Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Royal Book of Oz

Another book I just finished is The Royal Book of Oz, the 15th book in the Oz series.

It was about a year and a half ago that I re-read L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I read it when I was a child and knew there were other Oz books, but I never got past the first. Like I've said before, I've never been a good reader. This time, however, I had such a great time reading it I decided to continue on. My wife just happened to have a copy of the 2nd book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, buried in a box in the basement. So to make a long story short, here we are at book 15.

The Royal Book of Oz is actually the first in the series not written by L. Frank Baum, even though many copies credit him as the writer. It was actually written by the 2nd Royal Historian of Oz, Ruth Plumly Thompson.

The story concerns the Scarecrow's search for his family. This leads him on an adventure which sends him deep underground to a place called the Silver Island, where he finds out he is actually the current incarnation of an emperor called Chang Wang Woe.

I've really enjoyed the Oz books. They aren't without their flaws, but I find myself getting more and more intrigued with this amazing world with every book. If you read through the Oz books you will definitely find some inconsistencies. It's clear that Baum was making it up as he went. The world isn't as well laid out as say Tolkien's middle earth, but I think that's one of the things I enjoy about Oz.

Of course, I love the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz." It's one of the best films ever made. But there's a part of me that would love to see Oz brought to the screen again, in a style more like what we've seen recently with Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films and last year's version of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe." It'll never happen, of course. Can you imagine the fuss people would make about a new version of "The Wizard of Oz."

1 comment:

malak said...

I'm reading "The Royal Book of Oz" now. I have the admit that a few of the middle books that Baum wrote I skipped, and a couple I found pretty boring - "The Road to Oz" for example, I had a hard time finding much of a plot in. But then they started getting better again, which I'm very happy about.

Regarding "making it up as he went" I have to agree; however in a way it reminds me of the old "text adventure" games I played in the early 90s; quite magical really.