The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum


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Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and a host of other curious creatures come to life as they set out on an exciting quest down the Yellow Brick Road in search of the elusive Wizard. Reset in large, clear type and accompanied by 20 beautiful black-and-white illustrations. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486291161
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 05/20/1996
Series: Dover Children's Evergreen Classics Series
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 45,246
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 8 - 14 Years

About the Author

L. Frank Baum (1856–1919) was a prolific American writer, who also attempted to adapt his writing to stage and screen, including turning the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into a musical in 1902. Due to the success of the original book, he wrote an addional thirteen Oz books.

Date of Birth:

May 15, 1856

Date of Death:

May 6, 1919

Place of Birth:

Chittenango, New York

Place of Death:

Hollywood, California


Attended Peekskill Military Academy and Syracuse Classical School

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Cyclone

Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife. Their house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many miles. There are four walls, a floor and a roof, which made one room; and this room contained a rusty looking cooking stove, a cupboard for the dishes, a table, three or four chairs, and the beds. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em had a big bed in one corner, and Dorothy a little bed in another corner. There was no garret at all, and no cellar-except a small hole, dug in the ground, called a cyclone cellar, where the family could go in case one of those great whirlwinds arose, mighty enough to crush any building in its path. It was reached by a trap-door in the middle of the floor, from which a ladder led down into the small, dark hole.

When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.

When Aunt Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife. The sun and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray; theyhad taken the red from her checks and lips, and they were gray also. She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled, now. When Dorothy, who was an orphan, first came to her, Aunt Em had been so startled by the child's laughter that she would scream and press her hand upon her heart whenever Dorothy's merry voice reached her ears; and she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find anything to laugh at.

Uncle Henry never laughed. He worked hard from morning till night and did not know what joy was. He was gray also, from his long beard to his rough boots, and he looked stern and solemn, and rarely spoke.

It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings. Toto was not gray; he was a little black dog, with long, silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose. Toto played all day long, and Dorothy played with him, and loved him dearly.

Today, however, they were not playing. Uncle Henry sat upon the door-step and looked anxiously at the sky, which was even grayer than usual. Dorothy stood in the door with Toto in her arms, and looked at the sky too. Aunt Em was washing the dishes.

From the far north they heard a low wail of the wind, and Uncle Henry and Dorothy could see where the long grass bowed in waves before the coming storm. There now came a sharp whistling in the air from the south, and as they turned their eyes that way they saw ripples in the grass coming from that direction also.

Suddenly Uncle Henry stood up.

"There's a cyclone coming, Em," he called to his wife; " I'll go look after the stock." Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and horses were kept.

Aunt Em dropped her work and came to the door. One glance told her of the danger close at hand.

Quick, Dorothy! " she screamed; "run for the cellar!

Toto jumped out of Dorothy's arms and hid under the bed, and the girl started to get him. Aunt Em, badly frightened, threw open the trap-door in the floor and climbed down the ladder into the small, dark hole. Dorothy caught Toto at last, and started to follow her aunt. When she was half way across the room there came a great shriek from the wind, and the house shook so hard that she lost her footing and sat down suddenly upon the floor.

A strange thing then happened.

The house whirled around two or three times and rose slowly through the air. Dorothy felt as if she were going up in a balloon.

The north and south winds met where the house stood, and made it the exact center of the cyclone. In the middle of a cyclone the air is generally still, but the great pressure of the wind on every side of the house raised it up higher and higher, until it was at the very top of the cyclone; and there it remained and was carried miles and miles ay as easily as you could carry a feather.

It was very dark, and the wind howled horribly around her, but Dorothy found she was riding quite easily. After the first few whirls around, and one other time when the house tipped badly, she felt as if she were being rocked gently, like a baby in a cradle.

Toto did not like it. He ran about the room, now here, barking loudly; but Dorothy sat quit still on the floor and waited to see what would happen.

Once Toto got too near the open trap-door, and fell in; first the little girl thought she had lost him. But saw one of his ears sticking up through the hole, for the strong pressure of the air was keeping him up so that he could not fall. She crept to the hole, caught Toto by the ear, and dragged him into the room again; afterward closing the trap-door so that no more accidents could happen.

Hour after hour passed away, and slowly Dorothy got over her fright; but she felt quite lonely, and the wind shrieked so loudly all about her that she nearly became deaf. At first she had wondered if she would be dashed pieces when the house fell again; but as the hours passed and nothing terrible happened, she stopped worrying and resolved to wait calmly and see what the future would bring. At last she crawled over the swaying floor to her bed, and lay down upon it; and Toto followed and lay down beside her.

In spite of the swaying of the house and the wailing of the wind, Dorothy soon closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.

Table of Contents

The Cyclone11
The Council with The Munchkins16
How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow23
The Road Through the Forest30
The Rescue of the Tin Woodman35
The Cowardly Lion42
The Journey to The Great Oz48
The Deadly Poppy Field55
The Queen of the Field Mice63
The Guardian of the Gates69
The Wonderful Emerald City of Oz76
The Search for the Wicked Witch89
How the Four were Reunited102
The Winged Monkeys106
The Discovery of Oz the Terrible113
The Magic Art of the Great Humbug122
How the Balloon was Launched126
Away to the South130
Attacked by the Fighting Trees134
The Dainty China Country139
The Lion Becomes the King of Beasts144
The Country of the Quadlings148
The Good Witch Grants Dorothy's Wish152
Home Again158

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Baum was a true educator, and those who read his Oz books are often made what they were not—imaginative,
tolerant, alert to wonders, life.”—Gore Vidal

Reading Group Guide

L. Frank Baum's timeless classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first uniquely American fairy tale. A combination of enchanting fantasy and piercing social commentary, this remarkable story has entertained and beguiled readers of all ages since it was first published in 1900. Ray Bradbury writes in his Introduction, "Both [Baum and Shakespeare] lived inside their heads with a mind gone wild with wanting, wishing, hoping, shaping, dreaming," and it is this same hunger that makes all of us continue to seek out the story of Oz—and be nourished by it.
This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the text of the definitive first edition and includes the New York Times review of that edition as well as the original Preface by the author.

1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in 1900 and met with both commercial and critical success. It continues to be a favorite, and the story has been translated to the stage and film numerous times. What do you think makes this tale so appealing, so timeless, and so easily adapted to other media?

2. What roles do money and capitalism play in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? What is valued in the land of Oz as opposed to what is valued in the real world?

3. In addition to being a writer, L. Frank Baum was an actor and playwright. Does theatricality play a role in this book? How? What role does illlusion play in the story?

4. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is said to be the first American fairy tale, and L. Frank Baum had indeed aspired to write a fairy tale that was different from the older, mostly European ones. How is this story the same as or different from, forexample, those by the Brothers Grimm? Is it particularly American? If so, in what way(s)? What makes it unique?

5. One of the things that L. Frank Baum did not like about traditional fairy tales was the didactic way in which they taught
morals and values. Does his story express any particular values or moral lessons? If so, how does he communicate them?

6. Though this story has had a timeless appeal, is there anything time-bounded or dated about it? Are there aspects of the story, characters, style, or setting that decrease the accessibility or appeal of the book for a modern audience?

7. William Wallace Denslow's illustrations have been an essential part of this book since its first publication. In some cases, these illustrations anticipate the action in the text. What effect do the illustrations have on your reading of the story?

8. The Scarecrow yearns for a brain, but in reality he is the most intelligent of the small group in which Dorothy travels. Is this irony present elsewhere in the story? If so, what do you suppose Baum's purpose is in using this device?

9. Baum has been praised for his ability to include psychological and philosophical insight in a fantastical children's story. In what ways is this story psychologically and/or philosophically insightful or sophisticated?

10. Analyze the character of the Wizard. Why does he behave the way he does? Is his behavior excusable or not? He tells Dorothy that he is a good man but a bad wizard. Do you agree?

11. What is the significance of the delicate people in the Dainty China Country? What is Baum saying about beauty and/or about sensitivity in this chapter?

12. In his Preface to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Baum says that he aimed to create a tale in which "wonderment and joy are retained and the heart-aches and nightmares are left out." Would you say he succeeded? Do you think that this type of optimism and pure entertainment are valuable? Why or why not?

13. Are there ways in which the characters and political dynamics in Oz could be likened to real-life people and political dynamics during Baum's time? How about during our time?

14. Why do you think Baum wrote this story when he did? Was there anything going on in the world at that time that might have led him to want to write a pure fairy tale?

15. What are the power dynamics in Oz? Who has power and who lacks it? How does one gain and lose power in Oz?

16. Baum's mother-in-law was a feminist and a suffragette. Do you think the ideals of feminism influenced Baum's writing of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? In particular, how would you view Dorothy and the witches in a feminist context?

Customer Reviews

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 203 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since I was a child, my favorite movie has always been The Wizard of Oz. I can remember having the entire collection of plastic Oz characters, a Wizard of Oz lunch box, sleeping bag, and of course the famous back pack. I dressed up as Dorothy at least twice for Halloween and forced my dog along the way acting as Toto. But something I had never realized was that I never read the book. Recently comming across the opportunity to do so, I find the book just as amazing as the movie--if not better. Although I couldn't seem to get the image of Judy Garland out of my mind, I found that Dorothy is more adventureous than ever in Baum's novel. By reading The Wizard of Oz readers find out that the Land of Oz is even more fantastic than portrayed in the film version. Dorothy and company befriend a Queen of Mice, a China Princess, and even the King of the Flying Monkeys. Reading Baum's novel made me realize the wonders of being a child and visioning the fantastic voyage of Dorothy; however, the novel also made me realize that The Wizard of Oz is not only for children, but for adults as well. Reading this novel gives adults a chace to escape from the chaos of everyday life and enter a world full of wonder and excitement (not to mention the chance to revisit childhood). Baum's novel reminds us the of meaning of friendship, courage, love, and most of all that 'there is no place like home.' I recommend readers of all ages to revisit this timeless classic and enter into the Wonderful World of Oz.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always loved the Wizard of Oz, it was probably the first live action film I ever saw and has greatly affected my life, fostering my love of musicals into something more than Disney ever could. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Then I read the book when I was seven, I had just discovered it in my Grandfather's attic, and I decided that the book was by far superior. The story was longer, there was backstory, and it didn't have the weak, 'It was all a dream' ending, which I had always found disappointing. My love of the book was reaffirmed last year in my U. S. History class when the allegory of the novel was discussed in a featured essay, relating it to the argument between the gold and silver standard of the late 1800s. I highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially children with imaginations that need space to grow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book Its way better than the movie
Guest More than 1 year ago
Can you imagine that during World War II, two Australian brigades in North Africa actually marched into battle singing, 'We're off to see the Wizard/The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'? This just goes to show the appeal The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has, not only to children, but also to those special adults young in spirit. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a fantasy written by L. Frank Baum. It tells the story of Dorothy, a young farm girl from Kansas who is carried away by a cyclone to a strange land called Oz. In order to return home, she must travel to its capital, Emerald City, and ask the assistance of the Wizard of Oz. On her journey along the Yellow Brick Road, she meets three companions, a tin woodman, a talking scarecrow, and a cowardly lion with whom she has a series of adventures. Each has their own quest and individual wishes to fulfill. Upon reaching the Emerald City, Oz promises to fulfill their wishes if one of them first kills the Wicked Witch of the West. In my opinion, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz teaches, in a most entertaining way, a valuable lesson to all its readers - look no further for happiness than within yourself. Obviously, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a book worth reading. In addition to its entertainment value, it also inspires its readers to be happy with what they already possess. The characters in the story, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion desperately desired things that they thought would make them happy, when in reality, they already possessed those things. True happiness has to come from within and the search for happiness should always begin there. This a valuable lesson for us all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
People who give bad ratings should give a reason not to get the book. Instead of saying this book is stuipid. You can still say it's stuipid after you give the reason.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome and a good classic for kids
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good story with interesting characters and a good plot! It is very different than the movie, but that is a plus!
she_climber on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I've seen the movie several times but I can't believe how much I enjoyed the story. The little things that were different, the big things that are different. No wonder this is such a timeless classic.
BellaFoxx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children¿s novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on April 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of both the 1902 stage play and the 1939 film version. The story chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a storm. Thanks in part to the 1939 MGM movie, it is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated. Its initial success, and the success of the popular 1902 Broadway musical which Baum adapted from his original story, led to Baum¿s writing thirteen more Oz books. The original book has been in the public domain in the US since 1956."At the end of the book Wicked was a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I had already read this by then, all the Oz books are available free for iBooks and Kindle. I¿m sure for other readers also.Although I had never seen the movie(1939 MGM) in its entirety or read the book, I knew the general story. After all ¿it is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture¿. The book is of course different from what I had gleaned from the movie, there is of course more detail and more things happening.SPOILER ALERTWhen Dorothy asks the Wizard of Oz to send her back to Kansas he tells her: ¿In this country everyone must pay for everything he gets. If you wish me to use my magic power to send you home again you must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you.¿Now this may seem reasonable and fair except that the Wizard doesn¿t have magic power and knows he can¿t send Dorothy back! And what does he want Dorothy to do? ¿Kill the Wicked Witch of the West¿. His reasoning is that the Wicked Witch is ¿tremendously Wicked¿and ought to be killed.¿When Dorothy and her group find out that he is not a wizard, just a man, he insists, ¿I¿m not a bad man, I¿m a bad wizard.¿He lies, (he¿s been lying for years we find out), sends out a little girl to either kill or be killed, knowing that if she kills the Witch he can¿t keep up his end of the bargain but he¿s not a bad man. Even if she is protected by the Good Witch¿s sign on her forehead and wearing shoes that contain a powerful charm, she doesn¿t know how to use the shoes and still a little girl is sent out to KILL SOMEONE! In what world is that right? In what world does a `good man¿ do that? And then when he figures out a way to get out of Oz, he leaves Dorothy behind.Plus, Dorothy should have really had a leash for Toto. And when Dorothy had to go see Glinda, why didn¿t she just ask the flying Monkeys to take her there? She knows they can, they can¿t take her to Kansas but they can take her anywhere in Oz. Then they wouldn¿t have spent weeks walking and climbing over walls and breaking little china people.For the above reasons I gave this book 2-1/2 stars instead of 3, because these things really upset me.
ryuuta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story's main character is Dorothy.She is threw away by typhoon to country of Oz.she want to go back home,then, her adventure began with scarecrow, woodcutter and lion.Throught adbenture, they learn important thing.Can they go back home?I think this story is interesting.Almost all of people know this story. This story tell me what is the most important thing.I learn them again.I want children to read this book.
melopher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maybe it was because I never read the book when I was young, or maybe I simply don't have an innate appreciation for fantasy literature, but this book--like the movie--is just weird to me. My girls (whom I read the book aloud to) thought that it was pretty good; they have yet to see the movie. All that said, I'm glad to have read it--simply because it makes me feel more culturally literate. : )
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Baum set out to create a modern myth for children, taking, perhaps, the stories of Hans Christian Andersen as a template. He achieved that, with a story that has passed down through the generations and is as celebrated today as it ever was. However, for many of us - myself particularly - knowledge of the story is clouded by familiarity with the movie versions; so it was nice to go back to the source and see what the original was all about.
bzedan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wish the version I read had the pictures I remember from the little hardbacks (the old library kind where the cover of a mass-market paperback is removed, the book is re-bound and the cover paper is pasted onto the new hard cover). The hammer-heads creeped me out.Baum has such a weird cadence to his writing. Classic story telling filtered through his brain, I guess.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I never read this in childhood, but I loved the Judy Garland film as a child. The book is a charmer, worth reading even if you've seen the film countless times. There are quite a few differences. For one the illustrations suggest a very young Dorothy--about six or so--not sixteen like Judy Garland in the film. The Dorothy of the book wears silver shoes, not ruby slippers. There are lots of other small details that are different, as well as whole chapters that never made it into the film--such as "The Queen of the Field Mice" and "The Dainty China Country." One thing was really striking given the film adaptation. Everything in Kansas is described as gray, the "sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass" and even Uncle Henry's and Aunt Em's faces are gray--then when she gets to Oz it's filled with vibrant color. It seemed so right then that the part of the movie set in Kansas is black and white, while Oz is filmed in color. I don't know that as an adult, this quite appeals to me as much as Lewis Carroll's Alice books, and I don't think I'll be seeking out the rest of the series (Baum wrote 14 in all) but I can certainly see why this is seen as the classic American children's book, the way Carroll's is for Britain or Grimm's Fairy Tales for Germany.By the way, I've read the books were continually challenged from the time the first was published (1900) to as recently as 1987 because they presented some witches as good--and because it featured strong female characters. Heavens. And I thought the uproar over Harry Potter among some was screwy....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is nothing better than enjoying the original works of such a beloved movie from one's childhood. It really does answer some of those questions people keep asking after watching the movie, and adds new understanding to what was already there. In short, I love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the book and the movie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definetly one of my personal favorites! I would definetly read this again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Five star rating. MUST READ!!!!!
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Rachel Jillian Glennen Lucy Miriam Glennen
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Buy this TODAY!!!!!! Best book ever!!!
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