I still remember the first time I saw the movie huddled around the television with my sisters and Mom…a bowl of popcorn within reach. It was mesmerizing to watch the tale unfold.
L. Frank Baum wrote 14 books in the series. As years passed there came plays and countless discussions of the themes in Oz. One would think everything had been covered concerning the story. Well, bust my buttons, thanks to the creative mind of WAR HORSE author Michael Morpurgo, he has rewritten the story from Toto’s viewpoint. Why didn’t I think of that?
As the story opens a much older Toto sits back and tells his version of what happened to a litter of pups including one called Tiny Toto. Accompanying the story are colorful illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark. The book would be great for any Oz loving fan and as a read aloud. It for sure will find a special place on family bookshelves everywhere.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017 PAGE COUNT: 284
FULL PLOT (From Harper Collins)
From master storyteller MICHAEL MORPURGO, and illustrated in stunning colour by the award-winning EMMA CHICHESTER CLARK, comes a surprising, charming and uplifting twist on The Wizard of Oz, told by a very special and unforgettable character: Dorothy’s pet dog, Toto. A perfect, collectible gift for all children (and children at heart).
“I was there,” Papa Toto said, and those magic words sent shivers down my spine. It was going to be the Wizard story. “Dorothy and me were both there.”
We were all silent, snuggled up together, waiting, waiting.
Then Papa Toto began…
When a twister descends on their Kansas farm, Toto and his owner Dorothy hide in the house – only to be plucked into the air and whisked away!
Coming down with a crash in the mysterious land of Oz, the pair meet a series of extraordinary characters: a scarecrow who believes he has no brains, a tin man without a heart, and a cowardly lion who may not be as cowardly as he thinks he is.
But Toto and Dorothy are desperate to return home – after all, home is home, and home is best! So they set off with their new friends on a journey down the yellow brick road to find the only person who might be able to help them: the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
But what they find might surprise them. And on the way, all of them will learn that what they think they are missing might have been there, all along…
Beautifully illustrated throughout, this is an unforgettable telling of a classic story, and a must for every bookshelf.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: TOTO—THE DOG-GONE AMAZING STORY OF THE WIZARD OF OZ by Michael Morpurgo
- There is a perfect balance of text and illustrations. Some are full page and others break up the text but they never overwhelm each other. The lines of text are easy on the eyes, spaced apart just enough.
- If you’ve seen the movie and haven’t read L. Frank Baum’s books, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the additional plot twists Toto adds in.
- Toto is a nice dog but isn’t afraid to throw out his opinion on things. Some are hilarious.
- The fifteen chapters fly by in a hurry and did I ever get the looks while reading this as I waited for a haircut. I just smiled and turned the page.
- A nice ending epilogue lets Tiny Toto put it all into perspective.
Lion and I padded along together ahead of the others, the best of friends, on the lookout for trouble, and behind us came the rest, arm in arm, sometimes singing as they went, Tin Woodman’s great feet clanking on the yellow brick road. There was never a happier band, except for two things—I was getting mighty fed up by this time with eating nothing but nuts, and Dorothy’s singing wasn’t getting any better either.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael Morpurgo is one of Great Britain’s best-loved writers for children. He has written over 100 books and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Whitbread Award. His recent bestselling novels include Pinocchio, Listen to the Moon and An Eagle in the Snow. His novel War Horse has been successfully adapted as a West End and Broadway theater play and a major film by Steven Spielberg. A former Children’s Laureate, Michael is also the co-founder, with his wife Clare, of the charity Farms for City Children. (For More visit Michael’s website)
Make a comment below if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.
I love Morpurgo, but I was just confused as to why he wrote this. It’s just a retelling of the same story, and you’d be surprised how few students watch the movie now that it’s not on tv every March. My mother used to tell us the horses changed colors because we were tired and needed to go to bed!
My mom never tried that line. I think this book would appeal to Oz loving fans who can’t get enough of the story. The movie still pops up on cable channels. I do know a teacher who has devoted an entire room to her OZ collection. It’s painted green. I didn’t give her my copy of the book but instead donated it to the local library.
I like the idea of the story being told from Toto’s viewpoint. I think kids would read it!
I think they would too if they already knew the story. The cover is probably a bit too silly to pull in most older MG readers.
This sounds so fun–a fresh twist on a well-known story. I remember loving the lesser known Oz books as a kid…this reminds me I should really pull those out and get reacquainted!
I love this book already and put it on my birthday wishlist. I always quote Wizard of Oz and tend to sing If I Only Had a Brain a bit too often…
I wondered if this book would be good (how many times can you tell the same story) but you’ve convinced me.
Sounds like a lot of fun for Oz fans. Stories written from a dog’s point of view can be funny if done well.
That sounds so cool! I was never a fan of Oz but I do love books from animals POVs. Thanks!
I love Morpugo’s writing and I love retellings of classic stories of all kinds. Wicked is one of my favorite plays for that very reason. This is a very clever idea. I will look for it. Thanks for the post.
I’m checking this one out, sounds fun. And I’m glad to have discovered your blog!