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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
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****The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum

Reviewed June 11, 2002 and November 3, 2001.
Books of Wonder, 1987.  Originally published in 1900.  267 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF BAU).

I have mentioned the Oz books before, but I had to bring them up again, since I just finished reading the first book to my boys at bedtime.  I had never read it to Timothy, and it was high time.

This book is a wonderful read-aloud, but I would actually recommend that you try it on your kids as early as 3 or 4 years old (if they are good listeners).  I hadn’t remembered that it’s a little better for a young audience, as it’s an old-fashioned style, and the author does talk down to his audience just a little bit.

Still, the book is great fun.  I like it that the adventure is not just a dream in the book.  L. Frank Baum was blessed with an amazing imagination, and there are many tidbits that don’t turn up in the movie.  I also highly recommend getting a Books of Wonder facsimile edition of the original 1900 publication.  We’ve had one for years, but this is the first time I read aloud out of it, and the illustrations are lavish.  The two-color pictures (on almost every page) change color in different parts of the book--blue when Dorothy is in the land of the Munchkins, red for the poppy field, yellow for the Winkies, green for the Emerald City, and so on.  There are also 24 full-color illustrations.  A beautiful book and a fabulous family reading experience.

Review from November 3, 2001:

I thought I knew the story of the Wizard of Oz from the movie.  I was surprised by the original, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum.  I read it as a child and loved it.  It goes deeper than the movie, has some differences, but is still great fun.  And it turns out that there are a total of 14 books written by him about the land of Oz, then countless more by other authors.  If you like reading aloud to kids, this series is one of my favorites for that.  You’ll marvel together over L. Frank Baum’s prodigious imagination.  

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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