Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Genre: Fantasy
Age Level: Junior
Source: Library
Series: Oz #1
Interest: plot, series

One of the true classics of American literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over four generations. Originally published in 1900, it was the first truly American fairy tale, as Baum crafted a wonderful fantasy out of such familiar items as a cornfield scarecrow, a mechanical woodman, and a humbug wizard who used old-fashioned hokum to express that universal theme, “There′s no place like home.”

Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City, where lives the all-powerful Wizard of Oz.

This lavishly produced facsimile of the rare first edition contains all 24 of W.W. Denslow′s original colour plates, the colourful pictorial binding, and the 130 two-colour illustrations that help make The Wonderful Wizard of Oz so special and enduring.


Most, if not all of you grew up with the story of The Wizard of Oz and Dorothy’s victory over the Wicked Witch of the West. The real story is actually a lot darker than how the story is perceived in the movie and adaptations but there is also more to take from it.

My favourite part of the book were the characters who, despite it being a small book, were surprisingly well developed. The scarecrow, the tin man and the cowardly lion all believe that just because they acted stupidly, heartlessly or cowardly once that that is what they are. The theme of appearance vs. reality comes to mind.

The scarecrow thinks he is stupid because a crow insulted him, but in fact is very wise. The tin man believes he is heartless because he did not go after the woman he loved but is very caring. The cowardly lion accepts that he is fearful because he has many fears, when in fact he is brave for facing them. Dorothy herself wants to go home because she misses her aunt and uncle when she is much happier in Oz and has many more friends.

Oz on the other hand, appears to be great and powerful when in fact he is very weak. He takes advantage of the fact that people think he is a wizard and isn’t able to tell them the truth. When the three above mentioned characters come to him for help, he gives them what they want instead of proving to them that they had those qualities all along.

The world building was done really well; a world with many different types of creatures from the big and powerful to the small and fragile. It is a world I can’t wait to see developed further in later books. I liked how it ended with Dorothy returning home from Oz months later instead of finding out that it was all just a “dream”.The one negative is the plot which was rather repetitive and highly predictable up until the end. I was also unable to connect with the story but it is intended for a much younger audience. 

In all, I really enjoyed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a light, fun read with a lot going on under the surface.


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