The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more. That is exactly what I thought while reading this children’s classic. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the victim of a strange phenomenon. The movie version is such a part of the American psyche that the book is forgotten. Anyone who picked up the book expecting the Technicolor land of Oz with its ruby slippers and candy colored characters is in for a surprise.

I liked this book despite this, and maybe even because of this. After reading the book, I know why Hollywood of the 1930s couldn’t produce the book as it was. So much of the special effects would have been impossible. The city of china with its china residents would have been great fun to see, but impossible to shoot. The hammerheads would have been excellent as well, but would be restrictive due to the same issues.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz reads exactly like what it is, a fairy tale. Truly, it is the great American fairy tale. It’s a story that has a moral for everyone who reads it, whether it’s “there’s no place like home” or you already had it in you (brains, heart, or courage). The thing that shocked me the most about the story was the level of non-gory gore. The Tin Woodsman is dismembered on several occasions replacing his missing limbs with tin replacements. He also does a fair amount decapitation of the villains. There is at one point a pile of headless wolves. The Scarecrow gets in on this action as well. He twists the necks of a murder of crows. If that had mad it into the film, we would have a completely different take on the classic.

The last thing is it was never a dream. In the book, Dorothy was really carried off to a distant land. I assume that it’s somewhere near Narnia not too far from Wonderland.

Somehow I made all the way to 36 without ever reading this book. I really missed out.

Darkly,

Vic Kerry.

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