Read Aloud Thursday::The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum


This week’s Read Aloud Thursday is our latest chapter book read-aloud, which we finished last week.  I picked The Wizard of Oz off our shelf because I thought the girls would like it.  Our copy is one that I’ve had for almost thirty years.  It’s an Illustrated Junior Library Edition published by Grosset & Dunlap, and the inscription on the inside, written in my mother’s hand, says this:  “Amy ______ from Jennifer _______ 7th birthday.”  Incidentally, our copy doesn’t look like the one you see at the left.  Our copy shows a younger Dorothy and a much friendlier looking companions:

The cover of our book has the title embossed in gold, heavily stylized letters, like this title page:

It makes me feel rich to own such beautiful books, and I’d like to own a whole library of such classics! 

This Read Aloud Thursday is not like my usual Read Aloud Thursdays in which I rave over this book or that; I have mixed feelings about this one.  I’ll admit that I read this one without any pre-reading whatsoever, and only a sketchy memory of the movie.  While the book wasn’t too scary for my girls, I just felt a little bit uncomfortable about the witchcraft and wizardry contained therein.  It just felt weird to me–weirder than anything we’ve read so far, I think.  I know that there are those who interpret The Wizard of Oz as more than just the fairytale Baum claimed it to be, but I don’t know much about that.  I don’t really even know why I think it was weird, given the fact that I’ve read some fairly weird things to my children already.  I think it’s the whole Oz the Humbug issue, and the fact that I see many parallels between this story and faith (in God, specifically).  No, I’m not trying to equate God to some wizard or anything like that–it just seemed off somehow for me to be reading this to my girls at their age.  They really got into the plot, though, and were excited every day to read it, so I persevered.  It doesn’t seem to have negatively affected them.  ;-)  On a positive note, there are elements of the story that really reminded me of Pilgrim’s Progress, so maybe I’ll pull out my children’s version and read that to them soon.  :-)

ETA:  Janet wrote a much more knowledgeable appraisal of this classic story.  If you’re interested, please check it out!

Whoa.  I never meant to post such a heavy Read Aloud Thursday It does lead me to a question, though–have any of you ever read something to your children that you’ve regretted or thought better of later?  Please tell me I’m not alone! 

What have you been reading together this week?  Link up below, or simply leave a comment and tell us about it!

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Have a terrific Read Aloud Thursday!

13 thoughts on “Read Aloud Thursday::The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum”

  1. I’m with you on everything you say here — owning beautiful books and having questions about Wizard when I read it. I wrote about it here: http://www.acrossthepage.net/2009/07/08/off-to-see-the-wizard/

    Sometimes I’ve read books to the girls that I feel a little uncomfortable about, though that will be more of an issue as they come to do more reading independently. I’m trying to get myself ready to be the kind of mother who doesn’t censor their reading, but who they feel comfortable discussing it with, by fielding their questions or raising some myself when we read something that seems to raise a flag.

    I can tell you a movie I desperately regret, though: Up. One daughter jumped ship just partway in. The other watched it all the way to the end and still lies awake at night thinking about it sometimes. (It was MONTHS ago that we watched it.) Sheesh.

    1. DH and I saw Up on our anniversary (our tenth!) last year, but our girls haven’t seen it. I can see that it might be upsetting, though. I think we’ll wait a long while for that one!

      I thought it was a beautifully done movie, though. :-)

  2. There have been several story books that we’ve started and have been abandoned (or after I read it the first time, they mysteriously popped right back into the library bag instead of us reading them again). I’ve never read the Wizard of Oz book so I’ll take your word for it and save it for a while.

    1. Yes, I’ve done the same thing, Stephanie. For some reason I felt like we were too far into this one to quit without a lot of consternation from my girls.

  3. YES! Ok, good. I didn’t really think the book was all that wonderful for being the classic it is. I enjoy the movie so much more and think I’ll leave it at that. That aside, I think that it’s a positively delightful thing to own pretty books. ;) Love that. I’m convinced it makes the reading experience that much richer.

    We actually stopped reading My Father’s Dragon because the attitude of the boy towards his mother. I knwo you and Stephanie both loved it and I think, as Stephanie pointed out, her kids are older and understand certain behaviors are good and certain behaviors are bad. While Bookworm1 certainly is aware of our expectations for his behavior, he’s only just catching on that there are other kids with other attitudes that we do NOT like. And so I set the book aside until we can better explain ourselves to him.

    I didn’t mention Tumtum & Nutmeg in my post, but we’re still reading that as well and enjoying it THOROUGHLY! =D

    http://www.readingmylibrary.com/2010/04/read-aloud-thursday-poetry.html

  4. I’m afraid I had to skim over some parts of Little House in the Big Woods with my preschooler because I just didn’t want to explain certain things to her yet. I’ve also mentioned The Frog Prince books on my blog.

  5. Just now we read “Top of the World” from Toot and Puddle series. I really dislike the premise where Toot just left “on the whim” without telling anyone where he is going. There were also a few books when I had to tell daughter that while the characters are behaving in a certain way, it’s not OK in our house to do so (for example, to draw on the walls).

  6. Thanks for the link, Amy. :-)

    You were much wiser about Up. I don’t know what I was thinking… Our girls have never even been to a movie theatre, and they’ve watched very few movies.

    (Still wasn’t as bad as ‘Night at the Museum,’ which they showed in kindergarten the year my oldest was in school…)

  7. I recently read Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” to my big and little girls (14 and 5 – quite a spread!). It is a beautiful edition with illustrations by Rachel Isadora. The little girl dies, peacefully, on a cold street corner, joining her grandmother in heaven because nobody here on earth loved her.
    Dd2 was fine, fascinated, actually. But dd1 was shocked, and spent a while screaming that it was a TERRIBLE book. I don’t know if I regret reading it. I would rather read my children something sad but REAL (ie genuine thoughtful literature, a “living book”) than all the Disney princesses out there. So I don’t regret reading it, but was surprised at how strong dd1’s reaction was.
    One book I regret reading is Miffy’s Magnifying Glass. It’s a cute story about a bunny and the things she sees through her magnifying glass, and then at the end, a perfectly gratuitous close-up of a pile of poo. Why?? I’m not horrified by bodily functions, but why do babies need a picture of this in a board book??? :-)
    This week, among other things, we are reading James Thurber’s Many Moons along with a story I wrote about Ruth and Naomi for an upcoming Jewish holiday – because I couldn’t find one that was good enough for my kids!

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