Sunday, June 10, 2007

Little Wizard Stories of Oz

When L. Frank Baum restarted his Oz series in 1913, after attempting to end it for good in 1910, he published both The Patchwork Girl of Oz and a series of short stories featuring the Oz characters. These short stories were originally published as individual books for young children, but were later collected (in 1914) into a single volume titled Little Wizard Stories of Oz.

The stories are set up much like fables, with morals at the end, and each involves two of the now very familiar Oz characters. The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger teach us that "it's better to be a coward than to do wrong," and "it's better to go hungry... than to be cruel to a little child." The Wizard of Oz teaches Dorothy that "it is really dangerous for a little girl to wander alone in a fairy country." After the Nome King accidentally breaks Tik Tok in a fit of rage, he realizes: "When I am angry I always do something that I am sorry for afterward. So I have firmly resolved never to get angry again." Ozma and the Little Wizard (who is the Wizard of Oz) don't really learn anything, but they teach some mean Imps a lesson by changing them into various things until they learn to behave. After Jack Pumpkinhead falls off the Sawhorse, he learns to take better care of his head. And the Scarecrow and the Tinman learn not to stand up in boats and not to trust crows.

Some of these life lessons are probably more applicable to the average child than others, but they are all pretty fun to read. Plus the whole thing will take about 15 minutes, as it is a super shorty.

As always, you can read them for yourself here or, if you are hip to the new audio technology, you can download the audio files and listen to them on your Ipod or compubot or what-have-you. [And that site is pretty cool if you poke around in it -- I am more of a reader than a book-on-tape listener, but if you like to listen to books in your car or on your Ipod, then check that site out.] Isn't technology nice?

1 comment:

Krouchdog said...

It's crazy that you mentioned the LibriVox site because I just discovered it yesterday. I haven't used it yet, but it seems like an awesome way to pass the time at work. Free literature is always great (except for medical pamphlets about conditions that you happen to have, those are not that great).