Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - Review & Movie Comparison

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum

Summary: When young Dorothy and her dog Toto are caught in a cyclone, their Kansas farmhouse is carried off to the magical Land of Oz. Upon being told that the only way back is to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, home to the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy embarks on an extraordinary but perilous quest, in which the Wicked Witch of the West is constantly lurking around the corner.

With its unforgettable cast of now iconic characters such as the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was an instant hit when it was published over a century ago, inspiring numerous adaptations and sequels.
The edition: I've gushed about my love of Alma Books children's classics before, and this one was just as lovely as the others that I have. The cover design and the chapter illustrations are great. And I really love that the books include extra little things at the end -- in this one, it had a glossary and information about the characters and author and that sort of thing, which makes these ones ideal gifts for children (I'll be giving my niece this one now that I've read it).

Book to movie review/comparison: The Wizard of Oz, in spite of my ridiculous fear of the wicked witch (seriously, I still get genuinely freaked out by her), has always been one of my favourite movies but I hadn't read the book until recently. And, well, I liked the book...but it is one of those rare cases where the movie is so much better.

The story was cute and it was fast paced (although, it had a surprising amount of flippant killing in the story considering it was a children's book) but it did read very much like a short fairytale though. There's not much depth to the characters or character development and the world building only scrapes the surface... Maybe that's why it lends itself so well to all these retelling's.

It's the kind of story I wish I'd read as a child because I think I would have loved it whereas now it just feels a little bit lacking in spark and depth but it was a fun read.

The writing didn't impress me like I thought it would, because it turns out nearly all of my favourite things about The Wizard of Oz came from the mind of the movie's script writer... Most of the iconic lines weren't present in the book, or they were there but written differently (e.g. "There's no place like home." = only in the movie).

Basically, the movie is just better in general. It changes things, but in a good way -- it used elements of the book as building blocks then built it up into something greater. It cut things too, but when I read those scenes in the book I never found myself wishing they'd been in the movie because the story flowed better without them.

Overall ratings:

This edition: 5/5 stars
The story itself 3/5 stars
The movie: 5/5 stars


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