Emmy
Emmy asked:

If anybody has seen the July garland film of this book please tell me if the book is better or worse than the film.

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Kerry They are quite different things. The 1939 film is (deservedly) a classic. It is somewhat faithful to the book but also is more complex in many ways and adds new layers, like the overlay of life in Kansas vs. Oz (Miss Gulch/Wicked witch, farmhands as Scarecrow, Tin Man, etc).

The visuals are stunning. It is more dramatic ("surrender Dorothy") and better structured to build drama and tell the story. In the book, things happen and then are resolved in the next chapter. In the film, things build and build to a much more spectacular climax. And then the flying monkeys are so much more terrifying than in the book, one of the greatest villains of film history.

Yes, the film can't cover all the extra material of the entire series, (especially the political subtexts) and the later character evolution, but on a film vs the first book of the series comparison, the film is vastly superior in my opinion.
Ozfan95 Ignore all those people that say that the movie is better. They don't know how good this book actually is. The book is WAY better than the movie! Here's why:

First of all, Dorothy is a whiny, teenaged, damsel in distress in the movie. In the book, she is a brave ten year old. She fights through the story to defend her friends and even save the Land of Oz itself.

Second of all, the two good witches are combined into one character in the movie, which makes the character into a big jerk that could have told Dorothy how to get home right at the beginning.

Thirdly, the book doesn't have a subplot at the beginning that never gets resolved, like the movie does.

Fourth, the characters are a lot more interesting than their movie counterparts.

The only advantage the movie has over the book is that it has a bigger antagonist. But the book is still better.

Yes, the book may be darker than the movie, but what's wrong with that? From my experience, kids like violence in stories.

Skip the movie, read the book!
Sentimental Surrealist I love the way this question is written. It's as though the movie version isn't widely renowned as a cinematic masterpiece but rather some historical and cinematic afterthought known only to diehard fans of the book.
Scott The movie is superficial in comparison to the book and has a message that a woman's place is in the home. The movie takes half an hour to get out of Kansas to make Oz a dream interpretation of Dorothy's home life, whereas in the book it's an actual adventure that allows Dorothy to grow. The real reason Dorothy wants to return home is so that her family doesn't have to spend money they don't have giving her a funeral. At the end of the book, because it was not a dream, Uncle Henry has to build a new farmhouse, and (in book 6) after being unable to pay the mortgage, they are all brought to Oz to live. Aunt Em is interesting because she doesn't feel worthy of the luxurious living quarters with which they are provided.
Annie In my opinion, you should never try to compare a book with its movie. Especially if you've seen the movie first. Its impossible to put everything from a book into a 90-120 minute visual format.

You also have to remember the book is written for children and children 8-12 will enjoy it the most. Having said that its always worth reading. I'm 60 years old and just finished re-reading Ozma of Oz, the last book in the series.
Todd The movie is stunning, and musical, and takes a lot of liberties with the story. The book is darker, less witty, and has many more turns before the end. I recently read this book with my bookclub and pushed through it unwillingly. It was actually hard to read as an adult. There are avenues of thought opened up throughout the book that are never explored or are just explained away. Thus a little frustrating for an adult as you get no answers to the many questions that might arise during the read.

Even with all the differences, I couldn't get away from mentally comparing it to death while reading it since the movie is just too iconic to shove aside. That is especially irritating when stuff happens that makes no sense while also having been sidestepped by the film so is unfamiliar.
J.M. Briggs I agree that the book and the movie are two very different beasts. Both are good, but the film is much more sweet and feel good than the book.
The core characters are there, but in the book there are many more subplots and it lacks a clear three structure act. The film pulls in many of the more iconic things from the book and builds them into a more traditional three part story which is very entertaining. Additionally the film expands on Dorothy's life in Kansas much more and with the addition of the dream elements makes the story more one of dealing with fears. Of course it also a beautiful film full of gorgeous visuals and a lot brilliant behind the scenes work.

The book is darker with several elements that disturbed me as a child such as the birth of the Scarecrow and the Tin Man's back story. That said there is a lot going in the books with political commentary and according to some economic commentary. You learn more about the whole of OZ in the books and all three of Dorothy's friends have their own little subplots about what their lives will be like after Dorothy leaves. For a larger experience in OZ the book is a great way to go. Neither is better, just different.
Michael I love the movie, and saw it long before ever reading the book. But overall, I would say I liked the book slightly better. However, I would recommend you experience both. The movie is so visually appealing and the book gives you more depth to the characters.
Jumpj1952
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Dora Quite honestly, I loved the movie too. I didn't know of the book before watching the movie once, but I was a little kid back then, I read the book on my own some years later and the like a year into my Wizard Of Oz phase, Mom and Dad surprised me with the movie and while it's not quite like the book, the movie in its own way was great.
Faith Boling The book carries many, many details that the movie does not consider at all. PERSONALLY, I like the book more. But, to see the movie and watch these characters come to life is certainly a rewarding experience.
Beth
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