- The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History - John Fricke, Jay Scarfone and William Stillman, 1989
- The Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum, 1900
- The Land of Oz - L. Frank Baum, 1904
- Ozma of Oz - L. Frank Baum, 1907
- The Scarecrow of Oz - L. Frank Baum, 1915
I knew that the movie differed from the book, but I didn't remember the specifics. (I was one of those who only saw TWOO on a black-and-white TV when growing up, so I missed the transition to color once Dorothy gets to Oz. Watching the movie now, I enjoyed the effect of the B&W to color transition, but thanks to the fertile imagination of childhood, I don't think I missed out on anything back then--my mind supplied plenty of color! As kids my brother and I got to go to the short-lived Oz amusement park in the North Carolina mountains, which was pretty cool (you entered the house, then it actually spun around in the "tornado" and you exited onto the Yellow Brick Road).)
When you think about how the movie terrified so many children, it's ironic to find out that Baum specifically wanted to get away from fairy-tale scariness ("It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out"). The book is indeed lower-key than the movie and the witch is nowhere near as prominent. On the other hand, Oz specifically instructs Dorothy to go and kill the witch. And the Tin Woodman sees a wildcat chasing a field mouse: "...although he had no heart he knew it was wrong for the wildcat to try to kill such a pretty, harmless creature." So of course, he chops the wildcat's head off without a second's hesitation!
I had thought I'd probably get rid of my Oz books after this re-read--and I didn't get past these four--but I do enjoy Baum's limitless inventiveness so for now I'm keeping them. Favorites: the Gump (a creature assembled from two sofas and a stuffed quasi-elk head, brought to life with magic powder); the Princess Langwidere, who keeps dozens of heads to wear and therefore doesn't need to vary her outfits; and the Hungry Tiger, who craves fat babies but whose conscience won't let him eat any (he doesn't deny how yummy they would be, so as a vegetarian who still craves meat I very much identify with him!).