It is sad, I’ll admit, that a vociferous reader from Kansas, like myself, never got around to reading The Wizard of Oz as a child. I stated in a previous post though, I hate reading the book after watching the movie. I grew up with Judy Garland’s Dorothy, as many of us did. No excuses. I should have read it. Now, I’m glad I did.
Looking back, my younger self would have enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it as an adult, but it would have been a different type of enjoyment reading it as a child. Of course, I compared everything with the movie version. It has been quite a while since I’ve seen the movie though, and I found myself questioning even those events.
Baum makes note in the introduction to the book that he wrote this purely to entertain children. He states that “modern education includes morality” so his purpose was to only please the children with new “wonder tales”. There are many things that could be debated about this statement, but keep in mind that he wrote this letter of introduction in 1900. However, in the book, as with the movie, I don’t think he was able to accomplish his goal of simple entertainment. There are still lessons to be learned in this tale about courage, heart, and kindness. He wanted to leave out the disagreeable heart ache and sadness from classic tales like Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood. However, I remember being upset during scenes in the movie, and I can imagine as a child becoming upset about certain events in the book as well. There could probably be a whole series of posts on whether Baum actually accomplished this goal of a modern fairy tale in which “the heartaches and nightmares are left out.”
Speaking of nightmares, there is no mention of the witch being green in the book. Seriously! I mean, given the popularity of the musical Wicked you would think this would be one thing that was true in the original story. I’m not exactly sure why you would think that, but you do. Don’t you? I did.
It was fun discovering the things that they changed or left out in the movie. For example, the slippers were not ruby red in the book, they were silver. Why was the color changed in the movie? Apparently to take advantage of the newly developed Technicolor process. Makes sense. Red is a little flashier anyway. Also, in the book Glinda (the good witch) only makes one appearance at the beginning. The good witch of the south is the one that sends her home with her slippers.
Differences aside, I really enjoyed the book, and the movie is still a great one. Both are worth checking out. What would be even better is reading and watching them with someone with whom you could discuss them afterward.
A few months ago I asked some dear friends of mine who work in education to contribute guest posts to my blog over the summer. They politely acted enthusiastic about the idea, although I’m sure they were inwardly sighing and rolling their eyes. However, my friends are wonderful intelligent people, and I knew that they had some great information and insight to share about reading, literacy, education, and life in general.
All three of these women have worked in education for years. They’ve seen the rise and fall of many educational trends. Having worked with and collaborated with each of them, both on a professional and a personal level, I know they have much wisdom to share. I’ve encouraged them to write about whatever they want. We may get a post about an author or novel. They may decide to share insight on current educational trends, or how to get reluctant teenagers to read. Whatever they write about, it will be well worth your time to check it out.
The first of these posts will be from Shelley Baublits, a former business teacher turned librarian. Look forward to Shelley’s guest post next Thursday.