Adventure in Oz with L. Frank Baum
American Author L. Frank Baum
Did you know?
The Wizard of Oz is a popular story book for children and has been made into musicals, films and cartoons of various quality.
However, it is not so well known that L. Frank Baum wrote an entire series of stories set in the land of Oz. With the burden of establishing the existence of the realm of Oz discharged in the first book, the following books utilise plot and characterisation to a greater extent than the original.
It would be a treat for any child to be given access to the less well known books in the Oz series, and they can enjoy an extended imaginative stay in this unique world somewhere parallel to Kansas and only accessible by reading a book or catching a twister!
Dorothy arrives in Oz
The core series includes:
1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,
2. The Marvelous Land of Oz,
3. Ozma of Oz,
4. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz,
5. The Road to Oz,
6. The Emerald City of Oz,
7. The Patchwork Girl of Oz,
8. Tik-Tok of Oz,
9. The Scarecrow of Oz,
10. Rinkitink in Oz,
11. The Lost Princess of Oz,
12. The Tin Woodman of Oz, 1
3. The Magic of Oz,
14. Glinda of Oz
My personal favourite is The Marvelous Land of Oz. It has all the elements of fairytale, mystery and surprise.
A young boy, Tip is being brought up by a cruel witch called Mombi. He creates a companion for himself from a pumpkin something like a child would carve a jack o'lantern today. This endearing character comes alive and speaks much to Tip's surprise.
Tip finally has enough of running errands and receiving mistreatment from Mombi and escapes to go on the road, where he meets the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman.
Tip becomes involved in the search for the Princess Ozma who has been missing from birth. It is necessary to create a crude but effective flying machine to travel across Oz and into surrounding areas.
The outcome of the adventure involves a pleasant gender bending twist.... and I won't spoil the story by specifying!
Oz and surrounding lands
The Wizard of Oz was filmed Hollywood musical style in 1939. It was directed by victor Flemming and starred Dorothy Garland. Although I find this type of production singularly unconvincing as a science fiction offering, the movie has been vastly popular with the songs and dances also transposed onto stage.
Young Dorothy shelters in her house during a tornado. The house is picked up by the hurricane and lifted right out of the United States into another land known as Oz.. (It is not Australia which we also call Oz or Aus -- or could it be?)
As her house lands, it crushed a wicked witch of the west to death giving rise to the belief that Dorothy is a powerful witch. The local residents, known as Munchkins, request Dorothy also kill the remaining wicked witch, the witch of the west.
Following instructions from the good witch Glinda and wearing magic shoes taken from the dead witch, Dorothy sets off across the great land of Oz.
During her travels Dorothy collects a group of companions who all have mini quests of their own. The Scarecrow wants brains, the Tin Woodman wants a heart, and the Cowardly Lion wants courage. They find and destroy the wicked witch, who dissolves when engulfed in water.
Each companion has been found to intrinsically own the quality they are seeking, but a placebo gift is bestowed upon them to reinforce their confidence. Dorothy's final task is to persuade Oz, who may not be much of a wizard after all, to help her get back to Kansas.
Oz the Great and Powerful
In 2012 another high profile Oz movie was released. This had special effects and was much more convincing than the musical version. It chronicled the arrival of the so called "wizard" in Oz.