Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy, a young girl, lives a quiet life in Kansas with her uncle, aunt and dog Toto. One day a terrible cyclone grabs hold of the house and whisks it far away into the Land of Oz, where magic is real. All Dorothy wants is to return home safely but the only person who could help her is the Wizard of Oz. It’s a long way to him but without another choice Dorothy sets off along the yellow brick road, unaware of the perils and joys of the journey ahead.

wizardofoz

Upon arriving in the Land of Oz, Dorothy’s house accidentally landed on the Wicked Witch of the East and killed her. The munchkins who had served the witch for ages are grateful to have been set free and even the Good Witch of the North herself is there to thank Dorothy and gift her the Silver Shoes that once belonged to the Wicked Witch. The Good Witch tells the little girl about the great and powerful Wizard of Oz and points her to the right direction. The Good Witch then kisses Dorothy on the forehead, granting her magical protection, and leaves.

Dorothy and Toto head down the yellow brick road where they come across the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. They all wish for something so they decide to head for the Emerald City together, each hoping the wizard will be able to grant their wish. But even if they make it to the big city, is granting their wishes really going to be as simple as they think?

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in 1900 but it’s still a popular story with many, many adaptations. I’d only seen one movie before tackling this book and my memories were quite vague, so for the most part everything in the story was new to me.

It’s a children’s book, which means the plot isn’t overly complex and the characters mainly have one or two traits to define them, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Dorothy was a sweet little girl (although she did commit a few not-so-sweet acts, accidentally or not) and her companions were a fun bunch.

The story has a very light tone despite Dorothy being lost in another world where the inhabitants are ruled over by evil witches. It’s also quite a short read so it’s perfect for reading with children (or for older people — like me — to enjoy while sitting in a bus).

There wasn’t much description or backstory, though. The story is all about good and/vs. evil, but we don’t get to witness much of the evilness of the witches. Many things simply happen by luck or coincidence, which can be off-putting to some. But since the story is aimed at the younger audience, I can let it pass.

I’d recommend this for almost everyone who likes fantasy and haven’t yet given it a chance. It’s a classic and very short, so it won’t take too much of your time. If you end up liking it, you can move on to the next books in the series.

∗3/5∗

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