American author L. Frank Baum wrote a simple story about a magical land for his sons, but always intended for it to be for the mass public. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) has remained a very popular and influential book to the world.
Dorothy is an orphaned girl who is raised her aunt and uncle in the colorless fields of Kansas, her only friend is her dog Toto. One day, the farmhouse she lives in is picked up by a cyclone and they girl finds herself in Munchkin Country, the eastern quadrant of the Land of Oz. Apparently she has killed the Wicked Witch of the East, the evil ruler of Munchkins.
Dorothy meets the Good Witch of the North, who gives her the shoes the dead witch was wearing, these shoes have magical powers and are silver as opposed to the ruby slippers depicted in the 1936 film. She sets Dorothy on a quest to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz to help her get home.
While walking down the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, the three odd characters are all lacking something important, a brain, a heart and courage respectively. They team up and journey together to the Emerald City.
When they reach the city, the wizard appears in a different guise to each of them and promised them their wishes if they kill the Wicked Witch of the West.
The film of this book lacks many characters that appear in the pages, such as the mice, the Winkies, the Golden Cap and the fact that the Wicked Witch only has one eye. Dorothy’s journey doesn’t simply end with killing the Witch and then missing the hot air balloon with the Wizard. She continues to the palace of the Good Witch of the South. It is here she discovers the power of the Silver shoes.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was followed by thirteen books. They are The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904), Ozma of Oz (1907), Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908), The Road to Oz (1909), The Emerald City of Oz (1910), The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913), Tik-Tok of Oz (1914), The Scarecrow of Oz (1915), Rinktink of Oz (1916), The Lost Princess of Oz (1917), The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918), The Magic of Oz (1919) and finally Glinda of Oz (1920).
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the fourth book in Children’s Classics month.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz can be found in your local library, the website for the Bergen County Cooperative Library System can be found here or at your local Barnes and Noble in Hackensack.
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