When I was looking for xmas gifts for my nieces I went looking for an age-appropriate storybook of The Wizard of Oz. I didn't find one, but i DID find a treasury collection of all the "canon" books of Oz. Basically it's the 14 fantasy books that Baum himself wrote. Having just finished the 3rd Book in the Wicked series, I guess I was jonesing for more Oz, because I bought the treasury for myself. I'd never read the Wizard of Oz and was interested to see what the original tale was actually like. As I began to read it, I became aware of two things. (1) There are many interesting differences between the original story and (2) this book put me to sleep faster than any other book in the history of books.
Let's address the second point first. Because of the bulky size of the one volume Oz Treasury, the book has remained a before-bed read. No matter what time I actually go to bed, it as hard for me to get through more than a few paragraphs before totally conking out. It's not that it was boring, I just couldn't not stay awake for it. It was the literally equivalent of Tylenol PM. I took a small dose, and before I'd know what was happening, I'd be asleep for the night.
As for the first point, here are some interesting things you might not know:
1) There's no Kansas counterparts to the scarecrow, tin man, lion or wicked witch. Oz is not a dream!
2) Dorothy is a brat! Perhaps not intentionally, but she is kinda annoying and a little rude to people.
3)While there are elements in the story and realm of Oz that are represented in the Wizard of Oz, The Wiz and Wicked, they all basically end once Dorothy gets back to the Emerald City and the Wizard is exposed as a fraud. But the book doesn't end there. NO! Effing Glinda won't just show up in her bubble and tell her how to use the shoes! They have to go visit HER! And she lives far away! Jeezum Crow, end the story Baum!
4) On their way to Glinda, they encounter a kingdom made out of china and the Lion kills a giant spider. It's as random as it sounds.
5) Regarding the slippers, you probably know they are Silver and not Ruby in the original story. But did you know that the witch manages to steal one away from her? She just trips Dorothy and steals a shoe! And then Dorothy gets annoyed at her for it and throws water on the witch in a tantrum! And the witch dies! It's so weird.
I have these 13 other Oz Stories to read in this book. I don't know if I can get through all of them! I'm unconvinced that I want to. But I bought the book, so I will try to get through them, because I am stubborn. Maybe the writing gets better as they go along? I hope to finish the series by 2010, which might lead to some frantic cram sessions around the holidays this coming December. Bring the crazy, Baum. I can take it.