Book Cover from the original book, Original film starring Judy Garland, Latest film starring James Franco

If you are entertaining kids this holiday season, consider a movie marathon of the original classic movie The Wizard of Oz (1939, unrated) and Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013, PG). These movies would be suitable for kids, and yet are still enjoyable for adults. Just make sure to watch the original classic movie first!

It’s been a loooong time since I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, so I was amazed at how much I remembered about the original story of Dorothy Gale and her adventures in Oz.  At the same time, however, it was weird how much of what I remembered was intertwined with the first movie. This is a classic American fairytale of young Dorothy Gale, who was blown away in a cyclone to the amazing Land of Oz. While traveling to The Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz to help her get home, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion and invites them to join her on her journey. When the Wizard requires Dorothy to kill the Wicked Witch of the West before he will help her get home, her three friends join her and her dog, Toto, on her quest.

In 1939, when the book became a musical, some elements were added to the storyline that forever changed how people remembered the story. A key element was changing Dorothy from a 10-year-old girl to a teenager so Judy Garland, who was older, could play the part. Some places Dorothy saw or people she met in the book were dropped, while others in the movie were added, such as snow falling on the poppies (movie) instead of having mice pulling the Cowardly Lion out of the poppy field (book).


When the 2013 movie came out, the two previous versions of the story were combined in explaining the back story of how Oz arrived in his balloon and became The Great and Powerful. It also explained how the Wicked Witch of the West became wicked – and turned green. We also got to meet a young girl from the Dainty China Country and see Glinda the Good’s castle.


If you are traveling during the holidays, this story would be great to listen to while driving to Grandma’s house. It would also be a wonderful story to read aloud at bedtime. Fortunately, the Chesapeake Public Library has the book – in print and in audio format – and both The Wizard of Oz and Oz: The Great and Powerful available to check out.

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One thought on “Book vs. Movie (vs. Movie): The Wizard of Oz

  1. I read the book to my son when he was younger and was surprised by the difference between the book and the Judy Garland film, especially the color of the shoes!!

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