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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Until I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz I pretty much thought the version starring the adorable Judy Garland was how the story went. Boy was I wrong! Being the towering pillar of immaturity I am, I tend to really get into children's books and even some teen books.  This was no exception. Wonderfully written, this story rich and vibrant enough to keep you enthralled while still being light and airy enough that you don't fill like your brain is getting heavy- like a good chocolate mousse. Since I do most of my reading before bed, it is easy for me to get caught up in a book and stay up after reading it while my brain runs in circles and tried to dissect the story/plot/information that it was just fed. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz didn't have that effect on me. Instead it gave me the simple joy of being a part of the the land of Oz, and the whole time I read the story I felt like a kids again. Something in the experience made me feel like I was wrapped in a fuzzy blanket drinking hot cocoa by a fireplace- warm, comfortable, relaxed.

Long story short:
Most of us know the basic story- Little girl (Dorothy) from Kansas lives with her aunt and uncle, and when a cyclone hits she doesn't make it into the cellar and is swept up into the storm, house and all, with her little dog Toto. House lands on a witch in a weird place called Oz, Dorothy gets some shiny new shoes, and sets out to find a wizard who can help her get home, with the people of Oz bidding her good luck and best wishes because they're thrilled that the witch got squished. Dorothy is told that she can follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City where the Wizard of Oz lives, and along her journey she befriends a living scarecrow who wants a brain, a rusted tin man who wants a heart, and a cowardly lion who wants some courage. They face some perils, meet the wizard (who send them off to have an altercation with the Wicked Witch of the West), kill the other witch, come back to the wizard (who turns out to be a man from the Midwestern US) and he gives Dorothy's friends some random crap that's supposed to represent the things they were looking for. Meanwhile, he promises Dorothy that he will take her home in a hot air balloon because it is the only way to cross the desert that surrounds Oz. Hot air balloon is made, but it takes off by accident without Dorothy. Dorothy gets upset, meets with a good witch, and the good witch tells her that the shiny shoes are magic and can bring her home. Dorothy uses the shoes, everyone lives happily ever after.

However... the book is a lot different from the movie I knew and loved as a child. Here's how the book and movie differ:

In the book, the shoes are silver, not ruby

The perils that Dorothy and her friends encounter on their journey are geographical and have nothing to do with the Wicked Witch of the West- the witch has a MUCH larger part in the movie than in the book

Dorothy is sent to kill the Witch of the West, not just collect her broom

There are whole races of people encountered in the book that do not get mentioned in the movie

Dorothy doesn't meet the Witch of the West until she is sent to go kill her

The book goes into much more detail about the Wizard in general- describing his city, how he got there,  and how and why he deceived the people of Oz

When Dorothy first lands in Oz, the meets the witch of the North- Glinda is the witch of the South

When Dorothy arrives home, she wasn't dreaming- she was actually gone.

There's a lot of other little differences, and a lot of things that are left out of the movie altogether. All-in-all, this was a very enjoyable read, and I plan on reading it to my children.

To keep with the theme of gratitude this month, here's some things I'm grateful for: My health, and the health of my family. A friend of mine recently had a major aneurysm and could have very easily died. She's in the hospital recovering, going through physical therapy, and her chances of living and recovering are good.

I'm also grateful for my little girls. They drive me crazy, but I couldn't live without them. My youngest walked for the first time yesterday, and it was very bittersweet because she is my last baby. I need to make it a point to not get caught up in the things I want to get done each day so I don't forget to play with my girls. REALLY play with them. Dads shouldn't get to have all the fun!


  1. I think I read that originally the movie planned on using silver slippers, but Louis B. Mayer happened to see them and said they weren't bright enough! Use Red! Hence the rubies.

  2. PS: Glad your friend will be ok. How scary.