“We’re off to see the” – hang on, believe it or not, this much-loved song doesn’t feature in the original novel by L. Frank Baum.  Dare I say it, is the movie actually better than the book?  Nah, not at all, even factoring in Judy Garland.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has the same overall storyline as the 1939 classic; Dorothy and Toto end up in Oz, where she accidentally kills the Wicked Witch of The East, and then embarks along the Yellow Brick Road alongside her new found friends, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.  They’re off to Oz of course, to see the Great and Powerful Wizard – but first, they have to destroy the Wicked Witch of the West, no easy feat.  Except, well it turns out it is, since she’s destroyed by water (can you imagine how disgusting she would smell?).

However, being a novel, there are multiple plot arches that occur that don’t make it to the silver screen.  Not only is Dorothy held captive by the Wicked Witch, along with the Cowardly Lion, but they also visit Chinatown, take advantage of the Mouse Queen’s help and reveal the Wizard for the liar that he is.  But there is a lot less singing involved, so I guess you have to decide what you’re interested in at the end of the day.

This was an enjoyable read.  Obviously, Baum has written the novel for a much younger audience, but I still appreciated his clear, simple writing style and his ability to create an entirely different world and atmosphere.  As with the movie, all the characters are very likeable, and although their stories and needs are a tad ridiculous, I wanted them to achieve their desires all the same.

Sometimes it can be a bit hard to read the novel counterpart of a very well-known and much-loved movie, but I wasn’t disappointed or bored by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Overall I found it to be a light-hearted, easy read that gave me further insight into the different characters – so if I ever do re-watch the movie, at least I’ll know exactly why it is that the Tin Man wants a new heart.

Also, now I’m always going to picture Dorothy’s shoes as a shiny silver, instead of a ruby red.  But perhaps that’s just because I like to stick to the books.

Have you read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or seen the film?  Which do you prefer?  Did you grow up singing along to Judy Garland and wanted a little dog like Toto?  Let me know!

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