Recently, I sought out an opportunity to be a volunteer reader for a local publishing company where I lived. As a volunteer reader, I would be reading manuscripts and offering my recommendations on whether the publishing company should give the manuscript consideration. To apply, I was asked to write a brief report on any story I have read in the past. Having read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz recently, with plans to write a review on it, I thought why not now, and wrote the report on it.
Unfortunately, I was not selected, due to a large pool of candidates, as they say, but nevertheless, I enjoyed writing the report and want to share it with all 🙂
L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is a fiction novel that tells the story of a Kansas girl named Dorothy. In an unfortunate event, Dorothy is taking by a cyclone to an unknown land, where she meets a witch who instructs her to follow the yellow brick road to see the wizard of Oz, who can send her home.
Throughout her journey she meets a scarecrow, lion, and tin man all seeking the wizard to grant their wishes. They face many challenges as they are travel through the forests and later on a mission to kill the wicked witch.
Being disappointed in discovering who the wizard of Oz really is, they set out on a final journey to see Glinda, the good witch, who helps them realize that everything they are seeking they already possessed within themselves, even down to Dorothy’s ability to go home. With 3 claps of her silver shoes, a gift from the wicked witch, she finds herself back home.
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is humorous and entertaining throughout. The story’s strong point is in its unique use of dialogue, which brings the entire story to life. The narrative language is relaxed and highly descriptive. Careful attention is given to detail especially in describing the images and lifestyle of characters from each place visited. Humor comes mainly from the dialogue, which is full of sarcasm and honesty. Each of the main characters have very different personalities that can vividly be seen in their dialogue. Some examples are:
Dialogue between Dorothy and Scarecrow:
“I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.”
“That is because you have no brains.” (30)
Dialogue of Scarecrow to Dorothy and Tin Man (when escaping the poppy fields and leaving the sleeping lion behind):
“I’m sorry, …the Lion was a very good comrade for one so cowardly. But let us go on.” (78)
The story gets straight to the point and does not rest or rely on extensive back stories or introductions. Immediately upon reading the story, you are quickly introduced to Dorothy and her family and suddenly the incident with the cyclone happens. By the time you reach page 8, her journey begins.
With this in mind, the story has some weaknesses. Possibly a result of the time period it was written or the writer’s personal style, the grammar and sentence structure is awkward or difficult to understand in certain places of the story. Some examples are:
Dialogue of Dorothy to Lion:
“Don’t you dare to bite Toto!” (50)
Dialogue of Dorothy to inhabitants of Emerald City:
“…and he is a great coward, too; so that he will be more afraid of you than you are of him” (94).
This may be a distraction for some readers and take their attention away from the story.
The content of the story may be lacking in some areas, especially in the beginning and end. Although getting straight to the point in the beginning of the story may be preferred for some readers, and abrupt ending will generally disappoint readers. The ending is cut short once Dorothy arrives back to Kansas. In fact, there is a separate chapter of Dorothy arriving back to Kansas, but it is only a paragraph long. The reader does not get information on how long Dorothy was gone, whether she was actually gone or in a coma (such as in the 1930s movie version), and what conversation Dorothy had with her family concerning her journey. This is disappointing because the bulk of the story—Dorothy’s journey in Oz, was robust and in depth with experiences and challenges. However, the beginning and end are a big contrast.
In sum, I would recommend The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for publication with [Publishing Comp] with consideration to revisions. The story is interesting throughout and easy to follow. It will appeal to any age group so its market is not limited. However, the story will be stronger with expansion of at least the ending to answer questions mentioned earlier that readers will likely have. Good editing in grammar and sentence structure can help smooth out dialogue that is difficult to understand.