The movie for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz always freaked me out as a kid. Especially the flying monkeys. They are purely terrifying.
Plus, there's that whole thing where the Oz characters are actually people from Dorothy's life - double creepy!
So I was pretty hesitant to read the book.
At first it seemed really similar to the movie, so I was like, "Meh."
The beginning, however, was much better because it didn't waste any time in Kansas. Within the first 3 pages, Dorothy is zipped off in the tornado. There are no silly farm hands or evil neighbor-ladies or strange fortune tellers.
After that, it's pretty much the story you remember from the movie... up until the characters get to Oz!
In the book, the Emerald City is much more fleshed out. We get to see everything and even meet some of its inhabitants. Oz's palace is interesting and his reign is much more developed.
But here's the kicker - in the book, the characters have a whole adventure getting to the Wicked Witch of the West. It's really fascinating! The world is wonderfully developed. And the flying monkeys are NOTHING like in the movie. They're actually quite lovely, thank you very much.
Most interesting to me was:
* How much world-building Baum was able to do in just over 100 pages
* Baum doesn't sugar coat anything. Not even when the lion beheads an enemy with one swipe.
I loved this book!