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Picks and Pans Review: The Wizard of Oz

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by L. Frank Baum

It’s surprising now (since the 1939 movie version with Judy Garland has become one of the most adored classics) that when the film first came out, some people didn’t think it was nearly as good as the book, which had been published in 1900. But in Baum’s story, a lot of serious, magical things happen. In the film these are shown literally, and where magic is concerned, of course, imagination is almost always more exciting than a literal image. Now an attractive reissue of Baum’s story, with winsome new drawings by illustrator Michael Hague, proves the point definitively: It is far better than the movie. (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $18.95)