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The Wizard Of Oz
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K-Gr 6-Rebecca Burns narrates L. Frank Baum's classic work. Her clear voice ably brings the story to life, but she makes little attempt to differentiate between the characters and there are no sound effects. At times, Burns reads with a little too much earnestness. Children familiar only with the classic film will find the original story enlightening. While this version may not rival Flo Gibson's classic narration of the story (Recorded Books, 1980), libraries looking for a traditional reading of this title to complement abridged versions such as the Story Theater edition by Monterey Sound Works, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, will find this offering a suitable choice.-Rachel Davis, Thomas Memorial Library, Cape Elizabeth, ME Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Santore's illustrations for this new edition of Baum's classic tale work on two levels. They capture the story's epic sweep in numerous colorful landscapes and dramatic tableaux, and they are models of sustained characterization. Though the paintings occasionally lapse into Saturday morning TV cartoon art, they generally evoke the many beloved scenes with verve. In contrast to a rather mundane scarecrow, Santore's cowardly lion is a splendid beast--looming over his companions, lower jaw ever a-quiver. The episodes in the Emerald City are appropriately green-tinted (the book's pages, in fact, are green in these sequences) and cleverly framed by faceted, emeraldlike borders. Unfortunately, the text is abridged, and significant sequences and characters are missing. These cuts have robbed Santore of the chance to realize fully his vision of Oz, and readers of the opportunity to enjoy the story as Baum told it. Morrow's facsimile of the first edition illustrated by W. W. Denslow and Holt's edition illustrated by Michael Hague are better versions of this enduring favorite. All ages. (Sept.)

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