Thursday, May 20, 2010
Munchkins, Winkies, and Winged Monkeys
Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
By: L. Frank Baum
Be sure you get the edition with W.W. Denslow's illustrations throughout.
This is not an e-book: you can point and click all you want, but nothing will happen, except in your imagination. It does not include a sound card; you will have to provide your own musical accompaniment. The intention is that you read the pages consecutively, from left to right, one at a time, rather than jumping around from place to place. It is shelved in the children's section of the library, but even if you are an adult you are allowed to check it out. It is not based on the movie; the movie is based on this book. Denslow's illustrations do not at all resemble Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, or Ray Bolger.
Dorothy lives in a one room house, with no electricity, indoor plumbing or running water. She lives with her family, described as “Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife.” Dorothy was an orphan. When this book was first published, in 1900, the modest circumstances would not have seemed particularly unusual to the readers. Most Americans were not strangers to such things.
Even after Dorothy gets to the Land of Oz, very little shopping is done. The Consumer Society had not yet been invented. If the Munchkins or Winkies need something, they build it in their workshops. The Tin Woodsman is remarkably handy with his one tool, an axe.
There are many adventures, but also it is a very thoughtful book. All sorts of topics are explored, even animal rights, and not killing anything you don’t have to. There is much to ponder concerning friendship, family, self-respect, power, and how and why to live.
Mr. Denslow's illustrations are quite magnificent, and go very well with the story. Often the pictures precede the action by a page or two, so you wonder: what is that about? What will happen? (If you are reading the pages in order, as you should be.)
Don’t wait for a power outage, or a cyclone. Take a break from electronics and fly away to the Land of Oz.
View similarly tagged posts: fiction