The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Assessment

Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children’s novel written by Lyman Frank Baum and published in 1900. It is the fictional story about a girl named Dorothy who is transported to a magical world where she meets some new and interesting friends as well as one mean enemy. The story has appealed to not only children, but people of all ages and walks of life. The book was eventually made into a movie in 1939 with Judy Garland starring in the role of Dorothy. Although many people love the story, it is generally suited to children between the ages of seven and ten.

Original Text

Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife. Their house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many miles. There were four walls, a floor and a roof, which made one room; and this room contained a rusty looking cookstove, a cupboard for the dishes, a table, three or four chairs, and the beds. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em had a big bed in one corner, and Dorothy a little bed in another corner. There was no garret at all, and no cellar — except a small hole dug in the ground, called a cyclone cellar, where the family could go in case one of those great whirlwinds arose, mighty enough to crush any building in its path. It was reached by a trap door in the middle of the floor, from which a ladder led down into the small, dark hole.

When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached to the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.

When Aunt Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife. The sun and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray; they had taken the red from her cheeks and lips, and they were gray also. She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled now. When Dorothy, who was an orphan, first came to her, Aunt Em had been so startled by the child’s laughter that she would scream and press her hand upon her heart whenever Dorothy’s merry voice reached her ears; and she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find anything to laugh at.

Uncle Henry never laughed. He worked hard from morning till night and did not know what joy was. He was gray also, from his long beard to his rough boots, and he looked stern and solemn, and rarely spoke.

It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings. Toto was not gray; he was a little black dog, with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose. Toto played all day long, and Dorothy played with him, and loved him dearly.

Today, however, they were not playing. Uncle Henry sat upon the doorstep and looked anxiously at the sky, which was even grayer than usual. Dorothy stood in the door with Toto in her arms, and looked at the sky too. Aunt Em was washing the dishes.

From the far north they heard a low wail of the wind, and Uncle Henry and Dorothy could see where the long grass bowed in waves before the coming storm. There now came a sharp whistling in the air from the south, and as they turned their eyes that way they saw ripples in the grass coming from that direction also.

Suddenly Uncle Henry stood up.

“There’s a cyclone coming, Em,” he called to his wife. “I’ll go look after the stock.” Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and horses were kept.

Aunt Em dropped her work and came to the door. One glance told her of the danger close at hand.

“Quick, Dorothy!” she screamed. “Run for the cellar!”

Toto jumped out of Dorothy’s arms and hid under the bed, and the girl started to get him. Aunt Em, badly frightened, threw open the trap door in the floor and climbed down the ladder into the small, dark hole. Dorothy caught Toto at last and started to follow her aunt. When she was halfway across the room there came a great shriek from the wind, and the house shook so hard that she lost her footing and sat down suddenly upon the floor.

Then a strange thing happened.

The house whirled around two or three times and rose slowly through the air. Dorothy felt as if she were going up in a balloon.

Rewritten Text

Dorothy was a nine-year-old girl who lived in the state of Kansas. She lived with her Uncle Henry and his wife, Aunt Em. Uncle Henry was a farmer and Dorothy lived on the farm with them. The house that they lived in was very small. It had only one room. The kitchen and their beds were all in that one room, so it was very crowded. They had to cook, eat their meals and sleep in the same room. The house was so small that it did not even have a basement. It had a small hole dug into the middle of the floor with a small door to cover it. It was called a cyclone basement. A cyclone is something like a tornado. It gets very windy really fast. The winds are very strong and can sometimes pick up a house and blow it across the street.

The house that Dorothy lived in was surrounded by farm land. When she looked out her door, she did not see another house close by. Dorothy sometimes got sad because when it got really hot outside, the grass would dry up. All she saw was mud and that made her unhappy because she loved playing in the green grass. The color of her house made her sad, too. Her Uncle Henry had painted it last summer, but the cold winter and now the hot summer made the paint chip away. This upset Dorothy because she loved looking at pretty colors and now her house was a dull gray color. She did not think it was pretty at all.

Dorothy loved her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, but she missed her parents. Both of her parents died when she was a baby and that made her an orphan. An orphan is a child who no longer has a mother or a father to care for them. Since Uncle Henry and Aunt Em were the only other family Dorothy had, she was sent to live with them. She loved her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em very much, but she sometimes thought they were very boring. Dorothy liked to laugh and play like many children do. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em never laughed and even though they loved Dorothy very much, they never played with her. Dorothy sometimes felt that Uncle Henry and Aunt Em were as dull and gray as the small house they lived in.

Even though Dorothy wished that there were other kids her aged that lived close by to play with, she was lucky to have a small dog named Toto. Toto was a small, black furry dog that followed Dorothy home one day. She loved Toto and he was her best friend. She and Toto were playing in front of the house and she noticed Uncle Henry sitting on the front porch looking up at the sky. When she looked up, she noticed that the sky was not blue anymore. It had turned gray like it does when it is about to rain. All of a sudden, it got very windy. Uncle Henry yelled that a cyclone was coming and that he was going to put the farm animals in the barn. Aunt Em yelled for Dorothy to run and hide in the cyclone cellar.

All of the heavy winds scared Toto and he jumped out of Dorothy’s arms and ran and hid under her bed. Aunt Em was yelling for Dorothy to come to the cellar with her, but Dorothy went after Toto. She reached under the bed and pulled Toto back into her arms. Toto was so afraid that he could not stop shaking. Dorothy held him tightly and turned around to join Aunt Em in the cyclone cellar. When she was about to open the door and climb in with her dog, a strong wind blew through the house knocking her and Toto to the floor. She tried to get back on her feet, but the wind was so strong that she could not stand up. All of a sudden, the house started rocking and then the wind blew really strong and picked up the house with Dorothy and Toto in it and began flying through the air. Dorothy was very, very afraid.

Bibliography

Baum, L.F. (2000). The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 100th Anniversary Edition (Books of Wonder) (100 Anv ed.). New York: HarperCollins.


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