Earlier this year I mentioned that I might participate in the Read-a-Long happening at Simpler Pastimes. I ended up reading the famous story yesterday and below are my thoughts on a particular edition of The Wizard of Oz. The illustrations are by Lisbeth Zwerger and she says about the experience of drawing this story:
THE WIZARD OF OZ was new territory for me, and for an illustrator nothing could be better. Since I have no "seriously illustrated edition of the book and I've never seen the complete MGM film, I was able to approach the story with no preconceived ideas.
Oz #1. North South Books (Jan. 1999) Library
After being transported by a cyclone to the land of Oz, Dorothy and her dog are befriended by a scarecrow, a tin man, and a cowardly lion, who accompany her to the Emerald City to look for a wizard who can help Dorothy return home to Kansas.
I had high hopes for The Wizard of Oz because I know this story and the way it was written wasn't complicated. I was able to easily discern what the author meant without too much strain. I don't know whether it was because I tried to read it all in one day or if it dragged on but, I didn't enjoy the story as much as I would have liked.
There's of course new things popping up for me in this story that I wasn't aware happened because I am going by the movie version in my head. It's not like I didn't know the movie didn't have every little thing the book had. The book just simply dragged on for me and I found myself skimming towards the end of the story. Moments felt unnecessary or drawn out and it put me off the whole story itself.
Zwerger's illustrations were very out there compared to the "common" art you find for The Wizard of Oz. I enjoyed the quirkiness of the art. The only thing I didn't like was how the scarecrow was depicted. I wish also for this book that I had the green glasses that came with it which I find to be ingenious. Apparently you would use some green glasses given to you with the book when you were in the Emerald City so you can see the green of the city emerge in front of your very eyes. Even with all this unique art I couldn't find myself enjoying the story.
I feel like I should give it one more try with the graphic novel version. I'll have to read it slow to enjoy Dorothy's tale more. I guess that's just how I have to approach The Wizard of Oz. I feel like no matter what the original story doesn't compare to the movie adaption. Sometimes the movie is better than the book.