I'm terribly unread when it comes to classics, so I'm going to try and rectify that with my new feature: Classic Corner! If I read and review a classic, it will be under this banner. Wish me luck!
Publisher: The Folio Society
Released: 1900, 2010 (this edition)
Summary from The Folio Society:
A cyclone hits the plains of Kansas, plucking up the house where orphan Dorothy and her little dog Toto live with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. The house is whirled high into the air, and lands, with Dorothy and Toto, in the magical land of Oz. To return home, Dorothy must find the Great Wizard of Oz, destroy the Wicked Witch of the West, and travel even further, to the powerful Good Witch of the South. Fortunately, Dorothy finds new friends and loyal companions, a Scarecrow without a brain, a Tin Woodman without a heart and a Cowardly Lion, to accompany her on her quest to the Emerald City and beyond.
Until March of this year, at the age of twenty-five, I had neither read nor seen anything to do with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I finally watched the 1939 film, followed by Oz the Great and Powerful at the cinema, and loved both. So, what was the next logical step? Read the source material, of course. So I did.
I don't know why I've always had a self-imposed ban on all things Wizard of Oz, because I actually really like the story and it's a children's fantasy classic. It's always been one of those books I never had any interest in, but I'm glad I put that aside and read it as it's changed my outlook on classics and showed me that, actually, I *can* read and understand books published before 1950!
I'm sure most people are overly familiar with the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, so I won't go over it in too much detail. What I will say is how unusual the whole tale is, especially when the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion arrive on the scene. L. Frank Baum must have had an incredible imagination, and it's showcased here in all its glory.
This particular edition I read includes beautiful illustrations which I am a huge fan of when it comes to children's books. These illustrations, drawn by Sara Ogilvie, transported me to Oz and didn't let me leave. I got to visualise the whole world, and see what Dorothy was seeing for the first time. I felt like I was little again, unearthing a magical land and meeting mismatched friends to go on an adventure with.
Although a fairly straightforward good vs. evil story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is about so much more than that. It teaches readers about friendship, courage and perseverance, and that anything really is possible if you want it enough. I imagine it made a huge impression upon first publication in May 1900, and I can see why. It's a lasting classic that I hope never goes out of print, and I hope many more readers are inspired to grab a copy and visit the Emerald City. Just watch out for the flying monkeys!