It’s Not Your Mama’s Wizard of Oz

The kids and I finished the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz today, much to their awe and delight. There is only one other book that we’ve read this year that has captivated their attention as much as this one and that was The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles.

This was my first time to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, too, so I was equally excited to dig in HOWEVER…

This may be the first time in the HISTORY OF ALL TIME that I liked a movie better than a book. Maybe because the movie is such a classic? But the book was a classic first, thus necessitating the need for the movie so what we’re left with here is a chicken or the egg situation.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was good, for sure. It was exciting and, for the most part, was very similar to the movie except for, ya know, the morbid violence and word pictures that left my six year old looking at me with saucer eyes and mouth hung open wide.

Do you know how the Tin Man became a Tin Man? The wicked witch put a spell on his axe so that every time he tried to chop something HE CUT OFF ONE OF HIS LIMBS. The local tin maker replaced each amputated limb with one of tin until, finally, the Tin Man cut off his own head and wound up being a man made entirely of tin.


Read that to your kids while they eat breakfast and see what happens. It’s fun.

Or there’s the part when the Wicked Witch of the West sees the four travellers (and her little dog, too) making their way to her palace and she sends out wolves with the command to tear them to pieces. Never fear, though. The Tin Man chops off the heads of every wolf that lunges forward until he is, at last, standing upon a pile of severed bodies and dismembered heads.

This is the part where Tia wonders if she really wants to see the movie.

But wait there’s more!

While traveling to Glinda’s palace in the South to (hopefully) (fingers crossed) return Dorothy to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in Kansas, the band of misfits runs into a most peculiar group of little men called The Quadlings. These men refuse to to let the group cross over the mountain that stands between them and Glinda and when they try, The Quadlings who, naturally, don’t have any arms, detach their heads from their bodies and fling them at the trespassers with brute force and might, bruising the now courageous lion and knocking the stuffing out of the Scarecrow.

Landon was all, “Wait…dey TAKE OFF DERE HEADS AND HIT DEM?!”

To which Sloan replied, “COOL!” and Tia looked at me with saucer eyes again.

I promised the kids we would watch the movie one morning next week to celebrate finishing the book. I also promised that we would not witness the dismemberment of a single person…well, except the Scarecrow. But I’d rather let them be surprised. Tia wasn’t sure about the movie, though, so I sweetened the deal with a promise of green popcorn (in honor of the Emeral City, of course) and lots of candy.

This should be fun.

Image Credit


  1. Wow. I had no idea the original book was so crazy. Kristin was supposed to get it (my choice) in a “book of the month club” in which I tried my darnedest to stick to the classics and figured The Wizard of Oz was safe. Instead, it was back-ordered and they had to send me some kind of “70th anniversary of the movie edition” wherein (to the best of my knowledge) no one gets dismembered and heads are not lobbed Braveheart-style at anyone or anything. At least Kristin made no mention of those sorts of things. She read it without my reading it first. But for the record, I’m with Sloan in his opinion of the Quadlings. And why would they be called quad-anything if they are lacking two of the four usual appendages? And how do you make green popcorn? I think I want to be one of your kids.

    • Hahaha! I didn’t even think about them being called “quad”kings and yet missing two appendages. So funny. 🙂 um…I actually don’t know how to make green popcorn but I’ve seen pictures of it so I know it cane be done. This is where I need the Internet to come to my rescue!

  2. Also, when they went to the Emerald City (which was FAMOUSLY all green) they had to wear those GREEN GLASSES the entire time.

    That cracked me up.

    • So much of the book made me laugh. It was so absurd half the time that I just had to laugh. But the kids honestly LOVED it. It was really fun.

  3. I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is only one book out of a series. There are 15 books total. I think you have more reading to do 🙂

    • Yes! I noticed the list of all of his other books in the back and realized that Dorothy and her friends had many more adventures. 🙂

  4. I read somewhere (don’t remember where) that the OZ series of books are intended to be political satire for adults and weren’t meant for kids originally.

    • Interesting. I would love to read more about that. I didn’t get that out of them, but if I knew and understood better the context in which they were written I bet it would be fascinating. The book was a little dark and creepy, though. Definately took me by surprise. 🙂

    • Sorry, Jeff, but that’s an urban legend perpetuated by overeducated wogglebugs (read the next Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, to understand that reference). There are several links to various debunkings of this idea on my website.

  5. Reading good books was my favorite part of homeschooling!

  6. Wandered over to your blog via UBP12. Realized that we share the exact same wedding anniversary! Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  7. melcable says

    We are enjoying Henry Huggins right now if you are looking for a next book.

    • I’ve never heard of that! I will look into it. The next book in our curriculum is supposed to by The House at Pooh Corner, but Sloan is mortified that I would suggest such a “baby book.” Perhaps Henry Huggins would be more appropriate? 🙂

  8. You’re quite right, there are some icky parts of the book that didn’t make it into the movie. However, there are also a lot of funny or unexpected (in a GOOD way) parts of the story also, so I hope your readers aren’t going to judge the book entirely by this review. (As always, if in doubt, read the book first and decide if it’s appropriate for your own children.) And there seems to have been some confusion over one of the incidents on the way to Glinda’s (who, by the way, is a different witch than the Good Witch of the North; the two characters were combined into one for the movie). Those guys who can shoot out their heads are the Hammerheads, not the Quadlings. (The Quadlings are the inhabitants of the southern part of Oz, much as the Munchkins live in eastern Oz. The Quadlings are normal humans, with two arms, two legs, and heads solidly attached to their bodies.) And the Hammerheads do not throw their detached heads. They shoot out their heads, but they’re still attached via a long telescoping neck. Later on in the series, however, in “The Road to Oz”, another unpleasant bunch of folks, the Scoodlers, can remove their heads.

    And no, there are not fifteen Oz books — there are forty (or even more, depending on how you count)! After Baum’s death, the publishers hired other writers to carry on the series.

    • I stand corrected, Eric. The hammer heads were in the chapter called The Land of the Quadlings so I got the two mixed up. But that makes MUCH more sense. 🙂

      This was not meant to be a negative review of the book in any way. As I mentioned, this book enraptured my children so any book that can do that is a good book by me. I merely meant to point out the fact that because I was so familiar with the movie the violence portrayed in the book took me by surprise and I found it to be humorous because how bizarre for a children’s book. It made me laugh, that’s all.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  9. HA HA HA HA AH AHA HA HA HA HA HA! I’m sorry, that’s hilarious. And disturbing. Thanks for the warning. 😉 Movie yes, book, later.