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Group Reads Archive > The Wizard of OZ by L. Frank Baum

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message 1: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 994 comments Mod
Use this thread to discuss The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.


message 2: by Judy (new)

Judy Olson | 8 comments It will be interesting to read this after seeing the movie about 100 times. So far there are a few differences, but I have just started.


message 3: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 994 comments Mod
Keep going, Judy, there's a ton of differences from the movie.


message 4: by Amalie (new)

Amalie  | 38 comments Yes, I think this is one book we all love. I've seen the movie, cartoons and I recently watched a re-make called "Tin Man" Oz with a sci fi twist and for once I really liked it.

Check out the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0Rw1Y...


message 5: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1607 comments Mod
Thanks so much for setting up these threads Jennifer! - I totally lost track of time! Can't believe it's not August anymore. Where did the summer go!

My copy of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz arrived a couple of days ago - can't wait to get started.


message 6: by Janice(JG) (new)

Janice(JG) George | 73 comments That Baum is a sly guy... the Tin Woodman has no heart, so he has to be very careful not to harm other creatures; when he steps on a bug he weeps. But those of us with hearts, we don't have to be so caring... ah, the irony :)

And of course the Scarecrow, who has no brain, was the only one to figure out that the Woodman's jaw had rusted shut and couldn't speak to ask for oil.

We're off to see the Wizard!


message 7: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 994 comments Mod
Have we gotten to OZ yet? What did you think of the glasses? I still don't know what I think about that. It makes sense since the Wizard was fooling everyone, but a real city of emeralds is so much cooler...

I live near the town where Baum was born (Chittenengo, NY), but I've never been. Supposedly, Main Street is paved with yellow bricks. :)


message 8: by Jan C (last edited Sep 08, 2011 07:14PM) (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1435 comments Jennifer W wrote: "Have we gotten to OZ yet? What did you think of the glasses? I still don't know what I think about that. It makes sense since the Wizard was fooling everyone, but a real city of emeralds is so much..."

He also lived in Chicago for a number of years. There is an Oz Park - it has signs for quiet - it is across the street from a hospital. I think I was only over there once - for an office softball game and pub crawl. Long time ago.

I think there are statues in the park that symbolize various elements - tin man, etc. The tin man was the only one that I remembered seeing.

Local author Barbara D'Amato had some familial connection with him and wrote Hard Road: A Cat Marsala Mystery. I'm still reading it. About a Wizard of Oz celebration in Grant Park - its on the lakefront. Oz Park is west of downtown.


message 9: by Judy (new)

Judy Olson | 8 comments The edition of the Oz books (a collection that includes all the stories) I have on the kindle has a biography of the author included...a very interesting character was Mr. L. Frank Baum. He was a bit controversial, and did lots more than just write childrens books.
As to the novel, I am glad I read it, but I like the movie better. Perhaps it is the familiarity, or just that my brain just can't accept the other story. I felt no emotion or connection with any of the characters. Odd that it is usually the other way around...book better than the movie.


message 10: by Mary (new)

Mary | 3 comments KatieDE wrote: "Jennifer W wrote: "Have we gotten to OZ yet? What did you think of the glasses? I still don't know what I think about that. It makes sense since the Wizard was fooling everyone, but a real city of ..."

I think the glasses are exciting. One the cynical hand, it's a keen comment on the tricks governments can play on the people. But at the same time, it shows how they had a very plain thing and found ways to make it exciting and joyful. That is to say, it took some work to make things beautiful, the magic of their minds and spirits.


message 11: by Janice(JG) (new)

Janice(JG) George | 73 comments Mary wrote:"I think the glasses are exciting. One the cynical hand, it's a keen comment on the tricks governments can play on the people. But at the same time, it shows how they had a very plain thing and found ways to make it exciting and joyful. That is to say, it took some work to make things beautiful, the magic of their minds and spirits.
."


I agree. I also think it is an indication of the character of the Great and Powerful Oz, and possibly a tongue-in-cheek reference to those who wear rose-colored glasses.

I love how Oz appears as different images for each of them, either as their worst fears or their greatest desires, or...? Not unlike the different visions of God by both religions and individuals. And, come to think of it, anything as subjective as the idea of a personal "savior," whether it's a Christ or an Oldsmobile, is going to be projected in a personal, subjective way.

We're off on the quest to kill the Wicked Witch, and the journey is harrowing as the witch tries to slaughter our travelers in several different ways... the horrible flying monkeys are only the last of her attempts -- and apparently they are sub-contracted. So much for the disclaimer at the beginning of the book that nothing scary happens in Oz...

As for the book vs. the movie -- I was obsessed with the Oz series as a child, and as I remember, the first book (this one) was the least exciting. I was also obsessed with the movie (still am), and I don't really see a conflict -- they are two very different animals (a horse of a different color :).

I have collected all 14 of the original series in order to re-read them, both from an adult point of view (looking for interesting metaphors & symbolisms) and to perhaps gain some perspective on myself as a child.

Wonderful fun!


message 12: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1607 comments Mod
I tell you what I noticed - Baum gets straight into the story. None of the elaborate scene setting we saw Barrie go in for when we read Peter Pan. OZ is much more readable.

I wonder whether this is because 'americanisms' have infiltrated British Culture so much over time that this is more 'normal' now compared to the traditional British way of reading writing and culture? Do we find Oz easier to read in some way than Peter Pan even though they were written at around the same time period? or do you think it is more about the personal writers style?

interesting???


message 13: by Janice(JG) (new)

Janice(JG) George | 73 comments Ally wrote: "I tell you what I noticed - Baum gets straight into the story. None of the elaborate scene setting we saw Barrie go in for when we read Peter Pan. OZ is much more readable.

interesting???..."



Yes, very interesting. I hadn't considered this aspect. It is a very American characteristic in general, I think, to be so direct. When I visited England (1977), the most difficult thing for me to adjust to was playing the game of indirect communication (ie, if you are invited to dinner, you must refuse at least three times, but if a host or hostess insists three times or more, then it is okay to accept, etc).

At the time I visited, however, punk bands were beginning to flourish, and rebellious teens haunted every street corner... so, change was in the wind. I don't know if it is still like that now -- certainly literature could be considered an example of the slower-paced, more formal character of Britain.

Any Brits out there to enlighten us?


message 14: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1607 comments Mod
Janice George wrote: "Mary wrote:"I love how Oz appears as different images for each of them, either as their worst fears or their greatest desires, or...? Not unlike the different visions of God by both religions and individuals. And, come to think of it, anything as subjective as the idea of a personal "savior," whether it's a Christ or an Oldsmobile, is going to be projected in a personal, subjective way..."

This comment sparked a bit of interest in me so I did a quick google search on Oz and Religion. - Interestingly there is a school of thought that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz promotes Atheism.

Apparantly the fact that the Wizard turns out not to be the larger than life booming sort of omnipotent figure he's billed but that the image is falsified by an ordinary old man hiding behind a curtain speaks of how humans create their own Gods and that their quest for a higher power will eventually come to nothing.


message 15: by Janice(JG) (new)

Janice(JG) George | 73 comments Ally wrote: "Janice George wrote: "Mary wrote:"I love how Oz appears as different images for each of them, either as their worst fears or their greatest desires, or...? Not unlike the different visions of God b..."

Also interesting... I know of church libraries that contain the series because of its symbolic nature and supernatural metaphors. Since I obsessed on it as a child, and am definitely not (and, now that I think on it, never have been) an atheist, I'm going to infer that it had the opposite effect on me.

This is getting good :)


message 16: by Janice(JG) (new)

Janice(JG) George | 73 comments Janice George wrote: "I know of church libraries that contain the series because of its symbolic nature and supernatural metaphors. Since I obsessed on it as a child, and am definitely not (and, now that I think on it, never have been) an atheist, I'm going to infer that it had the opposite effect on me.
."


Addendum to my above statement: the inference being that God is not separate and unapproachable, neither frightening nor "Terrible", but is what each of us needs to see in order to begin our "quest" to conquer evil.


message 17: by Janice(JG) (new)

Janice(JG) George | 73 comments I hope I haven't stopped the discussion cold :)

When Dorothy put the cap she found in the Wicked Witch's cupboard on her head, I experienced a quick and surprising smile, and I realized that one of the aspects of the Oz books I loved as a child was all the secret magic that the reader was privy to, but the characters in the story were often unaware (I'd even say innocent) of.

Dorothy wanders through the story with all these magical powers which she is completely naive to (they are pretty things she likes to wear)... the shoes, the cap, even the mark of the kiss on her forehead -- all these things she carries with her that save her every time it seems she has reached the end of her rope.

As a child, I remember loving the secret feeling of empowerment that came from knowing ordinary objects could embody magic, and even when we are unconscious of it (like Dorothy), they will reveal themselves when the time comes. I was very excited for Dorothy, such an ordinary girl, as her life became one incredible adventure after another.

In a childhood where there were few heroic or adventure stories for girls to relate to, the Oz series offered up all kinds of stories of gender & racial equality amongst its magical characters for a young girl (like myself) to immerse herself in.


message 18: by Joe (last edited Sep 15, 2011 12:08PM) (new)

Joe | 8 comments Amalie wrote: "Yes, I think this is one book we all love. I've seen the movie, cartoons and I recently watched a re-make called "Tin Man" Oz with a sci fi twist and for once I really liked it.

Check out the trai..."


Hi, Long time lurker, First time poster. read this a while back. Did you know that it is part of a series? Baum himself wrote fifteen of the books, But the second and third books for "Tin Man." The second has Dorothy returning to OZ, i think, much like Alice returned to wonderland.


message 19: by Amalie (new)

Amalie  | 38 comments Joe wrote: "Hi, Long time lurker, First time poster. read this a while back. Did you know that it is part of a series? Baum himself wrote fifteen of the books, But the second and third books for "Tin Man." ..."

No, I didn't know that. How come they are not well-known? Thanks Joe.


message 20: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1607 comments Mod
Are some of the other books in the series as dark as the second movie? - the wheelers still give me nighmares!


message 21: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 994 comments Mod
Welcome from out of the lurkers, Joe! I've read books 2 and 3, and intend to read more, but got sidetracked. I found them just as enjoyable as the first.

Ally, I'm so glad you mentioned the 2nd movie, "Return to OZ"! (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089908/) As a child, though it was much more sinister than the first, I actually preferred it to the original. I was far more creepped out by Princess Mumbi's detachable heads. The 2nd and to a small extent 3rd book are the basis for "Return to OZ". I don't think they are as scary as the movie, but the movie follows them a lot closer than the original followed the 1st book.

Janice, I don't think you stopped the conversation. :) I just haven't had a chance to formulate a response. I identified with Ally's comment about atheists, though probably not to that level when I was younger. I think to me it was more a realization about my parents and all adults, that they may seem "great and terrible" but they're just people who can contradict themselves.

I think, too, that the idea of carrying magic and adventure around with you, even when you don't know it was a great tie to the original movie. The reason Dorothy goes to OZ in the movie is because she's bored and wants adventure and excitement only to find out that she's possessed the possibility all along.


message 22: by Janice(JG) (new)

Janice(JG) George | 73 comments Ally wrote: "Are some of the other books in the series as dark as the second movie? - the wheelers still give me nighmares!"

I think all great children's stories are chockful of the dark and creepy, as well as humor. I loved the china people inside the china wall at the end of The Wizard of Oz -- tiny, beautiful people and objects that protected themselves from the clumsiness of others, because they were made of fragile & breakable porcelain & ceramic pottery. Wonderful metaphors :)

I remember the rest of the books in the series being much more interesting to me (as a child) than even the first book. I'm going to try to read the complete set in 2012.


message 23: by Ivan (last edited Dec 17, 2011 05:58AM) (new)

Ivan | 505 comments Ally wrote: "I tell you what I noticed - Baum gets straight into the story. None of the elaborate scene setting we saw Barrie go in for when we read Peter Pan. OZ is much more readable.

I wonder whether this..."


I think its style. I find Henry James (American) difficult to read, but H. G. Wells (British) quite easy.

I realize I'm late to this party. I've only just finished reading this (for the first time I might add) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I was amazed that the story continued after the film ended. The entire last section was a revelation.

Being so familiar with the film (a true masterpiece), I was shocked by how quickly the tornado struck - almost no warm up - certainly no time to meet a magician in a gypsy caravan or sing "Over the Rainbow." Anyway, I thought the book was clever and taught important lessons: 1) the magic is within us 2) there's no place like home.

If you liked this book (and it seems everyone did) you should check out "The Phantom Tollbooth" which is similar in theme - but is loaded with wit and whimsy (smart good humor). Though I only read it this year, it is one of my favorites.


message 24: by Shelley (new)

Shelley | 30 comments I read somewhere that Baum's mother-in-law was a truly remarkable woman and that some of her ideas actually were seminal to his writing of Oz. He sounds like a man who had no problem with powerful women!

Shelley
Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com


message 25: by Janice(JG) (new)

Janice(JG) George | 73 comments Shelley wrote: "I read somewhere that Baum's mother-in-law was a truly remarkable woman and that some of her ideas actually were seminal to his writing of Oz. He sounds like a man who had no problem with powerful women! ..."


Baum's second book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, is a feminist's dream -- little girls taking over a city, female soldiers, wives boycotting housework & husbands having to take over 'women's work'... and more :)


message 26: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1607 comments Mod
Thought I'd give this one a bump due to the corresponding fun discussion....


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (other topics)
Hard Road: A Cat Marsala Mystery (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

L. Frank Baum (other topics)
Barbara D'Amato (other topics)