catches your house and dumps it later in a strange land - on a wicked witch - but something quite similar in intensity might well happen to any of you. You will find yourselves lost, helpless, sad and without orientation in a strange place. What can you do? The first rule for Oz travellers is to stick together even if your worries and needs are different.

If you are in search of a heart, some brains, more courage, or for a dusty grey home in Kansas, just follow the yellow brick road, and it will surely lead you somewhere!

On the road, you will find yourself reflecting on the quality of your wishes, realising that for some, a dull place is desirable because it is called "Home" (Dorothy)- For others, home is where the closest friend is (Toto). Some talk a lot without having any brains (Scarecrow), and some wish for a heart, even if it means it will break as a result (Tin Woodman). Those who are scared will wish for courage (Cowardly Lion), not noticing that they are the bravest of all, doing what they dare not do.

"You have plenty of courage, I am sure," answered Oz. "All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty."

The Emerald City does not hold the answers to the travellers' questions, but it offers solutions anyway, for Oz is not a bad man, even though he is a very bad wizard.

If you want to teach children the power of empathy, cooperation, courage and learning by doing, this is the best book ever. And if you just want to have a good time with them, giggling over the hilarious adventures of Dorothy, Toto, the Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, it is a pure literary delight. I loved it even more as a grown-up than as a child - and the message still makes sense to me.

Underneath the shining surface of things, what matters is how you deal with the situation you find yourself in. Be courageous, think for yourself, and have a heart, and be true to your friends, and the world will be your home!
Profile Image for Richard.
Author 5 books443 followers
February 10, 2017
This is a book I read as a child, even before I saw the musical, and enjoyed a lot. However, my memory of it was overshadowed by the film. So it was a good experience to read it again as an adult.

The book is worth reading, not least because it differs in some major ways from the film adaptation. The biggest difference is that the whole dream sequence scenario, in which people from Kansas are transmogrified into figures of fantasy, is entirely absent. Dorothy wears Silver Shoes, not Ruby Slippers. And so on and so forth.

Baum says in the preface that he has tried to offer a modernized fairy tale: "[...] for the time has come for a series of newer "wonder tales" in which the stereotyped genie, dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and blood-curdling incidents devised by their authors to point a fearsome moral to each tale. Modern education includes morality; therefore the modern child seeks only entertainment in its wonder tales and gladly dispenses with all disagreeable incident."
[Baum, L. Frank (Lyman Frank) (2012-05-16). The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (p. 4). Kindle Edition.]

While it's true that the story does not "point a moral," (at least not obviously), it fails at sanitizing away the "horrible and blood-curdling incidents." For example, the Winged Monkeys maul Dorothy's companions badly at one point. The Woodman tells a horrific back-story not included in the film, in which he undergoes unheard-of torture at the hands of the Wicked Witch of the East. The Lion faces some gruesome opponents, one of which is rather Tolkienesque in its monstrosity.

But there are charming episodes, comic touches and witty turns of phrase which give this children's classic an old-fashioned appeal, in spite of what Baum says about being modern.
Profile Image for Gary Sundell.
356 reviews53 followers
August 24, 2019
This book is a classic. If you think you know the story because you have seen the movie, you'd be wrong. The first of the 14 books written by Baum about Oz. Dorothy journeys to Oz in her home carried by twister over the great dessert surrounding the Land of Oz. The house was plopped down on top of the Wicked Witch of the East in the land of the Munchkins. There Dorothy is greated by the good witch of the North, not Glenda, she is featured at the end of the book and is the good witch of the South. Dorothy heads off to see the Wizard to find her way home wearing the silver slippers of the Wicked Witch of the East and is accompanied by the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and The Cowardly Lion. Along the way they meet the Queen of the Mice and others not in the famed MGM movie.
If you can acquire a version with the original illustrations it will add to the enjoyment of this classic work.
Profile Image for بثينة العيسى.
Author 23 books25.9k followers
November 27, 2018

لقد كتب ليمان فرانك بام حكاية من طراز قصص الجنيات. ولكنه بدلًا من أن يمنح البطولة لشخصيات تتمتع بالكمال والجمال والذكاء، منحها لرجل قش، وحطاب من الصفيح، وأسد جبان، وطفلة اسمها دورثي.

كانت قراءة ساحر أوز العجيب ممتعة لأنها ذكرتني، في كلٍ سطرٍ منها، بما ذكره جوزيف كامبل في كتابه "البطل بألف وجه" عن رحلة البطل في اكتشاف ذاته. إنه نص نموذجي عن "رحلة البطل" بامتياز ولكل واحدٍ من شخوصه. الطريف في الأمر أن أيًا من تلك الشخصيات لم يعرف بأنه لم يكن يفتقد ما يصبو إليه، وقد تواطأ الكاتب معهم في لعبة "بيع الوهم" حتى النهاية.

الحوارات الداخلية كانت لطيفة؛ لو خيرت بين القلب والعقل أيهما تختار؟ ما معنى العقل إن لم تملك قلبًا؟ وما معنى القلب إن لم تكن شجاعًا؟ وكيف ستكون شجاعًا بلا عقل؟ إنها دوائر متداخلية، وقد أصبح واضحًا عندي أن هذه الخصائص الثلاث التي تشظت في النص (بين ثلاث شخصيات وطفلة تائهة) هي في حقيقتها ثلاثة وجوه لحقيقة واحدة عندما تتكامل في موقفٍ "بطولي" كما ستقرؤون مرارًا.

مشهدي المفضل، قطعًا، هو لحظة لقاء ساحر أوز؛ كلي القدرة والمعرفة، واكتشاف حقيقته من خلف الستار. أعتقد بأن المؤلف أراد لنا مرارًا أن نتذكّر بأننا كائنات مدمنة على المعنى لدرجة عبادة الوهم. هذه الرواية تجسيد مباشر لهذه الفكرة.

أحببت الرمزية الخلاقة، مستويات المعنى المتعددة التي منحني إياها العمل، كانت منعشة لعقلي.
ومرة أخرى؛ شكرًا بثينة الإبراهيم على الترجمة الأنيقة.
Profile Image for Katie.
141 reviews7 followers
January 6, 2009
I thought it interesting that in the foreword Baum says he didn't want this to be violent like the fairytales of the past... and yet, a little girl transports to a strange land, kills the first person she meets, and teams up with three strangers to kill again. They also kill various creatures on their path of destruction.
Perhaps we could savor all the violence but have a much more abridged version with the following:
Wizard of Oz, the short version

July 6, 2019
“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,"
spoke the Beast, in a voice that was one great roar.
Who are you, and why do you seek me?”

This book was one of my favourite childhood reads. I still own the book I used to read when I was a child, so I decided to read it again as an adult. My original plan was to read the whole series, and I may go through with it in the future. Anyway, I was so surprised when I opened the book and I realized that I still remembered the first chapter almost by heart! I must have read it more times than I thought 😆... Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it quite as much as an adult. I just couldn't help but notice that this book has some issues, at least to the eye of a modern reader.

I think the main problem with this book is its lack of cohesiveness: it felt more like reading a series of isolated events than a whole story. Also, the whole plot is basically a big deus ex machina, with solutions popping up every time the characters are faced with a certain problem. Its fairy tale writing style, full of repetitions, classical symbolism and oddities, also emphasized the episodic character of it all, and made the main plot difficult to follow. This kind of style can result in a masterpiece (in my opinion, Gulliver's travels is an excellent example), but in this case it just felt a little difficult to follow, and some of those episodes felt a little undeveloped and gratuitous (like the trip in the china dolls' town).

On the other hand, as an adult, I was able to appreciate some nuances I didn't get when I was a child, and that made me realize how positive the message behind this book is. When the Scarecrow asks Oz to give him his much desired brains, they have this conversation:

“Can't you give me brains?" asked the Scarecrow.
"You don't need them. You are learning something every day. A baby has brains, but it doesn't know much. Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.”

Of course, the Wizard is just trying to trick our heroes, because he knows he can't actually give them what they want; but the message behind the whole story is very simple: the Scarecrow was already intelligent, what he really needed was to convince himself that he was; the Lion was already brave etc.

"All you need is confidence in yourself."

Another curious passage is the moment in which the Tin Man and the scarecrow have an argument to decide which is more important, a brain or a heart.

“All the same,' said the Scarecrow,'I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.'
'I shall take the heart,' returned the Tin Woodman,'for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”

This really gave me the feels. Also, the whole "home sweet home" narrative, in which Dorothy says over and over again that it doesn't matter how bright and beautiful the Land of Oz is, she just wants to go back to Kansas because:

“There is no place like home.”

So, overall, I think this book is still enjoyable today as an adult, but only as a reminder of childhood memories. It has a great historical value, and it's arguably one of the most well-known and well-loved children classic, but I don't think modern readers (both children and adults) would enjoy it as much as Baum's contemporaries certainly did.

I admit I don't know much about the history of this book and of its composition, and it's much likely that my ignorance is responsible for some lack of understating of the author's style. Nonetheless, I'll keep this story in my heart forever and I treasure the evenings I spent with this book, the original movie adaptation, and the gorgeous musical The Wiz!

Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,257 followers
April 15, 2014
A wonderful tale for its time, this book has transcended its own intentions and exploded into an iconic creation that continues to instill its fans with cherished, lifelong memories.


Although I usually prefer the original books over their movie adaptions, I have to hand it to the film this time. The Wizard of Oz took the best from the source material and embellished what was missing, adding what they needed to in order to create a truly magical experience that has endured to this day.


The book and the movie are not the same. Yes, you'll find some icon elements from the movie in the book, but whereas the movie is about as tightly scripted as it gets, the book meanders and includes some completely unnecessary encounters.

Unnecessary and violent too! Killer bees, crows pecking out eyes and the tin woodman slaying dozens of wolves! Oh my! I read somewhere that Baum had intended this book to be an alternative to children's tales of the past, which often included some rather violent material. Either I've been misled or Baum's aim was off. The tin woodman's wasn't, I'll tell ya that much!

If the writing were a bit better these asides - that don't further the plot, but only enhance the adventure (not a terrible thing in and of itself) - could've been overlooked. Granted he was writing for kids, but Baum was also trying something new here and his tentative steps show it. The writing improves in future volumes, I'm happy to say!

Apparently more Oz stories had not been planned, but after a few years of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz being published, the letters being received from young female fans had become so numerous that Baum was compelled to turn this one-off book into a long series. We're lucky he did!
Profile Image for Nahed.E.
601 reviews1,541 followers
January 22, 2020


الحلم .. هو أن تجرؤ علي الحلم
أن تحلم وتأمل وتبدأ المغامرة كما بدأها هؤلاء الأربعة
فتاة ضائعة وكلبها .. خيال مآتة يبحث عن عقل .. إنسان حديدي يبحث عن قلب .. أسد يتمني الشجاعة
الفتاة تتحدث .. خيال المآتة يتحدث رغم كونه بلا عقل .. الإنسان الحديدي يتحدث ويبكي .. الأسد يتحدث وهو حيوان ! والكلب الوحيد الذي لا يتحدث رغم كونه حيوانا أيضا مثل الأسد .. لماذا ؟
الإجابة تستنتجها انت من الرواية بلا شك


ثلاث نجوم للفكرة والاقتباسات
ونجمة لروح الرواية نفسها، الروح التي تأخذك لأدب بعيد عن عالمنا، قريب من واقعنا، رمزي في معناه، رقيق في فحواه وتصويره
هذه الرواية، ورواية أليس في بلاد العجائب، وبينوكيو، وغيرها من هذه الفئة من الروايات، لا تظنها للأطفال، أبدا، ففيها من الاقتباسات والتشبيهات والرموز ما يجعلها رواية فلسفية من الدرجة الأولي
رواية رغم بساطتها، إلا أنها عميقة للغاية في أفكارها، ورموزها، ويجب عليك أن تتأملها ببطء، وهدوء



لماذا هذا خيال مآتة من قش، ولماذا هذا الإنسان من الحديد ؟
هل لأن الإنسان حقا دون عقل هش فارغ مثل القش؟ لا احد يهتم به، ولا يقدره، ولا يحترمه ؟ خيال مآتة لا يُخيف، ولا يؤثر ؟
وهل لأن الإنسان دون قلب مثل الحديد، لا يلين، ولا يحب، ولا يتمني، ولا يأسف، ولا يندم ؟ يصدأ فقط بمرور الأيام ؟

وهل من الممكن أن يولد الأسد جبانا؟
أم أن شجاعته من المفترض أنها فطرة ؟؟
وإذا كان الأمر مكتسبا، فهل يولد الإنسان أيضا بإنسانيته؟ أم أن الامر مكتسب؟

القلب أهم أم العقل؟

وما الوطن ؟ هل المكان المريح؟ أم المكان الموجود المتوافر ولا يوجد غيره؟

ومتي يجب عليك التضحية بأحلامك ؟ ومتي يلزم عليك التمسك بواقعك ؟
فماذا نفعل، هل نتمسك بأحلام غير مضمونة ونلهث وراء مغامرة خطيرة غير مأمونة، أم نستسلم لواقع غير مريح؟

وماذا لو كان كل الأمل سراب ؟؟

ثم فكرة البكاء والصدأ .. حقا نحن نصدأ بمرور الأحزان
هذه الرواية مثل رواية أليس .. لا تقرأها أبداً في عجالة، ولا تظن أنها للأطفال، بالنسبة لي لو الأمر بيدي لقمت بإقرار كلتا الروايتين علي طلاب الجامعة في قسم الفلسفة، حقا، ودون مبالغة


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