I while ago I was asked to nominate a children’s classic pre 1964 that I loved for a feature and write a paragraph on why I was nominating that particular book. I was very excited and wrote a little more than a paragraph on my chosen book….
The Wizard Of Oz by L.Frank Baum
or as it was originally called The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz!
I adore this book so much that I wanted to share this with you and show you my reasons for nominating this book at the time!
Its hard to believe that this book was first published in the year 1900! That fact alone blows my mind slightly….115 years ago! Wow! This book has really stood the test of time and is still a much loved classic today in 2015! I read somewhere once that by 1938, over one million copies of the book (pre film) had been printed and by 1956, the sales of The Wizard Of Oz novel grew to 3 million copies in print!
I like to think that EVERYONE knows the story of Dorothy, Oz, The Emerald City, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman and the Lion, and had been scared by the Wicked Witch of the West or the flying monkeys but maybe more so through the film and not the book? The book for me takes the land of Oz to a whole new level of awesome and adventure!
If you don’t know the story of The Wizard Of Oz it is the story of Dorothy who when a tornado strikes and whisks her and her little dog Toto away to another world, a magical world but makes an enemy in the Wicked Witch of the West when her house lands on and kills her sister the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy learns that to get home she must find the Wizard in the Emerald City. On her way she makes friends with a scarecrow, a tin woodman and a cowardly lion, but will the Wicked Witch of the West ever let Dorothy see Kansas, her home, again?
As a child I grew up with The Wizard Of Oz! My Mom used to read it too me when I was little and I used to drift off and dream of the land of Oz! This is where my love of this book really was established! When I was old enough I was introduced to the 1939 film adaptation with Judy Garland…with added songs (Over The Rainbow is still phenomenal to this day) and what as I grew older realised were amazing special effects and use of Technicolor for it’s day I was again transported to the wonderful land of Oz!
But there were written changes made in the film to that of the book…for example
* Dorothy has silver shoes in the book not ruby slippers!
* Dorothy is a stronger female lead in the book than in the film. A loyal, determined girl (who’s age is never specified in the book) is less damsel in distress like the film portrayed and more the rescuer of her friends rather than them helping her!
* In the book Oz is NOT a dream it’s a real place!
* There are a few more places visited in Oz in the book than in the film like Winkie Country who ask the Tin Woodman to be their ruler and Quadling Country and the china people live (similar to in the other recent film OZ)
* If you have only ever seen the film you will be surprised to find no Professor Marvel, Mrs Gulch or the three farm hands Hunk, Hickory and Zeke in the book! Yes that’s right these were added into the film!
And just to affirm the awesomeness of this book…..for a time it was banned in libraries for several years as is it was considered not to be quality children’s literature and was seen as controversial!
SAY WHAT NOW?!?
But BANNED = AWESOME in my eyes! Like when a film gets banned and it makes you WANT to watch it rather than avoid it! lol
L Frank Baum wrote many sequels to The Wizard Of Oz…The Marvellous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Tik Tok of Oz, The Scarecrow of Oz, Rinkitink in Oz, The Lost Princess of Oz, The Tin Woodman of Oz, The Magic of Oz Glinda of Oz andThe Royal Book of Oz and the Oz legend lives on through films (The Wizard Of Oz, The Return to Oz, Oz) and theatre productions like Wicked and many stage productions in schools and theatres around the world of The Wizard Of Oz. How many books can you say have that much inspiration and history 115 years after it was first published? There has also been other modern day books inspired by The Wizard Of Oz…most notably Gregory Maguires Wicked series and Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise!
If you have never read the book, but know the film there are adventures of Dorothy that are awaiting to be discovered and you will fall in love with Oz and all of it’s characters.
This book for me has stood the test of time even after all of these years and captures children’s and adults imaginations everywhere and teaches lessons in friendship, bravery, courage and most of all that there is no place like home!
*dons silver shoes and walks off stage satisfied*
This post was originally posted by me in the Bookish Peeps Forum – here
So if you had to choose a Children’s Classic to champion what would it be and why? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !