Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

 Wizard of Oz Tor edition

The (Wonderful) Wizard of Oz (1900)
a fantasy classic

Tor classic paperback
cover art by Richard Lauter
168 pages - 1993 (left)

100th Anniversary edition
cover art by W.W. Denslow (right)

Wizard of Oz 100th Anniversary

From the back cover of the Del Rey paperback:
       In which Dorothy Gale is whisked from Kansas to the magical land of Oz where -- with a Scarecrow, a Tin Woodman, and a Cowardly Lion -- she sets off to find the illusive Wizard.

From the back cover of the Tor paperback:
       In a terrifying instant of darkness, a tornado snatches up Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto, whirling them on the wild wind out of Kansas and straight to Oz.
       In this wondrous world of sorcery and danger, Munchkins, flying monkeys, talking mice and fighting trees, all Dorothy wants to do is go home...
       Together with the Scarecrow who wants a brain, the Tin Man who wants a heart, and the Cowardly Lion who wants courage, Dorothy and Toto must follow the Yellow Brick Road to find the Wizard of the Emerald City.  But before the Wizard of Oz will grant their wishes, Dorothy and her friends must do the impossible -- destroy the all-powerful Wicked Witch of the West...

Read for group discussion on June 11, 2003

More book covers: The Wizard of Oz
Wizard of Oz Little Unicorn edition The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Whitman edition Wizard of Oz Del Rey edition
Little Unicorn hardcover
illustrated by Greg Hildebrandt
abridged edition - 1988
Whitman illustrated hardcover
illustrated by Erika Markling
210 pages - 1970
Del Rey illustrated paperback
cover art by Michael Herring
219 pages - current

How we each rated this book

Dan 8 Amy 7 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 8 Barb -
Aaron 8 Cynthia 8
Jackie 8 Ron 6
Christine 8 Mitch -
Amelia -

Aaron's Commentary  L. Frank Baum - The Wizard of Oz

       A fairy tale with distinctly American sensibilities, this novel was hugely influential from its first appearance, and remains wonderfully entertaining even a century later.  L. Frank Baum was endlessly imaginative and inventive, and was consistently able to create engaging characters out of bizarre ideas.

       He also included plenty of food for thought for young readers and their parents, although in a less heavy-handed way than traditional fairy tales.  My favorite lesson is the way the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion each believes he is lacking the one attribute he actually has in the greatest abundance: the Scarecrow is always figuring out clever ways to escape trouble, but thinks he has no brain; the Tin Woodman is tremendously compassionate, yet believes he has no heart; and the Cowardly Lion is fierce and determined, but convinced he has no courage.  Could it be that there are people in Kansas who behave the very same way?

What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to

The Wizard of Oz, the movie:
he beloved classic fantasy movie The Wizard of Oz is primarily based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  The book came first in 1900, the movie was released by MGM nearly 40 years later, in 1939.  It's one of the most famous movies of all time. 

       The movie stars Judy Garland (Dorothy), Ray Bolger (Hunk/Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Hickory/Tin Man), Bert Lahr (Zeke/Cowardly Lion), Margaret Hamilton (Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West), Billie Burke (Glinda, the Witch of the North), and Frank Morgan (Professor Marvel/Wizard of Oz).  Directed by Victor Fleming (color), King Vidor (sepia).  Screenplay by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Wolfe.  Movie running time 102 minutes.

L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) was a US fantasy writer primarily of children's fantasy books. The L stands for Lyman.

The Oz series
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  (1900) also titled The Wizard of Oz
The Marvelous Land of Oz  (1904) also titled The Land of Oz
Ozma of Oz  (1907)
Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz  (1908)
The Road to Oz  (1909)
The Emerald City of Oz  (1910)
The Patchwork Girl of Oz  (1913)
Tik-Tok of Oz  (1914)
The Scarecrow of Oz  (1915)
Rinkitink in Oz  (1916)
The Lost Princess of Oz  (1917)
The Tin Woodman of Oz  (1918)
The Magic of Oz  (1919)
Glinda of Oz  (1920)

Six volumes of tales for younger children were published in 1914 as the Little Wizard Series. They were reissued in one volume as Little Wizard Stories of Oz (1939 UK).

After Baum's death, Ruth Plumly Thompson wrote 19 additional Oz sequels between 1921 and 1939. Oz Illustrator John R. Neill wrote 4 Oz books in the 1940s. Numerous other authors (dozens of them!) have written Oz books.

Other books by L. Frank Baum
Mother Goose in Prose (collection, 1899, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish), A New Wonderland (1900), Dot and Tot in Fairyland (1901 chapbook), American Fairy Tales (collection 1901), The Master Key: An Electrical Fairy Tale (1901), The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902), A Kidnapped Santa Claus (1904), The Enchanted Island of Yew (1903), Queen Zixi of Ix, or The Story of the Magic Cloak (1905), John Dough and the Cherub (1906), The Last Egyptian: A Romance of the Nile (1908, a novel for adults not children), The Sea Fairies (1911), Sky Island (1912, sequel to The Sea Fairies), Jaglon and the Tiger Fairies (1953), The Purple Dragon and Other Fantasies (collection 1976), and Animal Fairy Tales (collection 1989).

L. Frank Baum - Wikipedia
The Man Behind the Curtain: L Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum: Royal Historian of Oz, timeline of Baum's life
International Wizard of Oz Club
The Wizard of Oz: An American Fairytale (Library of Congress Exhibition)
The Project Gutenberg (online book) Etext of The Wizard of Oz
Ruth Plumly Thompson Bibliography, author of more OZ books

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