Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum

First published at 1900, 272 pages.
I never read this famous children book before. I have seen the movie of course, and saw some adaptations. My daughter participated in two different stage adaptations in her short acting career. After I bought my kindle, I found out that lots of classics can be downloaded for free because their copyright has expired. I started filling out the gaps I had in classics. I downloaded this book from feedbooks:
And now to the book itself. I saw the movie a very long time ago and didn’t remember very well what happened there, so I knew something about the plot but didn’t remember the details. It is the story of Dorothy, a child who lives with her uncle and aunt in a farm in Kansas. One day a big cyclone (probably a tornado) carries her to a far away and strange land. She tries to find a way to come back home, and on her way meets some very strange creatures. Some of them become her good friends who go with her through all the adventures and dangers.
I can see why there are so many visual adaptations to the story. It is so visual, full of wonderful descriptions of sites, views, people and creatures, cloth, buildings, gems and colors.
On the other hand I felt that it is still worth reading the book because there is a lot more in it than can be represented in a musical. Some true questions of good and bad; What is courage and can someone that feels fear can be courageous? Or maybe he is the only one can truly be called that way? Can a brain be of use without experience? Can we stop believing in something we thought true for so long, even when we find out that it is not? What is a true magic? I enjoyed a lot to read about these issues, in a light children-book way. I was also warmed by the goodness that flowed everywhere in this book. There were almost no bad people, except for the wicked witch of course, and a few exceptions here and there. I don’t remember how it was in the original movie, but in the adaptations I saw lately this warm feeling of goodness was gone.
I recommend the book to anyone who missed it as a child. It is worth reading even for those who saw the movie and know the plot already. There is much more in the book.

This book is not there yet, but many other books can be found in My Virtual Library.
You can buy this book from Amazon. If you buy it from the following link, I may get a small fee.