Ally’s #49: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum

Since I live a stone’s throw from the Wizard of Oz museum, I thought I’d give the original book a read. As much as I love the movie, I prefer the book for a few reasons.

First of all, I think the book is much more kid friendly, since you don’t have the potentially frightening visuals of the wicked witch and the flying monkeys. Secondly, the book is less exaggerated. The antagonists (the Wicked Witch of the West, the Wizard of Oz) are more easily defeated and Dorothy’s companions (Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion) are not as hopelessly fragile as they are portrayed in the movie. Thirdly, you are able to follow Dorothy and her entourage on more adventures as they journey to the Emerald City. For example, the Wicked Witch of the West does not call upon her troupe of flying monkeys to attack until she first sends a pack of 40 wolves to rip them to pieces, 40 crows to peck their eyes out, a swarm of black bees to sting them to death, and a dozen of her slaves armed with spears to destroy them (all efforts are unsuccessful).

I enjoyed seeing Dorothy and her friends bond and protect one another. It was also fun picking up on the author’s hints that the brains, heart, and courage that were supposedly lacking were,in fact, there all along. It was evident in the Scarecrow’s clever suggestions in the midst of challenging predicaments, the Tin Man’s tenderness towards any living creature that was not attempting to harm them, and the Lion’s willingness to repeatedly put himself in harms way.

After journeying to every corner of the Land of Oz seeking a way home, Dorothy finally learns that her silver shoes (not ruby slippers, like the film) could have taken her back to Kansas the moment she arrived in Oz. As desperate as she was to get back to her family, it was cool to see Dorothy grateful for her experience, as it was very profitable for her friends and for all the inhabitants of Oz. Dorothy disrupted that land in the best ways possible.

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