Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Review: The Wizard of Oz (Little Golden Book)

A Fair Trade Book

Title: The Wizard of Oz
        
Author: Mary Carey (based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum)
        
Date: 1975
        
Publisher: Golden Press
        
ISBN: none; Amazon page here
        
Length: pages not numbered
        
Illustrations: color drawings by Don Turner
        
Quote: “He was a timid little man, who hid behind his emerald throne when they first came in.”
        
Whew. All the dramatic effects the Wizard of Oz put on, in Baum’s original novel, reduce to that?
        
If you can stand a brutally abridged version of what was meant to be a long story that would entertain children up to grade six through many rainy days, Mary Carey’s version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz might be for you.
        
I don’t like it. I especially don’t like the pictures. I discovered Oz in grade three, when I was able to appreciate the length of Baum’s story (and all the sequels) and sound out any words I didn’t know; I saw the original Art Nouveau drawings before I had a chance to see the Hollywood movie re-broadcast on television, and I liked the original books better than the movie...and even the movie, where so many of the special effects were lost, is better than this thin little book of redrawn scenes from the movie.
        
I can think of one type of reader who might enjoy this book. This would be the TV-free family who can’t find a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for their children to read after another replay has started the kids at school talking about Oz. Mary Carey’s version leaves out most of the original plot Baum’s book contained, but it does give children some idea of what happens in the movie and who the characters are....without spoiling the pleasure children may have when they do find a copy of Baum’s book.
        
Another of the Little Golden Books’ great features was that, although they were fairly durable hardcover books, each individual book was cheap enough that adults could give these books to babies who were likely to chew on them and/or leave them where the dog could chew on them. The Wizard of Oz shares this delightful feature.