Reviews for Wonderful Wizard of Oz


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 December 2000
Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Illus. by W. W. Denslow. 2000. 267p. HarperCollins/Books of Wonder, $24.95 (0-06-029323-3). Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Booklist Reviews 2009 November #1
Author of many Oz-related books and comics, Shanower is a natural choice to adapt L. Frank Baum's classic into a graphic novel. Resisting the temptation to teach Toto and company some new tricks, Shanower instead offers a straight, and entirely rewarding, reworking of the 1900 original. Young's spellbinding artwork immediately erases from memory all traces of Judy Garland's adventure, establishing a unique visual style for Oz that neatly balances classic fantasy with a modern sensibility, dark and creepy and pastoral and wondrous all at once. Dorothy is feisty, vulnerable, and altogether adorable as she marches down the yellow brick road, only deviating from her single-minded mission to return to Kansas to help her newfound friends discover what they lack (in a particularly nice touch, the loopy Scarecrow gives off a charming zombie vibe with his repeated plea for "brains," rather than "a brain"). Readers might come away surprised at how layered the story really is, and glad to hear that more of Baum's Oz stories are in the works from this team. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Stills from the classic motion picture are accompanied by a choppy text that speeds through many of the plot points of the film. This picture book, based on the screenplay, commemorates the movie's seventy-fifth anniversary. Fans of the movie may enjoy browsing through the pictures, but the desultory adaptation has little appeal.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Classic tales have been abridged and heavily illustrated (in various styles) to fit the format of these short chapter books. The core of each plot remains, but the texts have been stripped of descriptive language, character development, and nuance. Other than plot summaries, these adaptations don't serve any purpose. [Review covers these Classic Collection titles: [cf2]The Wizard of Oz[cf1], [cf2]Pinocchio[cf1], [cf2]Heidi[cf1], and [cf2]20,000 Leagues Under the Sea[cf1].]

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
An appended note describes the illustrator's dissatisfaction with the movie images of Baum's classic. Ingpen's fans will appreciate his attempts to draw "L. Frank Baum's 'Oz' characters and their adventures to be as near to 'real' as I have always wanted them to be." The large book, with its heavy cream-colored paper and approachable pictures, is a handsome version for collectors.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
The classic novel features a cover illustration by Mary Engelbreit and is packaged with a gimmicky necklace. For libraries, the value of this unabridged hardcover is the inexpensive price. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
These budget-priced unabridged volumes, compact and sturdily bound with glossy-finished covers, have pleasant but bland cover illustrations and a uniform design. A short "about the author" is included in each. [Review covers these Oxford Children's Classics titles: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wind in the Willows, and Party Shoes.] Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Spring
In celebration of the one-hundredth birthday of Baum's landmark novel, Santore's oversized picture book, which includes an introduction by Michael Patrick Hearne, has been reissued. Expansive illustrations, bursting with color, depict Dorothy's adventures in the Land of Oz. The abridged text, which has been expertly condensed, retains Baum's original wording. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Fall
To commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the novel's first publication, the classic story of Dorothy's first trip to Oz has been reissued in this handsome volume. Set in a large, easy-to-read typeface, the text is liberally illustrated, but the book will mainly be of interest to Michael Hague fans. Some biographical information about the author is included at the back. Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1997
The complete text of Baum's classic has been newly illustrated in watercolor with Zwerger's clean and romantic style. Sixteen full-page paintings and plenty of spot art reveal a close reading of the text and a surprisingly fresh approach to the characterizations. Green-colored glasses are included, to be worn when viewing all scenes within the Emerald City, though they're not essential since the story can be seen through the reader's imagination. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
This adapted version of Baum's classic keeps the main plot but loses all of the style and freshness of the original. Young readers will be able to work their way through this short chapter book but are unlikely to be inspired with such dry, controlled prose. A few of Denslow's original illustrations are included.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
Dorothy and her friends, both old and new, return to Oz in this illustrated whimsical adventure. In this graphic adaptation of Baum's fourth novel in the Oz series, Dorothy, her kitten, her cousin and his horse find themselves in a cavernous world deep within the Earth after an earthquake. Trapped in the land of the Mangaboos, a race of emotionless vegetables, the assemblage must find a way out before they are disposed of, as the vegetable people think that they caused stones to rain upon them. Serendipitously, the group encounters the kindly Wizard (also a victim of the quake), and an episodic series of adventures ensues before Ozma conveniently whisks them to Oz via a magical belt at a greatly opportune moment. Back in Oz, they suffer a silly trial of Dorothy's kitten before all can be righted and both Dorothy and her cousin can return to their proper homes. Shanower's dialogical adaptation is good fun, especially coupled with Young's pleasantly playful and vibrant art. Full of whimsy, it captures the spirit of the original story. Adaptations of classics can be thorny; this one is a particularly well-conceived effort and may well entice readers to seek out the original sources. An enjoyable continuation of the series, it raises high hopes for the subsequent volumes. (Graphic adaptation. 10 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 July #2
Dorothy and her friends, both old and new, return to Oz in this illustrated whimsical adventure. In this graphic adaptation of Baum's fourth novel in the Oz series, Dorothy, her kitten, her cousin and his horse find themselves in a cavernous world deep within the Earth after an earthquake. Trapped in the land of the Mangaboos, a race of emotionless vegetables, the assemblage must find a way out before they are disposed of, as the vegetable people think that they caused stones to rain upon them. Serendipitously, the group encounters the kindly Wizard (also a victim of the quake), and an episodic series of adventures ensues before Ozma conveniently whisks them to Oz via a magical belt at a greatly opportune moment. Back in Oz, they suffer a silly trial of Dorothy's kitten before all can be righted and both Dorothy and her cousin can return to their proper homes. Shanower's dialogical adaptation is good fun, especially coupled with Young's pleasantly playful and vibrant art. Full of whimsy, it captures the spirit of the original story. Adaptations of classics can be thorny; this one is a particularly well-conceived effort and may well entice readers to seek out the original sources. An enjoyable continuation of the series, it raises high hopes for the subsequent volumes. (Graphic adaptation. 10 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #2
This new version of an oft-adapted work brings little to the table. Like many classics, The Wizard of Oz has been repeatedly adapted into various graphic formats, among others. With the myriad choices available, each new iteration absolutely must offer something special in order to rise above its predecessors yet still honor its source. Unfortunately, this version has little excitement, falling flat in obvious places where the juxtaposition of narrative and illustration should shine. Dorothy's arrival in Oz, for instance, is the perfect moment to audaciously burst forth from the drab grays and earth tones of Kansas into a vivid explosion of color. Caldwell's adaptation misses this pivotal moment entirely, only mildly tweaking its dishwater palette. Many of the iconic conventions that define this well-loved story are also conspicuously absent: Dorothy's pigtails, for example, are now long, lank blonde locks held back with a kerchief, more closely resembling Disney's cartoon Alice (of Wonderland fame) than the more familiar likenesses of Dorothy in the original and film versions. With so much imagination behind it, Baum's work should easily lend itself to this format; however, this take is sadly bland, lacking the visual fireworks that should be there in concert with Munchkins, flying monkeys and enchanted shoes. Regrettably mediocre. (Graphic classic. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2005 July #2
A lively and charming adaptation of the quintessential American fairytale. Caballero's black-and-white art uses clean lines, bold blacks and pleasingly variegated panel layouts to breathe fresh vigor into Baum's timeless classic. The storyline moves briskly while staying mostly faithful to the original text, though purists might cavil at the telescoping of Dorothy's admittedly redundant journey to Glinda's castle. The real delight here is the re-imagining of beloved characters for the 21st century, ironically reminiscent of Baum's own prairie populism. These Munchkins are no outré Art Deco midgets, but as friendly and familiar as Wal-Mart shoppers. The Tin Man becomes a genial robot with a buzz-saw appendage, and the Scarecrow a likable homeboy. Generous, openhearted Dorothy herself is clearly on the cusp of adolescence, spunky and self-reliant in her boot-cut jeans and Wonder Girl bracelets; and her magical silver shoes (no glittery ruby pumps here!) look comfortable and sturdy, far more sensible for the long trek down the Yellow Brick Road. By no means a substitute for the original, but certainly a worthy companion, and well able to stand on its own. (Graphic novel. 8+) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 1996 August
~ Zwerger (illustrator of Theodor Storm's Little Hobbin, 1995, etc.) creates characters who may, if not erase the MGM cast from the collective conscious of US readers, make them share some space therein. These tinkling, wafty creatures are very comfortable in Baumland--the creator did, after all, want this to be a fairy tale where ``the heart-aches and nightmares are left out''--particularly the Scarecrow, with his stuffed-pillow head, conical hat, and tremendous girth. Zwerger doesn't try to overwhelm the story, and many of the pieces are small expressive exercises of her vision. In an illustrator's note, she says, ``Baum's precise details--his vivid descriptions of the Munchkins, for example--make an illustrator almost superfluous.'' Actually, her paintings lead readers gracefully into the pages, to be surprised and entertained by the story they only think they know from the movie. (Fiction. 7-11) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 April #2

Baum's classic is an eye-opener for those who know it only through countless viewings of the 1939 movie. While the basic plots are identical--Dorothy, Kansas, twister, Oz, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, Cowardly Lion, melted witch, clicking heels, return home--the novel is vastly simpler and waaayyy slower. The biggest disappointment is the Wicked Witch of the West. Deliciously evil on screen, the worst thing she does here is swat Dorothy with an umbrella. After receiving their brains, courage, etc., Dorothy and company have more strange adventures here, but they're entirely forgettable. VERDICT Narrator Tara Sands does an accomplished job of channeling each character according to Baum's descriptions, and this production will charm small children, but older kids and curious adults should stick to the film. Buy appropriately.--Mike Rogers, Babylon, NY

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 April #5

In the first sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a boy named Tip builds a pumpkin-headed stickman that he animates with magic and calls Jack Pumpkinhead. Their adventure begins when the two run away from Tip's evil-sorceress guardian, eventually finding themselves in the company of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and Glinda the Good Witch, along with several other unusual folk, on a quest to determine the legitimate ruler of the Emerald City now that the Wizard has departed. Narrator Tara Sands lends the many characters distinct and appropriate voices. However, at times, her delivery is somewhat stiff and affected, almost like a teacher reading a picture book to small children, rather than an actress embodying a role. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #5

Caldwell's angular, dynamic artwork leans more toward Saturday-morning cartoons than romantic fantasy in the fourth comics adaptation in his All-Action Classics series. His Dorothy is gap-toothed and freckled; the black-eyed and troll-like Munchkins are truly alien; and the witches recall Disney villainesses like Snow White's Queen or The Little Mermaid's Ursula. (Caldwell's Wicked Witch of the West even speaks with a Western twang: "You and yer little furry thing have back-breaking, bone-crunching work to do!") Caldwell follows Baum's original novel rather than the iconic film. The heroes are pursued by the Kalidah, "horrific beasts, with heads like tigers and bodies like bears," and the famous path the four friends follow, as in the original, is called the "road of golden bricks." The humor, though, is his own. "She enslaved and tormented us!" says one Munchkin about the Wicked Witch of the East. "She despoiled our lands!" says a second. "And cut library funding!" adds a third. Caldwell's Wizard of Oz slots conveniently between Spongebob Squarepants and Adventure Time, and readers will fly through this story with the speed of winged monkeys. Ages 10-14. (Nov.)¦

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 June

Gr 3 Up--The second book in Baum's Oz series and the sequel to The Wizard of Oz features many of the elements of the original story and introduces several new characters, including Tip, a young rascal, his guardian Mombi, a witch, and several sidekicks, including Jack Pumpkinhead, They journey to the Emerald City to escape Mombi's wrath and learn that the Scarecrow, the city ruler, has been displaced by General JinJin and her all-girl army, armed with knitting needles. In an effort to restore the Scarecrow to his throne, they travel to the Winkie kingdom ruled by the Tin Woodmen and search out the good witch Glinda. Other helpers include a flying beast named Gump, a highly educated Wogglebug, and some field mice. Narrator Tara Sands deftly moves from one quirky character to another, creating a unique accent and vocal range for each one and giving them emotional depth. For example, Tip's mischievous nature is apparent as he plots to scare Mombie and General JinJin has an authoritative voice as she leads her troops forward. A successful continuation of a much loved story with spot-on narration that will attract new fans.--Edie Ching, University of Maryland, College Park

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

Gr all levels--Follow the yellow brick road into L. Frank Baum's timeless story of adventure, friendship, and longing as Dorothy and her beloved Toto are dropped by a cyclone into a magical land. There they meet the well-known Munchkins, Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion. Dorothy, Toto, and her new friends embark on a fascinating journey. They come upon the beastly Kalidahs, helpful field mice, their beautiful queen, Winkies, and the famed winged monkeys. The story of Dorothy's quest for the mysterious Wizard of Oz and the way home to Kansas is read by actress and author Brooke Shields. Her narration is perfectly paired with the lyrical prose of the enduring story. She invokes a seemingly endless number of spot-on voices for the charming, mysterious, and sometimes evil characters. Shields's interpretation of the Scarecrow is particularly endearing. Special touches include Paul Rudd reading Baum's original introduction to the story and brief musical interludes that begin some chapters. The CD case features a line-and-wash illustration by Brian Floca in which Toto peeks at listeners while the others' eyes are set on the yellow bricks ahead. Listeners of all ages will enjoy this creative narration of an American classic.--Jane Newschwander, Arlington School District, VT

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 February

Gr all levels--Dorothy and her little dog Toto are at home in their farmhouse when a cyclone suddenly lifts the house and deposits it in the fantastic land of the Munchkins. So begins Baum's timeless classic tale of magic and adventure in which Dorothy, along with three traveling companions she meets along the way--the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion--are involved in one adventure after another. Good and bad witches, friendly and unfriendly creatures, deadly poppies, and a dangerous river are just some of the challenges they encounter in their search for The Wizard of Oz, who they believe can grant each one of them their greatest wish: a return home for Dorothy, brains for the Scarecrow, a heart for the Tin Woodman, and courage for the Cowardly Lion. The audio quality of this offering is crisp and clear and Tavia Gilbert's narration is engaging, giving each character a distinct voice. Dorothy's voice is tremulous and has a lilting sing-song quality to it that is at times credulous, bewildered, confident, and consistently believable. The portrayal of the other characters is equally wonderful, with seamless transitions between them. A bonus companion ebook is included on the first CD. An enjoyable listening experience for all ages.--Mary Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 January

Gr 3-6--A contemporary update of a well-known tale. Dorothy is taken from her Kansas farm by a violent twister, ending up in the magical world of Oz. A hero for inadvertently squashing the Wicked Witch of the East, she sets out to meet the Wizard, who she hopes will help her find her way home. Along the way, she picks up a scarecrow without a brain, a tin woodsman lacking a heart, and a lion in need of courage. The group must contend with the Wicked Witch of the West in order to complete their journey, and for Dorothy to find her way home. The text is brief and full of modern touches not present in the source material. Dialogue is snappy, with a liberal use of humor and wisecracks. The animationlike artwork is full of movement and highly stylized, sometimes making it hard to decipher. There is a cinematic feel that will appeal to young readers. While devoted fans of the original might cry heresy, this updated classic should find a different, and more welcoming, reception from kids.--Travis Jonker, Wayland Union Schools, MI

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 November

Gr 3-5 -In this reinterpreted, graphic version, the classic plot stays the same. The dialogue is true to the original, and sometimes clashes with the more updated look. Almost everything in the story has been modernized. The Good Witch of the North wears sunglasses. Dorothy wears jeans. The Tin Woodman sports a buzz saw. The Wicked Witch of the West is both humorous and evil. The black-and-white illustrations are action packed, and the characters, with their Bazooka Joe eyes, combine classic comic touches with the popular manga style. Reluctant readers will gravitate toward the cartoon cover. Any library with a graphic-novel collection (or any library about to start one) will want to include this title.-Sadie Mattox, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA

[Page 174]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 December

Gr 2-7 -Baum's much-loved tale of four unlikely friends and their quest to find the Wizard has been subjected to countless retellings and adaptations, many of them just faint shadows of the original. Here, the entire story is enlivened with luminous watercolors. A combination of full spreads and partial page scenes portrays the group's feats and foibles. As he did so successfully in The Wind in the Willows (Harcourt, 2002), Foreman uses his skillful command of color and light to emphasize the story's sense of adventure and enchantment. Readers many feel a need for sunglasses as they come upon the Emerald City. Subtle humorous details, such as the winged monkeys decked out in Red Baron-style goggles, are sure to elicit chuckles. The expressive fumbling scarecrow is the visual star of the quartet. However, the portrayal of a yellow-haired, nondescript Dorothy is a disappointment. Overall, this is an appealing and accessible alternative to the many cartoon versions of this modern classic.-Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI

[Page 100]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2002 February
Gr 2-8-L. Frank Baum's classic adventure fantasy receives a fine, straightforward treatment on this well-produced book-on-CD. Narrator Adams Morgan tells of Dorothy's adventures in an understated matter, and his less-is-more approach actually enhances the fantastical events occurring in the novel. Morgan does not overplay the characters, flexing his voice just a tad when speaking as the cowardly Lion, the brain-seeking Scarecrow, and the rusty Tin Man. Yet he keeps the action moving at a brisk pace, and makes the story easy to follow and compelling. Listeners only familiar with the legendary 1939 movie will have fun discovering the material not included in the film. The basic story is the same: a cyclone whisks Dorothy to Oz; her house lands on and kills a Wicked Witch; she hopes the great and wonderful Wizard of Oz will transport her back to Kansas; and she is joined on her journey to Oz by the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. In this complete version, the travelers encounter characters who are helpful (the Queen of the Field Mice, Morgan' giddiest characterization), strangely frightening (the bizarre Hammer-Heads), or surrealistic (the girl made of fine china). The Wicked Witch of the West not only sends flying monkeys to attack the heroes, but also wolves, crows, bees, and cowardly slaves called "Winkies." Some listeners may be surprised by the more violent sections of the story (the Tin Man uses his axe to decapitate foes, the Lion twists off the head of an enormous spider). This presentation may not rival Flo Gibson's classic reading of the story (Recorded Books, 1980), but does bring Baum's enthralling world to life.-Brian E. Wilson, Evanston Public Library, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1996 July
Gr 4 Up?If only the superior production values of this audiobook were in service to a better story. The fine vocal characterizations by the actors and actresses really bring the characters to life. To children unaccustomed to read-aloud tapes, using several readers instead of only one will help listeners distinguish who is who. The entire text of the book is narrated, including "he said" and "she said," which allows the tape to be used as a read-along when paired with a copy of the book. Too bad this title is one of Baum's least compelling, even though there are several action scenes. The Emerald City of Oz begins at a snail's pace with the introduction of the villain, Nome King, who wants to destroy the Emerald City and retrieve his magic belt. The beginning also reintroduces Dorothy, Auntie Em, and Uncle Henry. We can look forward to other releases by Piglet Press if they are produced with such a fine cast of actors.-Penny Peck, San Leandro Public Library, CA

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School Library Journal Reviews 1991 December
PreS-Gr 4-- While not precisely a picture-book version, this title features full-color illustrations on every page and a considerably shortened text. Santore's paintings are striking and they effectively mirror the familiar adventures of Dorothy and her friends. Unfortunately, the abridgment of the text is less successful. Much is made of the fact that few additions were made, leaving much of Baum's language intact. However, the deletion of some descriptive and transitional phrases and of various events creates a text that is much flatter and less engaging than the original. While the brevity and brisk tone do make the story suitable for very young listeners, the danger exists that those who have enjoyed Santore's version will never experience the magic of Baum's complete work. This concern, of course, must be weighed against the fine quality of the artwork and the fact that the book will undoubtedly prove useful in many collections. The decision to include abridged texts rests with each library. For those who do include such items, this Wizard of Oz will be a worthwhile investment. --Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 April
Gr 2-7-One of a series of books-on-cassette that are abridged and performed as a play, this was produced to coincide with the re-release of the movie. However, this recording follows the book, not the film. The differences are significant. The book is set inside the frame of gray Kansas, but the film makes that frame much more important than it is in the book. There are no hired hands, and the witchy neighbor does not threaten Toto before the tornado comes. When Dorothy returns from Oz, she lands in a field outside the new house her aunt and uncle built while she was gone, and all Aunt Em says is, "Where in the world did you come from?" This narrow frame makes the story of the journey to Oz the only focus of the story. There are also some new characters to meet that were left out of the film. The recording is technically excellent, with expressive voices and sparingly used music and sound effects. A narrator fills in the gaps where description is necessary. This will be a popular addition to library shelves, although librarians should be prepared to answer questions about the differences.-George Pilling, Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia, CA Copyright 1999 School Library Journal Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1998 August
Gr 1-4-Dorothy is carried by a raging storm to the Land of Ev and meets her old friends from Oz plus Bellina the hen, Tiktok, the Wheelers, and Princess Langwidere. By L. Frank Baum. Narrated by Flo Gibson. Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 2000 November
Gr 2-5-This showstopping pop-up book celebrates the 100th birthday of The Wizard of Oz in a spectacular fashion; from the twister that spins up dizzyingly on the opening spread to the final "And oh, Aunt Em! I'm so glad to be at home again!" clinch, the array of special effects will wow even blasé "seen it all" readers. Not only is Sabuda a wizardly paper engineer, able to pull off a bursting ball of flame, a melting witch, and a balloon rocking gently in the breeze, but he also shows a magic touch with pictorial art, creating colored lino-cut figures that strongly recall those of W. W. Denslow. The large central effects open up like stage settings, and are flanked with accordion-folded insets that contain even more pop-ups, along with an abbreviated text closely based on the original. Nor does the razzle-dazzle stop there, as Dorothy's silver shoes, the yellow brick road, and even the Emerald City are coated with shimmering foil, and by donning the included pair of tinted spectacles, readers are treated to a hidden message on one page. Sabuda's homage to an enduring classic captures its timeless sense of wonder, distinctive characters, and the flavor of its melodrama brilliantly.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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