About the Author
L. “Lyman” Frank Baum was an American author and writer of children’s books. He was born in Chittenango, New York, in 1856. Baum started writing at an early age; throughout his prolific career, he penned over fifty novels, eighty short stories, and two hundred poems. In 1900, Baum wrote his most successful work, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which he shared the copyright for with illustrator W. W. Denslow. The book quickly became a bestseller, and has inspired dozens of popular theater and film adaptations ever since.
W. W. “William Wallace” Denslow was born in 1856 in Philadelphia. He was a renowned American illustrator, reporter, and cartoonist, known mostly for his work in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He and Baum were partners, but eventually quarreled over royalty shares for the theater adaptation, thus ending their professional relationship. He passed away in 1915
Michael Patrick Hearn is a literary scholar and one of the leading experts on children’s literature in America. His works include The Annotated Wizard of Oz, The Annotated Lewis Carol, The Annotated Huckleberry Finn, The Porcelain Cat, and From the Silver Age to Stalin: Russian Children’s Book Illustration. Additionally, he has written for the New York Times, the Nation, and many other publications. Hearn resides in New York City.
Date of Birth:May 15, 1856
Date of Death:May 6, 1919
Place of Birth:Chittenango, New York
Place of Death:Hollywood, California
Education:Attended Peekskill Military Academy and Syracuse Classical School
Read an Excerpt
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
By L. Frank Baum
Amereon LimitedCopyright © 1985 L. Frank Baum
All right reserved.
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 were 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; they had taken the red from her cheeks 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.
To-day, 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 away 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, now there, barking loudly; but Dorothy sat quite still on the floor and waited to see what would happen.
Once Toto got too near the open trap-door, and fell in; and at first the little girl thought she had lost him. But soon she 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 to 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.
She was awakened by a shock, so sudden and severe that if Dorothy had not been lying on the soft bed she might have been hurt. As it was, the jar made her catch her breath and wonder what had happened; and Toto put his cold little nose into her face and whined dismally. Dorothy sat up and noticed that the house was not moving; nor was it dark, for the bright sunshine came in at the window, flooding the little room. She sprang from her bed and with Toto at her heels ran and opened the door.
The little girl gave a cry of amazement and looked about her, her eyes growing bigger and bigger at the wonderful sights she saw.
The cyclone had set the house down, very gently-for a cyclone-in the midst of a country of marvelous beauty. There were lovely patches of green sward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits. Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes. A little way off was a small brook, rushing and sparkling along between green banks, and murmuring in a voice very grateful to a little girl who had lived so long on the dry, gray prairies.
While she stood looking eagerly at the strange and beautiful sights, she noticed coming toward her a group of the queerest people she had ever seen. They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to; but neither were they very small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her age, although they were, so far as looks go, many years older.
Three were men and one a woman, and all were oddly dressed. They wore round hats that rose to a small point a foot above their heads, with little bells around the brims that tinkled sweetly as they moved. The hats of the men were blue; the little woman's hat was white, and she wore a white gown that hung in plaits from her shoulders; over it were sprinkled little stars that glistened in the sun like diamonds. The men were dressed in blue, of the same shade as their hats, and wore well polished boots with a deep roll of blue at the tops. The men, Dorothy thought, were about as old as Uncle Henry, for two of them had beards. But the little woman was doubtless much older: her face was covered with wrinkles, her hair was nearly white, and she walked rather stiffly.
When these people drew near the house where Dorothy was standing in the doorway, they paused and whispered among themselves, as if afraid to come farther. But the little old woman walked up to Dorothy, made a low bow and said, in a sweet voice,
"You are welcome, most noble Sorceress, to the land of the Munchkins. We are so grateful to you for having killed the wicked Witch of the East, and for setting our people free from bondage."
Dorothy listened to this speech with wonder. What could the little woman possibly mean by calling her a sorceress, and saying she had killed the wicked Witch of the East? Dorothy was an innocent, harmless little girl, who had been carried by a cyclone many miles from home; and she had never killed anything in all her life.
But the little woman evidently expected her to answer; so Dorothy said, with hesitation,
"You are very kind; but there must be some mistake. I have not killed anything."
"Your house did, anyway," replied the little old woman, with a laugh; "and that is the same thing. See!" she continued, pointing to the corner of the house; "there are her two toes still sticking out from under a block of wood."
Dorothy looked and gave a little cry of fright. There, indeed, just under the corner of the great beam the house rested on, two feet were sticking out, shod in silver shoes with pointed toes.
"Oh, dear! oh, dear!" cried Dorothy, clasping her hands together in dismay; "the house must have fallen on her. What ever shall we do?"
"There is nothing to be done," said the little woman, calmly.
"But who was she?" asked Dorothy.
"She was the wicked Witch of the East, as I said," answered the little woman. "She has held all the Munchkins in bondage for many years, making them slave for her night and day. Now they are all set free, and are grateful to you for the favour."
"Who are the Munchkins?" enquired Dorothy.
"They are the people who live in this land of the East, where the wicked Witch ruled."
"Are you a Munchkin?" asked Dorothy.
"No; but I am their friend, although I live in the land of the North. When they saw the Witch of the East was dead the Munchkins sent a swift messenger to me, and I came at once. I am the Witch of the North."
"Oh, gracious!" cried Dorothy; "are you a real witch?"
"Yes, indeed;" answered the little woman. "But I am a good witch, and the people love me. I am not as powerful as the wicked Witch was who ruled here, or I should have set the people free myself."
"But I thought all witches were wicked," said the girl, who was half frightened at facing a real witch.
"Oh, no; that is a great mistake. There were only four witches in all the Land of Oz, and two of them, those who live in the North and the South, are good witches. I know this is true, for I am one of them myself, and cannot be mistaken. Those who dwelt in the East and the West were, indeed, wicked witches; but now that you have killed one of them, there is but one wicked Witch in all the Land of Oz-the one who lives in the West."
"But," said Dorothy, after a moment's thought, "Aunt Em has told me that the witches were all dead-years and years ago."
"Who is Aunt Em?" inquired the little old woman.
"She is my aunt who lives in Kansas, where I came from."
The Witch of the North seemed to think for a time, with her head bowed and her eyes upon the ground. Then she looked up and said,
"I do not know where Kansas is, for I have never heard that country mentioned before. But tell me, is it a civilized country?"
"Oh, yes;" replied Dorothy.
"Then that accounts for it. In the civilized countries I believe there are no witches left; nor wizards, nor sorceresses, nor magicians. But, you see, the Land of Oz has never been civilized, for we are cut off from all the rest of the world. Therefore we still have witches and wizards amongst us."
"Who are the Wizards?" asked Dorothy.
"Oz himself is the Great Wizard," answered the Witch, sinking her voice to a whisper. "He is more powerful than all the rest of us together. He lives in the City of Emeralds."
Dorothy was going to ask another question, but just then the Munchkins, who had been standing silently by, gave a loud shout and pointed to the corner of the house where the Wicked Witch had been lying.
"What is it?" asked the little old woman; and looked, and began to laugh. The feet of the dead Witch had disappeared entirely and nothing was left but the silver shoes.
"She was so old," explained the Witch of the North, "that she dried up quickly in the sun. That is the end of her. But the silver shoes are yours, and you shall have them to wear." She reached down and picked up the shoes, and after shaking the dust out of them handed them to Dorothy.
"The Witch of the East was proud of those silver shoes," said one of the Munchkins; "and there is some charm connected with them; but what it is we never knew."
Dorothy carried the shoes into the house and placed them on the table. Then she came out again to the Munchkins and said,
"I am anxious to get back to my Aunt and Uncle, for I am sure they will worry about me. Can you help me find my way?"
The Munchkins and the Witch first looked at one another, and then at Dorothy, and then shook their heads.
"At the East, not far from here," said one, "there is a great desert, and none could live to cross it."
Excerpted from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum Copyright © 1985 by L. Frank Baum.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
I. The Cyclone
II. The Council with The Munchkins
III. How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow
IV. The Road Through the Forest
V. The Rescue of the Tin Woodman
VI. The Cowardly Lion
VII. The Journey to The Great Oz
VIII. The Deadly Poppy Field
IX. The Queen of the Field Mice
X. The Guardian of the Gates
XI. The Wonderful Emerald City of Oz
XII. The Search for the Wicked Witch
XIII. The Rescue
XIV. The Winged Monkeys
XV. The Discovery of Oz the Terrible
XVI. The Magic Art of the Great Humbug
XVII. How the Balloon was Launched
XVIII. Away to the South
XIX. Attacked by the Fighting Trees
XX. The Dainty China Country
XXI. The Lion Becomes the King of Beasts
XXII. The Country of the Quadlings
XXIII. The Good Witch grants Dorothy’s Wish
XXIV. Home Again
What People are Saying About This
“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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Good book Its way better than the movie
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.
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.
This book is awesome and a good classic for kids
This is a good story with interesting characters and a good plot! It is very different than the movie, but that is a plus!
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.
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.
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.
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. : )
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.
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.
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....
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.
Love the book and the movie
Definetly one of my personal favorites! I would definetly read this again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Five star rating. MUST READ!!!!!
Rachel Jillian Glennen Lucy Miriam Glennen
Buy this TODAY!!!!!! Best book ever!!!