The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Annotated)



Published in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a beloved children’s classic by L. Frank Baum. It was adapted in 1939 into an iconic film starring Judy Garland.

In the novel, Dorothy is young farm girl living with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on the Kansas prairie. Their one room home has a storm shelter underground and Dorothy’s bed is in the corner. Dorothy’s best friend and playmate is her loyal dog Toto.

When a tornado strikes, Aunt Em heads yells for Dorothy to get into the storm shelter, but she delays because her beloved Toto is under her bed. The entire house is lifted into the air and carried for miles by the cyclone with Dorothy and Toto inside. The frightened and exhausted Dorothy falls asleep.

Dorothy wakes up in the beautiful, colorful Munchkin Territory in the Land of Oz. A group of three very short men approach her. They are joined by The Witch of the North who thanks Dorothy for killing the Wicked Witch of the East, the evil ruler of the Munchkins.

Unbeknownst to Dorothy, her house had landed on the Wicked Witch of the East and killed her. The legs of the Wicked Witch of the East stick out from under the house, shod in silver shoes. The Witch of the North presents the shoes to Dorothy.

Dorothy is very confused and does not understand where she is. She does not remember killing anyone. And she believes that all witches are evil. The Witch of the North explains that there are good witches and evil witches. The Witches of the North and South are good, while those of the East and West are evil. She also mentions a Great Wizard named Oz.

Dorothy asks the Witch of the North and the munchkins how to get home to Kansas. The Witch of the North tells her to follow the yellow brick road to Oz, as the Great Wizard might know what to do. She kisses Dorothy to grant hersafe passage for her journey to Oz. Before setting off on her journey, Dorothy changes into a blue gingham dress and the silver slippers.

On her journey, Dorothy sees a Scarecrow in a field, who gives her a friendly wink. After her initial surprise, she helps the Scarecrow off his pole and introduces herself and explains where she is going. The Scarecrow asks to join Dorothy on her journey to Oz so that he can ask the wizard for a brain, instead of a head of straw.

Dorothy, Toto, and the Scarecrow continue on their journey to Oz together. While drinking and bathing in a forest in a stream, a rusted Tin Woodman appears. The Tin Woodman is thrilled when Dorothy oils his joints and he can finally move again. After hearing that they are going to Oz, the Tin Woodman asks if he can join them to ask the Wizard of Oz for a heart…