Monday, July 07, 2008

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz/The Marvelous World of Oz

A Book Report Double-Feature

After Nick and I finished the Prydain Chronicles, a wonderful young-adult series that I read when I was a child and was eagerly anticipating telling to Nick, I wasn’t sure where to turn. Eventually, though, I figured that The Wizard of Oz was a good movie, so the book should be pretty good too.

I was a little underwhelmed. The story is essentially the same. Dorothy and her problems are similar, the Wizard didn’t change either.

The Good

I liked the expanded characters of the flying monkeys. Rather than the terrifying and nightmare-inducing version from the movie, they’re a group of mischief-makers who found themselves in the limited thrall of the wicked witch (and then in service to Dorothy).

There were some more characters and more problems for the characters to overcome. The mice were a good addition, for example.

The Bad

When I watched the movie (even most recently a year or two ago), I figured that the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion had what they wanted in good measure before seeing the wizard but it was done subtly enough that there was always a little question. The book, however, hits you over the head with it again and again. All ideas came from the Scarecrow. All sympathy flowed from the Tin Man.

The Conclusion

I obviously liked the book enough to continue with the second in the series.

The Marvelous World of Oz

New characters join the Tin Woodman (now known as Nick Chopper) and the Scarecrow as the Scarecrow’s place as ruler of Oz is overthrown.

I appreciated an extended look into the world of Oz, as well as the new characters, particularly Jack Pumpkinhead and H.M. Wogglebug, T. E.

The ending was a surprise to me and to Nick as well, and the consequences will be felt in the third book.

The story did drag a bit, although that may have been more a consequence of a week’s layoff during camping than anything else. I imagine that Nick and I will return to Oz for the third installment (out of an eye-popping 41) with Ozma of Oz. However, for now, we’ve moved on to Pawn of Prophecy, the first book of The Belgariad by David Eddings. I know that Eddings is seen as simplistic and formulaic, but I enjoy his earlier books and I think they’re a good progression from Narnia and Prydain into more standard fantasy.

Next Up

How does one structure the 200th post of one’s blog?


El Cliff said...

I wonder at one point in the 41 book Oz series (There are 41?!?! Seriously? Thank goodness George R. R. Martin or Robert Jordan weren't the might be finished by 2153.) Adabisi shanks Scarecrow in the mess hall for cutting in on his turf. And when Shillinger's hatred for Beecher causes him to go at Tin Man with a plasma torch.

Of course, if you've never seen the show, none of this makes any sense. Awesome.

Liam J. said...

Oh, Oz, the TV show. It's much funnier when you think of it in that context. The other way, you just think Cliff's been using the Crystal Meth a little too much.

I've never seen the show, but it's still funny in a really stupid way.

El Cliff said...

Yay for my earlier comment not being a complete failure!

Anonymous said...

As a child, I read all of the Oz books by L. Frank Baum (more were written by other authors, but I never investigated). Many summer days were spent laying on my bed, reading, with occassional trips to the Library.

I remember them being quite fun, part of the joy being the ever-increasing size and density of the fictional land of Oz. I'm glad you two are enjoying them.