My whole childhood has been a lie. Reagan, did you know??
Anyway, let me try to reel in the melodrama long enough to recap The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This beloved children's novel was written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow, and it was first published in 1900. (Also, completely random fun fact: I had to double-check myself with century timelines because I use century tags in my recaps, in case you hadn't noticed. The new century doesn't begin until the first year of the new millennium. i.e. The 19th Century was from 1801-1900; the 20th Century was from 1901-2000, et cetera et cetera. Get it? Too off the point? Right: back to the recap.) My particular edition of this classic was published in 2013 by Barnes & Noble and includes the charming original illustrations by W. W. Denslow. Except for the misleading RUBY RED SLIPPERS on the cover of the book (no, I will never get over it), it is one of the sweetest books you ever did see. (This was one of the pretty Barnes & Noble classics my hubby gave me on my birthday in 2016.) The novel is one of the best-known in all of American literature, and the Library of Congress has even declared it "America's greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale". After (finally) having read it for myself, I would wholeheartedly agree. I loved it.
Baum's intention with The Wizard of Oz was to write an updated fairytale avoiding the traditional stereotypical characters you'd find in the fairytales of Grimm or Anderson (like genies and dwarfs) and removing the association of violence and moral teachings. He also intentionally omitted any emphasis on romance believing that romantic love was uninteresting and largely incomprehensible for children. His introduction to The Wizard of Oz (which, to be honest, was a little off-putting for me) is often cited as the beginnings of the sanitization of children's stories. However, as I read I came to realize that while he did do away with a harsh moral lesson, he did so without actually doing away with all morals.
I'm sorry if you've somehow never seen the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, but I cannot possibly write this recap without referencing it. My brother wore it out when we were little (to the point that the rest of us got pretty sick of Oz for a while), and I was pretty much holding the book up in comparison to it throughout my reading of it. I have to say, I will always love that movie and it mostly did a good job of maintaining the integrity of the book....
....except for those ruby red slippers, y'all. *sob* (Are you so over this? Too bad. We will never be done with it.)
Obviously, as is the case with nearly every book/movie adaptation comparison, the book is more fully developed and provides more background than the movie can. Elements of the book that I dearly loved which the movie excluded were the Good Witch of the North's kiss of protection, the field mice who helped save the Cowardly Lion from the poppies, the REAL story of the flying monkeys, and the dainty china country.
I also loved how the Power of Good was always stronger than the Power of Evil and that loyalty was portrayed as a natural and unquestionable byproduct of friendship. It never even occurred to the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion not to stick with Dorothy until she could find her way back to Kansas, even after their deepest desires were granted them and they each became rulers of their own kingdoms. They stayed with their little friend until her wish was fulfilled as well, even risking danger and their kingdoms to do it.
And my favorite character of all? Toto. Hands down. I will always fall in love with a faithful little dog, and Toto won my heart from the very beginning. He was the linchpin, y'all.
To sum it up, I absolutely loved The Wizard of Oz and would unreservedly recommend it. It was the charming book for children I wanted A Wrinkle in Time to be at the beginning of the year. If you've never read it, you're missing out.
Have you ever read The Wizard of Oz or any of L. Frank Baum's other books on Oz? (He ended up writing 13 sequels!) Do you love the movie? Are any of you as upset as I am about those dang slippers?!