Over the past couple of months, I’ve really been making an effort to spend more time reading the books that I’ve owned for years, but have never read. Between my physical shelves and my digital ones, I’ve had quite a few titles to choose from. One of the books that I decided to read toward the end of April was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz tells the story of Dorothy Gale, a young girl from Kansas who finds herself in a strange land called Oz, after her family’s farmhouse is carried away by a tornado. Her arrival in Oz is a cause for celebration, as the farmhouse landed on (and killed) the Wicked Witch of the East, but Dorothy wants nothing more than to return to her home.
With the blessing of the Good Witch of the North, and a brand new pair of silver shoes, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, begin their journey along the road of yellow bricks to the Emerald City, located at the center of the Land of Oz.
Along the way, she becomes friends with a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion. They each agree to travel with her to the Emerald City in the hope that the Wizard can be persuaded to help them with their own problems. The Scarecrow intends to ask the Wizard for a brain, while the Tin Man wants a heart. The Cowardly Lion is hoping that the Wizard will give him some courage. And, of course, Dorothy plans to ask the Wizard for his help in returning home to Kansas.
Though I have seen the 1939 film adaptation many times, this was the first time I’d actually read Baum’s original novel. I absolutely loved it! The story is very fast-paced and fun to read, and filled with wonderful characters. I had a very hard time putting the book down, and I definitely want to read the rest of the series in the future.
I found it interesting that in the introduction to the novel, Baum writes that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz “aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.” After having read the book for myself, I feel confident in saying that Baum’s story fully realizes this ambition…because when I finished reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I was left thinking what a lovely story it was.
Whether you’re a fan of the film adaptation, or just looking for a fun story to read (either by yourself or as a family), I highly recommend taking the time to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. If you do have the opportunity to read it for yourself, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.