The Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz Book Cover

Wizard of Oz Book Cover

L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz was published in 1900.  At the time, this was probably a landmark book because it probably would have been one of the few books that was written for children and incorporated fantasy elements.  At the same time, it probably garnered a lot of controversy because of these fantasy elements.

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are transported to the land of Oz in their house by a cyclone.  Dorothy’s house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East.  In order to get back home to Kansas, she must journey to the Emerald City.  Dorothy gets the late Wicked Witch’s silver slippers, and the Witch of the North kisses Dorothy upon her forehead.  Dorothy then begins the journey to Emerald City.

Along the way, she meets the scarecrow, the tin man, and the cowardly lion.  The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion each have their own story to share, and they all wish for something that they are apparently lacking in their lives.  The Scarecrow wishes for brains, the Tin Man a heart, and the Cowardly Lion courage.  The trio has to battle many adversaries on their way to the City, including the Kalidahs and a field of poppies.

Golden Cap

Golden Cap

Once there, Dorothy asks the great Oz for a way home, and the others ask for what they wish.  However, their success is postponed because Oz wants them to kill the Wicked Witch of the West.  He will not give them anything until they do.  So off they go to kill the Wicked Witch of the West.  This witch obviously doesn’t want to be killed.  She sends lots of things for Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion to deal with.  The Wicked Witch is unsuccessful in killing any of them, so she sends the flying monkeys after them using the Golden Cap.  However, the monkeys cannot kill Dorothy.  She bears the silver slippers, and she was kissed by the Witch of the North.  Therefore, the monkeys carry her to the Wicked Witch of the West.  The Wicked Witch of the West holds them captive until Dorothy melts her with water.  Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion set off for the Emerald City after having killed the witch, but not until Dorothy takes the magical Golden Cap.

Flying Monkeys

Flying Monkeys

The Winged Monkeys carry them to Oz because of the Golden Cap.  There, they ask Oz for their reward.  However, they discover that the “great” Oz is nothing more than a humbug who pretends to be all powerful so everyone else will think that he is a wizard.

Oz still gives them something that symbolizes what they desire.  He gives the Scarecrow pins and needles in his head to represent brains.  The Tin Man gets a small metal heart in his chest.  Finally, the Cowardly Lion drinks a potion that “gives” him courage.

Oz happened to be from Kansas also, and he came to the land using a balloon, so he agreed to take Dorothy with him back to Kansas.  He was leaving the Scarecrow in charge.  However, a mishap led Dorothy stranded and unable to go home.

Will Dorothy find her way back to Kansas?  What new adventures will Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion have?  You’ll have to read it in the Wizard of Oz.

Wizard of Oz Movie Poster

Wizard of Oz Movie Poster

I would say that the movie seemed to add a lot of scenes that weren’t in the book, such as the thing with Mrs. Gulch.  The movie also deleted a lot of scenes that were in the book, such as China country and the Kalidahs.  I’m not sure why this was done because both the book and movie seem to have the same amount of content.  It’s just different.  The movie really changed part of the plot from the original Wizard of Oz.  My theory is that the book was changed to be more of Dorothy’s dream.  In the movie, the mean Mrs. Gulch changes into the Wicked Witch of the West, and Dorothy kills her.  In the book, Dorothy wondered if the land of Oz was all a dream.  Perhaps Mrs. Gulch was added in the movie to make the plot seem more good vs. evil, and to show that Dorothy was dreaming up the land to defeat the wicked old lady in Kansas.  That seems like a big stretch though.

Because of the huge differences in the book and movie, I would recommend reading the book.  You should also check out a book/movie comparison of the Wizard of Oz at Jill’s Cabana Stories.  This blog provides many more details in regards to the differences between the book and the movie.  I give it 4 stars.


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