Speaking Volumes: 'Wizard of Oz' just a click away

Special to the HeraldAugust 25, 2013 

If you're thinking "The Wizard of Oz" is about a little girl who hunts witches with a talking scarecrow, a tin man, and a man in a lion costume, you're close, but it's definitely time to review. And, there's no better time than now as MGM's classic 1939 film celebrates its 75th anniversary. Relive Dorothy's journey and fully immerse yourself in the Land of Oz at your local library.

More than a century has passed since L. Frank Baum first transported his readers from the gray expanse of the Kansas prairie to the whimsical, vibrant landscape of Oz in his "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Baum's story has since inspired further literature, plays and films.

Learn about the beginning of the phenomenon with some background of what happened before the iconic film with Mark Evan Swartz's "Oz Before the Rainbow: L. Frank Baum's 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' on Stage and Screen to 1939."

For more of the history surrounding Baum's creation, David L. Greene's "The Oz Scrapbook" takes a look at the original stories, the illustrators who worked with Baum, and the many adaptations and theatrical performances set in the Land of Oz.

For a visual history, John Fricke has put together his "100 years of Oz: a century of classic images from The Wizard of Oz collection of Willard Carroll."

The library is home to the unforgettable 1939 film as well as the classic series of novels beginning with Baum's original book, but if you're feeling nostalgic, try the 1914 film, "His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz." Set after Dorothy's initial adventure, this version continues the tale in a new exploit to rescue Princess Gloria.

For something new, try the 2013 movie, "Oz the Great and Powerful." Disney presents this visually impressive account of the wizard's arrival in the Land of Oz. And for something quite different, Gregory Maguire offers an alternate take on the story in his series, "The Wicked Years," in which he explores the Wicked Witch's side of the story.

Finally, for those scaredy-cats who are wary of ebooks, find your courage to go along with Dorothy's adventure electronically. Let the wonderful librarians of Manatee County guide you in downloading "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" using the library's digital collection on OverDrive.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Danny Bradley is a reference librarian at the Manatee County Central Library.

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