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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum
Series: Oz #1
272 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Jeanne

A tale well-deserving of the title 'classic', but somewhat bizarre.

Plot

When Dorothy is caught in a Kansas tornado, she and her little dog are swept into the land of Oz. There she finds that her only chance to get back home is to find the Wizard of Oz, who can do anything. So, along with the brainless Scarecrow, the heartless Tinman, and the cowardly Lion, Dorothy sets off to find this Wizard and return home.

Morality

There are no instances of immorality in the tale, nor is the subject broached often. The protagonists are good and the antagonist of the tale, the Wicked Witch of the West, is bad.

Spiritual Content

There are four 'witches': the good witches of the North and South and the bad witches of the East and West. The Wizard can, presumably, do anything by the use of his arts and tricks. Oz is populated by strange creatures (flying monkeys, for instance) and happenings, which may or may not be categorized as "magical."

Violence

When she is swept into Oz, Dorothy's house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East and kills her. A character melts. At one point the Tinman steps on several ants and cries because of it, and he relates how he lost his heart because his axe slipped and cut it out. Characters are attacked by the Wicked Witch of the West and her various minions.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Sexual Content

The Tinman says he was once in love with a girl.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

"The Wizard of Oz" is well-deserving of its place as a classic in children's literature. The world created by Baum is ingenious, funny, and pretty - especially as displayed in some of the illustrated versions. It is, however, a book either to be loved or hated - very rarely do readers take a middle ground. It is a weird kind of book, with weird kinds of people and places, somewhat reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. If you like Lewis Carroll's work, then you'll probably enjoy this one.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 8-10

Review Rating:

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