Reading and reviewing the original Wizard of Oz books

Following the Yellow Brick Road

So, I’m a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz.  I’ve been watching the movie since I was a kid. I’ve seen it countless times and I even own the soundtrack release from 1995 which included extended versions of many of the songs as well as a missing song (The Jitterbug) recorded but not included in the movie.

Wizard of Oz book

Around 2001 I checked out from the library the original Oz novel (above) by L Frank Baum and read it. And loved it. I even watched Dreamer of Oz, the TV movie starring John Ritter as L Frank Baum. Then, sometime around 2005-2006 I received the annotated edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (see below).  It’s a gorgeous hardbound book with all the original illustrations as well as a 100 page biography of L Frank Baum as well as very meticulous notations throughout the text of the story bringing into focus the impact this book had on society.

Wizard of Oz

A year later I made the resolution that I was going to read all of the original Baum Oz novels. There are 14 of them. I even acquired the first three books from Paperbackswap.com in a bundled collection by Books of Wonder (also in the photo above).  However, that goal was somewhat forgotten and I haven’t done anything about it.  Until now.

I mentioned on the Nerd Lunch podcast recently (twice already) that in 2012, I’m picking this resolution back up and I’m going to finish the Oz novels.  And to keep myself accountable, I’m going to blog about it.  So a new feature is being created called Following the Yellow Brick Road which will chart my progress with each book.  I’ll do reviews of each book as well as any ancillary material appropriate to that book.  For instance, for the first three books there are Marvel comic adaptations as well as the original 1939 movie and the 1985 sequel, Return to Oz (which is an amalgam of books 2 and 3).  I may throw in quick mini-reviews of that stuff as well.

So, in 2012, join the Cavalcade of Awesome through the Kansas twister into the enchanted land of Oz.  I’m thoroughly looking forward to it.

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8 Responses to “Reading and reviewing the original Wizard of Oz books”

  1. My daughter recently read the first book and just devoured it. She seemed to be interested in the idea that there were more so I’m going to have to track down the next couple for her to check out. Looking forward to this series of posts as you go through the books yourself.

  2. Oooooh! You know I’m really excited about this, right? And am drooling over that annotated copy. Once upon a time I had a paperback copy but I lost track of it and think my mom probably ditched it at a garage sale. Time for a new one.

    And when you’re all done, read Wicked by Gregory Maquire. Provides very interesting commentary on the story that is so familiar to us.

  3. Trish,

    I read Wicked back in 2000-2001. I found it in a bookstore in LA while I was working on assignment at 20th Century Fox. Honestly, I didn’t like it. The tone of the book was too serious and politically charged for the world of Oz. I didn’t like where Maguire took it. I loved some of his ideas, though. But I don’t want that much political/socio-economic commentary in my Oz stories.

    Reading it was like walking knee deep in the Florida swamp.

    • Yes, very political. Hmmm–try the musical? Ha! 😉

      • I did see the Wicked Broadway play when I was in New York in 2004. Loved it. It was more of what I was expecting from Maguire’s book.

        There’s not much I haven’t done for my Oz fix. Except read all the original Baum books, obviously.

  4. Have you checked out the comics Marvel is currently adapting from the Baum books? The art is by Skottie Young and the adaptations are done by Eric Shanower. They’re great! They’ve been released as 8-part series for several years — the first three books have been compiled into graphic novels, and they’re midway through the 4th book. It’s a delightful romp through Oz that stays true to the story of what Baum gave us (Shanower is very faithful in a good way), but Young’s art is so different and lovely. I’d definitely check them out.

    • I just realized you mentioned the first Young/Shanower adaptation in another blog post. I’d still recommend checking them out.

      If I’d learned as a kid that I could buy comics of these Oz books as an adult…I’d never have believed it. Amazing world.

      • Yes, I have been following the Marvel adapted Oz books. I’ve read the first and second adaptations. Young’s art is worth it all by itself. But the material is very faithfully adapted.

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