Our Coursera Fantasy and Sci Fi book club is discussing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz this week, and this was a wonderful excuse for me to finally read the book. Yes, yes, I have never read it before, but that doesn't mean I'm unfamiliar with the story. There is a wonderful retelling called The Wizard of the Emerald City by Volkov, which was one of the most favourite books of my childhood. I've already talked about it when I made a list of Russian classic children's literature, and now I want to make a list of differences between the two books, which I collected while reading. It was fun!
So, here are the ways in which The Wizard of the Emerald City differs from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:
- The girl's name is Ellie instead of Dorothy
- No witch's feet visible, Toto just finds the shoes and brings them to Ellie
- Toto speaks!
- No magic kiss on Ellie's forehead, the shoes make her untouchable.
- No difference in the prosperity of different munchkins.
- There is a pretty intense encounter with an ogre in the forest. It is before meeting the lion, if I remember correctly.
- There are sabre-toothed tigers instead of Kalidahs.
- I'm pretty sure the tin woodman didn't cut a cat's head off to save the Mice Queen. Ellie just saves her from Toto's barking instead.
- There are no fighting trees or china town. I also have vague remembrance that the fight with the spider is scarier.
- Instead of telescopic neck the fighting guys are just very good jumpers. Less creepy.
- Different colour and name design of the world. The witches all have names, which, I think is much better than a reference to their geographical location.
I have also got an impression that Volkov writes better than Baum, whose writing is too plain and repetitive to my taste. But maybe I'm just too grown-up now to enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed it when I was a kid :) But anyway, in my book Volkov undoubtedly wins!
Speaking of sequels, Volkov has 4 totally amazing ones and the last one that I don't like, and all of them are have nothing to do with Baum's stories. I remember taking some Oz book about a pumpking-head guy in the library, and it totally crept me out, so that I could not finish it. That's why I'm not sure I want to read more Oz books, but you know I love to be made change my mind, so I ask you: are there some amazing books in Oz series that you would recommend?
I'll finish the comparison with the two most famous maps of the two magic countries, because I love maps! Do you still have doubts which is better? :)