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*L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz Graphic Novel* adapted & illustrated by Michael Cavallaro- young readers book review

L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz Graphic Novel
adapted & illustrated by Michael Cavallaro
Ages 9-12 176 pages Puffin Graphics September 2005 Paperback    

Follow the yellow brick road through a comic book creatorís eyes. In Michael Cavallaroís graphic novel version of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale wears and uses silver shoes on her voyage through the Emerald City, and the Wicked Witch of the West wears and uses a powerful Golden Cap to halt Dorothyís progress.

The graphic novel begins with a storm. A cyclone spins Dorothy and her dog Toto away from their family in Kansas to the Land of the Munchkins. On her yellow brick road journey, hoping to get home, Dorothy meets a scarecrow in want of a brain, a tin woodman in want of a heart, and a lion in want of courage. Their destination is the Emerald City, where the Great Oz lives. They each have a special request which they believe only the Great Oz can fulfill.

Although their travels take them through a great forest, the Tin Woodman has a solution for any obstacle that comes their way. His powerful saw comes in handy when they have to get to the other side of an uncrossable gulf, and river. With each successful pass, the friends are brought closer to Oz, and each other. Thanks to the Queen of the Field Mice and a helpful bird, Dorothy and her friends make it safely to the Emerald City. While wearing protective glasses, they each meet with the Great Oz, and they each get an answer to their special request. The friends are told they must do something for the Great Oz before heíll do anything for them - and what he wants them to do is destroy the Wicked Witch of the West.

With no more yellow brick road to follow, the friends cross Winkie Country with their eyes on the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West. Unfortunately, the Wicked Witch of the West sees them first with her telescopic eye. She soon realizes that the crows, wolves, and bees she sends to halt their progress are no match for friends who want to protect one another. Itís not until the Wicked Witch of the West uses her last command on the Winged Monkeys that Dorothy is separated from her friends and brought to the witchís castle. With Dorothy now within reach, the Wicked Witch of the West has only one thing on her mind: stealing the silver shoes from Dorothy.

Because a bucket of water is quite powerful in this story, Dorothy manages to escape. With the help of the Winkies, Dorothy is reunited with her friends. Together they venture back to the Emerald City, where they discover the magic thatís really behind the Great Oz. Although Oz does try his best to keep his promise, itís only when Dorothy meets Glinda the Good Witch that everyone is finally transferred to where they belong.

Originally produced in 1900 by L. Frank Baum and W.W. Denslow, this story is fun to read in graphic novel format. Thereís plenty of action to catch your attention, beginning with the brewing storm in Kansas and continuing until the end with three gigantic steps and a screeching halt. The increasing protection the friends feel toward one another can be seen in these black and white illustrations as well. Two favorite scenes feature the Tin Woodman fighting off the wolves and, in the other, carrying Dorothy out of the Deadly Poppy Field. The extremes these characters go through shows in the illustrations as their physicality and their vulnerability are tested over and over again.

Michael Cavallaro uses pencils, markers, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create his artwork. At the end of the story, a section entitled "The Making of L. Frank Baumís The Wizard of Oz" contains a gallery of different cover designs for this book and various pencil sketches for some of the finished pages. Cavallaro includes some of his art in the middle of the inking process, a page of his illustrations without lettering, and a sequence of his pencil art taken from the beginning of this book.

Enjoy the new look of Oz while reading this longtime story favorite.

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