Saturday, February 11, 2006

Latest Oz readings, plus a quick movie review

The last two Oz books I've read? First, the second edition of The Wizardry of Oz. As in the first edition, this is a terrific behind-the-scenes look at the making of the famous 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz. It's more of a technical book, examining scenic design and construction, make-up and costuming, and the like. (Those more interested in the big picture would be better off with The Making of The Wizard of Oz or The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History.) The Wizardry of Oz also has as complete a list of people who worked on the movie as is humanly possible—and that's no mean feat.

The other book was the third volume in Melody Grandy's The Seven Blue Mountains of Oz trilogy, Zim Greenleaf of Oz. This has been a terrific series, and I'm sad to see it end, as Zim Greenleaf is a wonderful character. He's a botonist-sorcerer, and Grandy has done a terrific job of not only developing him as a character, but also expanding on Oz in general. A lot of the recent Oz books just haven't seemed to quite gotten the idea of Oz, but Grandy is not only an exception, she also has a wonderful sense of what it takes to move Oz forward. I hope she can write more Oz stories in the future.

I got to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at last the other day, and it was absolutely wonderful. Like Melody Grandy's Oz books, the makers of this movie got the spirit right. They stayed close to the book, but weren't slaves to it. The casting and production were just right, and overall I was very impressed. So why do I mention it here? I was introduced to both Oz and Narnia at practically the same time. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Hanford, read both The Wizard of Oz and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to us, and let me read some of the other books in the series that she had as well. The two series are very closely linked for me, and I'd been looking forward to seeing this movie for a long time. Fortunately, my time and finances finally came together to a point where I could go just the other day. So Oz fans, if you want to see a good modern-day Oz-esque movie, go see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I think it would be a foolish idea to make a new film version of The Wizard of Oz because of the freakishly long shadow cast by the Judy Garland version, but if someone were to do it, this would be a good template of how to do it.

Finally, thanks to those who bought Halloween costumes and Christmas presents through my website's bookshop, I've just gotten a huge load of new books from, so I will have plenty of material for this blog for months to come!

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