22.4.12

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD of OZ by L. Frank Baum



What's the Land of Oz?

It's a kind of beautiful and enchanted green island surrounded by a great desert and ruled by the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

In each direction there is a land inhabited by a Witch: the Wicked Witches of the East and the West, and the Witches of the North and the South.

Nothing to do with the dry grey prairies of Kansas. But Dorothy, who has just landed with her house and dog, Toto, right on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her, brought by a cyclone, only wants to go home as soon as possible, because Aunt Em and Uncle Henry will surely  be worried.

Unfortunately nobody can help her. She is told to go to Emerald City, where the Wizard of Oz lives, and once there she might be helped by Oz himself to find her way home.
She only has to walk along the yellow brick road.

With the Wicked Witch of the East's silver shoes and the shiny kiss mark of the Witch of the North on her forehead, to protect her, Dorothy starts her adventurous journey toward Emerald City. 

On the way, she first meets the Scarecrow stuck in the middle of a cornfield . Once she sets him free, he decides to go with her to ask Oz for a brain, since he is made of straw and he doesn't want to be considered a fool.

In a wood they find the Tin Woodman, rusted and incapable of moving his joints. After being oiled, he also decides to go to see Oz and ask him for a heart.

The last companion is the cowardly Lion who makes his decision to meet the Great Oz and ask him for some courage.

To reach Emerald City, where everything is green, is not a big deal, apart from a field of poppies that almost kills the lion.

After meeting the Wizard a lot of dangerous and peculiar adventures are awaiting the four friends: a pack of wolves, a flock of wild crows, a swarm of black bees, the winged monkeys, the Wicked Witch of the West, the golden cap, the missed hot air balloon, a new trip toward the South, the Fighting trees, the China country, the Hammer-Heads, and finally…

It seems unbelievable to read such a great number of adventures that catapult the reader into the middle of a bewitched land populated by enchanted characters. Exactly like for Dorothy, every line is a discovery of something unusual and totally different from reality. 
Even though it was written in 1900 it's really easy to read. The pages run one after another like Dorothy's steps on the yellow brick road. 

Here again, like in James and The Giant Peach http://bit.ly/IhPVpr we can recognize many Propp Functions: an heroine who has to clear many hurdles, helped by a magic object and several friends, before fulfilling her desire to go back home. It's a classic structure that teaches our youngsters that many efforts are necessary to reach their established goals. 


Here you can find some rally interesting activities based on the book, designed by Nancy Polette: