Friday, 2 March 2012

Wonderful, Wonderful, what can I say but Oh Wow

To celebrate World Book Day our school asked all different sorts of people--teachers, teaching assistants, the caretakers, parent volunteers, the sport leaders and even the nice lady vicar who does assemblies for us occasionally--to give a 2 minute talk about their favourite book just to show children that we are all still passionate reader as adults. There was talk of a voting at the end to see which book the children liked most. Well, with that thought in mind I set my sights on winning. Nobody can enthuse on books like me. FACT.

I made the obvious choice and talked about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Here is a transcription of my speech:

Anyone who knows me knows that my favourite book is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. This book was originally written in 1900 and is currently being printed in comic book format by Marvel Comics.
This was my favourite book as a child and it is still my favourite book today. I am an Oz collector and I have about a dozen different illustrated version of this book on my shelves. I even have Oz Barbie dolls! If you look at my water bottle there is a picture from the book.

Many of you think you may know the story if you have seen the film. Raise your hand if you have seen the film The Wizard of Oz? (lots of hands go up)

If I were to ask you what colour Dorothy’s shoes were you would say….(everyone shouts RED!) and I would reply WAH WAH! (annoying buzzer sound like you get on game shows when you are wrong) because they are only red in the film because red looked better on camera. In the book they are silver.
this is from The Wiz

But it is the story of Dorothy Gale who is whisked away by a cyclone and flies over the rainbow to the Land of Oz where her house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East and kills her. She meets a talking scarecrow, a man made out of tin and a cowardly lion and they travel to the Emerald City. And why was the Emerald City green? (produces green 3D glasses) Because everyone in the city had to wear green tinted spectacles to make everything seem green even when it wasn’t. That’s from the book. (puts glasses away)

The wizard tells them they have to kill the Wicked Witch of the West. Now if you’ve seen the film at this point Dorothy starts to cry. A lot. (does best whingy Dorothy impression)
oh Boo hoo, save me. The witch has locked me in the castle. Help me. Boo hoo hoo.”
Well it’s not like that it in the book. For one thing Dorothy is only 7 years old not a teenager like she is portrayed in the film. And she’s not a blubber-box. In the book Dorothy is brave and clever and resourceful--she’s not sitting around waiting for someone to save her--she's out there doing the saving! 

This is a wonderful adventure book for both boys and girls who enjoy fantasy and imaginary worlds with a little bit of danger and scariness thrown in. If you like the book then you’re in luck because the author wrote 13 other books about the Land of Oz. We have the second book, The Marvellous Land of Oz, in audio library--so come see me on Tuesday.

I believe that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the best and most magical book in the world and if you don’t agree then,

“I’ll get you my pretty--and your little dog too!”
Ok, that last bit was a shameless piece of theatrics that is not even found in the book. I just happen to do a mean Margaret Hamilton impersonation. Well, I brought the house down. Out of 200 kids, one or two voted for The Secret Garden, Black Beauty and The Witches and the rest but  about 190 kids voted for me! But really they were voting for the book.

Many children spoke to me afterwards and wanted to know more about the book, the rest of the Oz books or to share something Oz related with me such as the fact that saw the revival of the musical in London. Because the book were written so long ago I believe all of them are in the public domain and can be downloaded for free on your Kindle or other e-reader device and so I am preparing a sheet that explains where to go and what to get for the children who can access that. I also hope to purchase a few copies for the school library--perhaps with some other Oz books like The Tin Woodman of Oz or the Patchwork Girl of Oz (my other 2 favourites)

Happy reading!


  1. BRAVO TO YOU-------------and to me for reading you all 14 books chapter by chapter over a couple of years time. (That was back when both of our butts would fit in one recliner chair at the same time.) My memory says during 1st and 2nd I right?