You know the story, a little girl wishing that she could make it over the rainbow to escape the gray tinged life she leads at present only to be confronted with the fact that life may appear greener on the other side (and the whole "technicolor" thing actually makes it so) but "there's no place like home" after all is said and done. Good stuff...but if you've been nodding your head along in agreement to my brief synopsis there, you my friend have not in fact read the story. *cue dramatic music*
I had actually read the story a few years back but when I saw this new illustrated edition hitting store shelves, I knew I had to check it out. More on those pics in a moment, let's talk story. The best thing I can say for those that have only seen the movie is you can keep the images of the primary characters in your mind's eye for placeholders in the story if you wish...but that's about it. Yep. True story.
The land of the Munchkins is far less munchkin-ny and Glinda sparkles WAY less than her supposed taffeta gown though she is still in fact a powerful and very good witch. The infamous shoes are NOT red, the flying monkeys don't actually work for the Wicked Witch on a full time basis, in fact...the Wicked Witch herself plays a very small role in comparison to her betrayal in the movie though Dorothy's journey is still fraught with dangers at every turn. Even the characters themselves are presented in different shades of their personalities. Movie wise, they are weaker and seeking the wizard to actually gain what they lack; book wise, you can really see they've had each "thing" the whole time but merely needed something or someone to point it out (except Dorothy, unless she was hiding a balloon in her back pocket). Quite the contrast but DEFINITELY worth the journey down the road of yellow bricks to discover all there is to see. Now back to this edition in particular...
What makes this edition stand out from the rest? The illustrations (and the hardbound packaging, which I
adore!). It's not your typical lush images that we've come to expect from this story. They are a bit more bleak, a bit more drab and yet they work well with all they depict. From Dorothy's sunny face which is given an extra hint of color in an otherwise fairly monotone landscape to Toto's adorable little self with spunky attitude to spare, from the uncovering of the grand humbug to the reality of the poppy field not the fantasy (though this is a fantasy...right? *-*) and all the way to the melting of the witch herself, it's a happy marriage between story and image. I mean really, who would have thought that the limited color palate used would work so well and that despite the faces of our stout-hearted friends being something other than expected, they'd still be recognizable as themselves beyond a shadow of a doubt.
In conclusion, a worthy read indeed for the seasoned Oz visitor as well as those just journeying past the colors that arc across the sky. It makes sharing the story with a new generation a grand adventure once again not only in text but also in visual aids. Though read by both girls and boys for ages now, I can see this one garnering some additional attention from the fellas as the illustrator's style was developed originally in the skateboarding culture. Definitely a great edition to add to your collection and one that will hold its own against the scores of others already out there.
Review copy received courtesy of Joel at It Books/HarperCollins Publishers. (THANKS!) For more
information on this title as well as their ever growing catalog , be sure to visit their official website, add them on Google+, pin them on Pinterest, like them on Facebook or follow along on Twitter. This book celebrated its book birthday February of this year and should be available now on a bookstore shelf near you.
Until next time...happy reading!