Cindy Thomson’s newest novel, Annie’s Stories (Tyndale House Publishers, July 2014,) features a character reading the “new”book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The book appears prominently on the cover. Thomson’s Ellis Island Series contains the struggles and perils early twentieth century immigrants overcame to live in a new country.
You can learn more at http://www.cindyswriting.com on at these links.
Similarities Between the Wizard of Oz Book and Movie
When most people think of the Wizard of Oz they think of the movie with Judy Garland. That’s understandable since it’s become an American icon, but like many good movies it started with a book. L. Frank Baum is considered by many to be The Father of the American Fairy Tale because of his 1900 book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
When I was in the dreaming stage of writing my novel, Annie’s Stories, I thought about a character who was a long way from home and who dreamed of something better than what life had dealt her so far. I realized that Baum’s book had been introduced during the time I wanted to set my story, and right from the start it was a runaway bestseller.
I imagined my character reading the book and identifying somewhat with Dorothy Gale. Because my character was reading the book, I had to too, and I found it to be different from the movie in some ways and not so different in others. For instance, if you haven’t read Baum’s original version you might not know these things:
- Dorothy’s slippers were silver, not red.
- There were many kingdoms in Oz, not just Winkie Country, Munchkin Country, and the Emerald City. There were the Mifkets, Merryland, Quadling Country, and the Land of Ev, to mention just a few.
- The movie’s rendition of Mrs. Gulch wanting to take Toto away and have him destroyed was not in Baum’s original tale.
- The Good Witch of the North was a little, old woman, not the glamorous Glinda the movie presented. Glinda is in the book, however, and she is good and beautiful, but she is the ruler of the Quadlings and is far away on the other side of an impassable desert in the South, not the North. Dorothy does not meet her until the end of the book.
- The Good Witch gives Dorothy the silver shoes, noting that there was some charm associated with them, but she never knew what it was. In the movie the Wicked Witch of the West comes after them, and Glinda quickly puts them on Dorothy. In the book, Dorothy doesn’t put the shoes on until later when she realizes she needs better shoes for the journey on the Yellow Brick Road. Baum’s story doesn’t make you wonder, the way the movie might, why the Good Witch never told Dorothy from the beginning that the shoes could get her home.
- The winged monkeys actually help Dorothy in the end when she needs to travel to Glinda for help. Getting there is another journey with lots of adventures in strange lands, similar to getting to Oz.
- Dorothy’s adventure was not a dream.
There are other differences as well. What is the same?
- Color. Baum’s use of color in his tale certainly influenced MGM who wanted a movie to show off Technicolor. Kansas was gray. Oz was green, and the rest of the land was beautifully colored. The illustrations by W.W. Denslow were a major part of the book’s appeal, just as revolutionary as the story at the time.
- The main characters are all there, and they are all after the same things as in the movie.
- Glinda does tell Dorothy, referring to the shoes: “If you had known their power, you could have gone back to your Aunt Em the very first day you came to this country.”This makes more sense to me with Glinda not being the same witch who had given them to her. But for movies you have to condense things.
- Dorothy was told to “knock the heels together three times.”She was to command them to take her wherever she wanted to go, and they did.
- While Dorothy didn’t say the famous line, “There’s no place like home”while clicking her heels, she did say it earlier. (She said, “Take me home to Aunt Em!”when she clicked her heels.) When talking to the Scarecrow, she said, “No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”Baum wrote other books, including a long series of Oz tales, but no other book had the impact The Wonderful Wizard of Oz did. The story still resonates today, and that’s why I wanted to use it in my novel, Annie’s Stories.
by Cindy Thomson
Book 2 Ellis Island Series
The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment—they’re a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House. But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie—and in her father’s unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.
To purchase her books from various retailors, click this link.