#40 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

25 Jan

Welcome to WIZARD OF OZ WEEK! Yesterday, I shared with you my personal experience with the Wizard of Oz and a little bit about my hometown.  As promised, today I wanted to take a moment to highlight the book that inspired all of this hoopla.

L. Frank Baum wrote the novel as a children’s fairy tale or fantasy, and that it certainly is.  This book is actually just the beginning of the Oz phenomenon, as the author continued on to write 14 (I think) more novels about the land of Oz and its inhabitants.  In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, we meet Dorothy, deposited in a fantasy land by a tornado, and determined to just reach home.  Along her way, she makes some new friends in the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, all in search of some “thing” they don’t believe they possess.  Through encounters with field mice, poppies, and winged monkeys, they find themselves in the Emerald City in hopes of meeting the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz.

This novel is a great one and a classic for a reason.  Put this in the hands of any young (or old) readers who love fantasy and fairy tales.  However, I did want to highlight a few paragraphs written by the author himself:

Folk lore, legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly unreal.  The winged fairies of Grimm and Andersen have brought more happiness to childish hearts than all other human creations.

Yet the old-time fairy tale, having served for generations, may now be classed as “historical” in the children’s library; for the time has come for a series of newer “wonder tales” in which the stereotyped genie, dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and bloodcurdling incident devised by their authors to point a fearsome moral to each tale.  Modern education includes morality; therefore the modern child seeks only entertainment in its wonder-tales and gladly dispenses with all disagreeable incident.

Having this thought in mind, the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was written solely to pleasure children of today.  It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heart-aches and nightmares are left out.”

Keep in mind that L. Frank Baum wrote this in 1900.  I think he had the right idea, how about you?

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum

Originally published in 1900

1 Comment

Posted by on January 25, 2011 in top 100 children's books


One response to “#40 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  1. James C. Wallace II

    January 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I wonder if you’ve taken the opportunity to read Baum’s other 13 books about Oz? They are a wonderful series with loads of adventures and lots of strange and unique things.


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