by L. Frank Baum
"As Dorothy journeys down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, hoping the Great and Terrible Wizard who lives there will help her return home, she shares adventures with the famous trio of characters, defeats a wicked witch, and learns about the power of friendship, loyalty, and self-confidence." (From the back of the Barnes and Noble Classics edition.)
I grew up on the 1939 film version of L. Frank Baum's classic work, and it took me until now to get around to reading the original story. And The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is definitely worth reading. I was surprised at some of the differences between the book and its arguably more famous adaptation, but I was equally surprised at how much it was the same. It was simply a joy to read!
I chose the Barnes and Noble Classics edition, and the Introduction written by J.T. Barbarese was worth the purchase price all on its own. Some of the fun trivia I learned included "George Lucas has openly admitted the influence of the characters in The Wizard of Oz on his own [Star Wars] foursome of Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca." (Introduction Endnote 14, p. xxxii.) As obvious as it is in hindsight, I'm probably the last geek on earth to realize that connection, but there it is. :-) Peter and I had a lively discussion about who corresponded to the Tin Woodman and who to the Scarecrow, with Leia understood by us to be Dorothy and Chewbacca the Cowardly Lion. We decided Luke Skywalker was Scarecrow and Han Solo the Tin Man, because, in short, Luke was a lot smarter than even he gave himself credit for, and Han always tried to be the tough guy out only for himself (heartless, in other words) but he always ended up coming to the aid of his friends. And falling in love with Leia, of course! For a "heartless" guy, he may have been the most sentimental of the bunch.
Another question arose as Peter and I discussed The Wizard of Oz: If Dorothy had found out that her shoes could take her home after she met Scarecrow and company but before killing the witch so her friends' wishes could be granted, would she have stuck around to help them? I vote yes.
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!