L. Frank Baum was not aware that his The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, would become an essential literary classic. A key book in the history of children’s literature. Not surprisingly, the work is one of the most widely published novels in both the United States and Europe. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz may be thought of as a novel written for children, but there are still many theories about the true meaning of the work. It may be that, behind this tale of fantasy and adventure, lie much deeper insights into the socio-economic situation of 19th century America. In fact, some consider this work to be a political and social satire. There must have been something to this work because in 1928 it was withdrawn from Chicago libraries on the grounds that it was worthless and promoted cowardice.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: a classic book for children literature
In 2021, the publishing house Alfaguara, as part of its Alfaguara Clásicos collection, published a precious edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is a book recommended for readers between 9 and 12 years old. 224 pages of fantasy and adventures that will delight both children and adults. A beautiful book about the value of friendship, the importance of self-knowledge and appreciation for things already achieved. An important message about self-esteem, courage and self-confidence. A perfect book to educate in values.
“Dorothy could not imagine that the house where she was sheltering from the tornadoes would fly away and land… in another world. She must find a way to return home with her little dog Toto. To do so, she will travel to the City of Emeralds, where the wonderful Wizard of Oz will grant her wish (or so the Good Witch of the North has told her). The journey will not be easy, but with the company of a scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion, Dorothy will travel through Oz and face her fears, as well as a certain wicked witch who is out for revenge…”
A Story for Grownups
We are all more or less familiar with the main thread of this story. However, if we leave the story aside for a moment, we can find a beautiful metaphor. A book that can also make adults think. For example, the fact that there are good and bad witches in the story is a narrative form well ahead of its time, because until then, the figure of the woman, as a witch, had only been associated with evil. The work is also full of symbolism. The Scarecrow, representing knowledge. The Lion represents power, and the Tin Man can be seen as a representation of love. All of them, throughout the novel, end up showing that the important thing is not only to reach the destination but the path itself, full of teachings and discoveries.
The book, narrated in a concise way, is able to expose in a few lines all that is necessary to develop the characters. Characters that reflect the American spirit. A spirit that is also reflected in the places depicted in the book. Simple and tender, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a book full of beautiful lessons. An essential work.
The Wizard of Oz: the film adaptation
Like almost all successful works, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has also had several film and theatre adaptations. Of particular note is the 1939 film adaptation directed by Victor Fleming. A very talented Judy Garland, accompanied by Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, and Margaret Hamilton, among others, knew how to play the everlasting Dorothy like no one else. No one can imagine another actress singing the splendid “Over the Rainbow”, the song that won the Oscar. The film, released by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, eventually became an absolute box-office and critical success and marked a before and after in the history of the film musical. The film received six Oscar nominations and is considered by the American Filmin Institute to be one of the ten most important films of all time.
About the author
Lyman Frank Baum (New York, 1856) was a writer of children’s books. Before the popular classic “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, published in 1900, the author had already achieved his first success with “Father Duck”, a book of poetry for children. He is the author of more than 60 novels, 82 short stories and some 200 poems. He died on 6 May 1919 in the United States
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