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!

Lezlie



Monday, November 30, 2009

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ

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.



21 comments:

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

I LOVE The Wizard of Oz and watch it all the time! I never knew about the George Lucas connection either, but then again I'm not a Star Wars fan!

Great post and I vote yes too, that Dorothy would've stayed to help them.

zetor said...

Haven't read the book but adore the movie.

bermudaonion said...

I have to admit that I've never seen the movie version all the way through because it's too scary for me! Maybe I should try the book.

Lezlie said...

Amy ~ Peter and I very recently rewatched all six Star Wars movies, so that particular factoid really struck home. With all the great info in that Introduction, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that's what I remember the most vividly. :-)

Zetor ~ I'd be willing to bet most people who have seen the movie have never read the book. And there's nothing wrong with that! But if you ever want to change that, I'll bet it would only take you a comfortable afternoon to get through.

Bermudaonion ~ The book isn't scary at all. In fact, here is a quote from Mr. Baum's own Introduction written in 1900: "It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares of left out."

Lezlie

Teddy Rose said...

I have never read the book. I remember in a discussion in high school that the Tinman in the book was called the Tin wood man.

I'll have to read it sometime.

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ That is true. In the book he is the Tin Woodman. And you even get to hear the story of how he came to be made of tin!

Lezlie

Meghan said...

After I stopped being scared of it (it was the flying monkeys according to my parents!) I quickly grew to love The Wizard of Oz but I too have never read the book. I should give it a try, now that I know you liked it!

Lezlie said...

Meghan ~ Those flying monkeys scared *a lot* of people! They're not nearly as frightening in the book. I say give the book a try! It's very fun!

Lezlie

Anna said...

I saw the movie for the first time last year. I know, I'm pretty lame. I hope to read the book at some point, too, but that could take me another few decades. LOL

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ It must be a completely different experience to see the movie for the first time as an adult. Did you enjoy it?

Lezlie

Anna said...

To be honest, I thought parts of it were boring. But I thought maybe it's because I'm an adult, and if I saw the movie as a child I would have been in awe. Overall, it was good, though.

I felt the same way about Mary Poppins, which I saw for the first time last year, too. LOL

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ I'm not surprised that it didn't have the same magic as an adult. I think most of us adults who still love to watch it are mostly fueled by nostalgia. However, when it's on TV at the same time as The Ten Commandments, Moses and Ramses will win every time at our house.

So let it be written, so let it be done. :-)

Lezlie

Andi said...

Sadly, I didn't love the original story as much as you did, but I still have a soft spot for both movie and book. I read a Graham Rawle's new illustrated edition at the beginning of this year that brought some new imagery to the book. Very cool!

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ After some of the other things I've been reading, I think the simplicity of The Wizard of Oz was a welcome change. That may account for part of how much I liked it. :-)

Lezlie

Rebecca Reid said...

I read a few of the Oz books when I was a kid. I should revisit them sometime...

I never made the Star Wars connection. But then, I haven't even seen all the movies!

Lezlie said...

Rebecca ~ I picked up the next three in the Oz series with an introduction written by Gregory Maguire. *That* should be interesting!

Lezlie

Nan said...

I remember Tom reading this to the kids, and thinking it was so much better than the movie. Even as a kid I didn't like it much - scary and weird, I thought.

Lezlie said...

Nan ~ The movie is definitely much darker and nastier than the book. Even the flying monkeys are not scary in the original story!

Lezlie

Ladytink_534 said...

I've read this twice over the years but I've been thinking of picking up the annontated version lately. There are also nearly 15 official books (more written by other authors I think) that continues this story.

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ I had the annotated edition in my hand just the other day! It looks great! Yes, there are two other authors who continued with the series after Baum. Have you read any of the books after WWoO?

Lezlie

Ladytink_534 said...

I've read The Marvelous Land of Oz and The Patchwork Girl of Oz when I was a kid but that was about as far as I got. I really ought to read the rest!