“No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”
I saw The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland for the first time when I was a little girl, and it has been one of my favorite stories ever since. So I could not understand why, considering the fact that I love books better than movies, I have never thought of reading the book until now.
“It is such an uncomfortable feeling to know one is a fool.”
– The Scarecrow
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is a hundred times better than any movie version I have ever seen. The travelers had more adventures, and the story has more depth, what with all the debates and lessons about having brains, a heart, and courage going on. And I could understand why many have made different adaptations of it and created stories about the book’s characters, such as the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked) and Oz himself (Oz the Great and Powerful). Each of the characters is interesting and unique, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more adaptations in the future.
“But once I had brains, and a heart also; so, having tried them both, I should much rather have a heart.”
– The Tin Woodman
What I love most about this story is that, as it progresses, it shows us that the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion have already got a brain, a heart, and courage, respectively, and that they don’t need to travel all the way to the Emerald City to go see a wizard and ask for them. They had it in them all along.
“… my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage.”
-The Cowardly Lion
L. Frank Baum has created marvelous places one would wish were real. My favorites are the Dainty China Country, where everything — from the walls, to the floors, to the milkmaids, to the princesses, to the animals — is made of porcelain and no taller than Dorothy’s knee (the downside though is that you must be extremely careful as they are brittle and break easily — the Cowardly Lion had accidentally broken their church with his tail), and the Country of the Quadlings, where everything is painted bright red and where lies the castle of Glinda the Good, which is guarded by young girl-soldiers dressed in red and gold, which I find very charming.
“How shall we cross the river?” asked Dorothy.
“That is easily done,” replied the Scarecrow. “The Tin Woodman must build us a raft, so we can float to the other side.”
I’m glad of what became of the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion in the end. They each got what (they thought) they wanted and had each a kingdom to rule: the Emerald City, the Winkies of the Country of the West, and the forest, respectively. And, as we all probably know, Dorothy got back home to Uncle Henry and Aunt Em.
Thereafter he walked very carefully, with his eyes on the road, and when he saw a tiny ant toiling by he would step over it, so as not to harm it. The Tin Woodman knew very well he had no heart, and therefore he took great care never to be cruel or unkind to anything.
As for the great and terrible wizard of Oz, I can only hope he has arrived safely to where he wants to be.
“We are lost, for they will surely tear us to pieces with their sharp claws. But stand close behind me, and I will fight them as long as I am alive.”
– The Cowardly Lion
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is the first of fourteen books in the Oz series and was published in 1900.