Friday, July 13, 2018

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Title: The Wizard of Oz (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
Author: L. Frank Baum
Read by: Anna Fields
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Length: Approximately 4 hours and 35 minutes
Source: From the Kewaunee Public Library through the Overdrive System

The kids really enjoyed listening to this audiobook version of The Wizard of Oz on a recent trip to Milwaukee.  My 12-year old son Kile feigned indifference, but ten-year old Daniel kept saying we needed to make our breaks in the trip short to get back into the car to finish up the book.  We picked this book as part of a family reading challenge for the Kewaunee Public Library this summer.  I wasn’t sure how to get the kids 12, 10, and 7 years old in one spot reading at the same time and this worked!

I’ve only ever seen the movie and have never read the book.  The book seemed like a new Grimm’s fairy tale.  It had fantastic elements of fantasy and was very interesting, but it also had very blood thirsty elements as well.  In particular, the tin woodman has a very interesting back story that left us scratching our heads on how he could still be “alive” and he seemed to be handy chopping animals heads off with his ax.  This is one book that I think the movie really improved on the book.  The boys thought these elements were hilarious, but we are all still disturbed about the tin woodman chopping a cat in half for chasing a mouse. I’m not sure what moral lesson we are supposed to learn from that!

Anna Fields is a good narrator who gave different voices to the characters.  We started off with a different version of this audiobook which was much drier.  We made the switch and were happy with it.  The only odd thing was event though we were listening to a digital version, it kept saying “end of disk 1” and whatnot like it was a CD.  I’ve never had a digital version do that before.

I also thought it was interesting that the book is named The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but the title was changed for the movie to The Wizard of Oz. Now when they print the book, they call it The Wizard of Oz or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz depending on the edition.  This is slightly confusing.  There are also numerous sequels.  L. Frank Bauem wrote 13 sequels and then many more were written by others after his death.  It makes me wonder what else happens to the story as it goes further.  Anyone a Wizard of Oz series fan out there with some recommendations?

Favorite Quotes:
“There is no place like home.”

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others”

“Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't you think?”

Overall, our family enjoyed The Wizard of Oz.  It was a Grimm fairy tale type fantasy story that was interesting, but also written rather unevenly.


  1. Laura, I have not read (or listened to) the book, but I've seen the movie many times, so your quotations are very familiar to me--and well-chosen! I didn't know about the word "wonderful" in the title of some editions. I'm glad that your family enjoyed listening to this on your road trip. It is a classic and fantastic story. :)

  2. I'm a huge fan of the Oz books and own all 14 of Baum's original novels. Ozma of Oz is probably my favorite along with Tik-Tok of Oz. Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz and Glinda of Oz are also lots of fun. Baum also wrote a story that explains the Tin Man's history in (drum roll, please) The Tin Woodman of Oz. :)

  3. That is good to know - we'll have to continue our journey in the land of Oz!

  4. How fun to experience this story as a family! I am glad it found a sweet spot between all the ages of your children! I agree that it was a bit confusing about the title! And yes, there was definitely a bit more violence in the book than in the movie! I liked them both for different reasons. The back stories of the Scarecrow, Tin man, and lion and extra side plots (like the porcelain town) were fun, but I loved the music in the movie.

    Here is my Classics Club review of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, if interested!