I chose this book for my Kansas book even though very little of it takes place in that state. Even so, how many of you think of Oz when Kansas is mentioned?
The first thing you encounter in this edition is a long, tedious introduction by J T Barbarese, a children's literature professor. How can people claim to say that's why the author said this or this is the secret meaning behind that? I was annoyed. Plus, he did many comparisons to the 1939 movie with Judy Garland. I understand better after reading the book but I thought he dwelt too much on the movie. Having said that, it is immediately apparent after starting the actual book that the movie is very different. I wonder how I would have felt about the book if I had never seen the movie. It does color your perceptions. The characters are a little flat. Dorothy is a ten-year-old girl who wants to go home to Kansas although you never get a feeling that she is that attached to her home. I did like the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion very much. They are not cartoonish as the movie portrays them. In fact, the Scarecrow is very smart, the Tin Man very caring and the Lion is very brave. They just don't see those qualities in themselves. Maybe Baum is saying we need to recognize our abilities and accept who we are. Or maybe it's just like he said in an interview that he wanted to write a "modernized fairy tale." It seems the book was taken from stories he would tell small children while working at his store. That seems to fit as the narrative is so simple and straightforward just like it was being told to children. It's not the least bit scary (I was terrified of the Witch in the movie) and the action moves from one scene to the next very quickly. Still I found it quite charming to read; and the illustrations were great fun.