Welcome to September, a time when kids of all ages return to classrooms and assigned reading, as well as sharing notes with classmates. We at Datalogics have fond memories of the adventure stories we read in school: stories that transported us to wild frontiers, dangerous landscapes, future imaginings, and the beloved realms of Neverland and Oz. Our book club theme of the month is “Back to School Classroom Classics.” This selection includes Jack London’s survival stories, “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells, “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie, and our September book club pick, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Besides the fond memory of these stories, we are also dedicating this month to our customers who are inventing customized and collaborative reading systems for education.
Before the 1939 film existed in all its brand-new Technicolor glory, the Oz series by L. Frank Baum captured imaginations of avid readers across the country. The first book in the series, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” was published in 1900. While inspired by the classic fairy tales of the Brother Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, Baum set out to create a specifically American fairy tale focusing on the wonders rather than the horrors. (Perhaps this is why he dropped a house on the Wicked Witch at the start of the story!) Dorothy, inspired in part by Lewis Carroll’s famous protagonist in Alice in Wonderland, travels to a magical land that includes the cornfields and scarecrows of the American Midwest rather than the hedge mazes and forests of the English countryside. The story of the Wizard of Oz was so beloved by children of the time that L. Frank Baum was convinced by his young fans to write thirteen sequels, including “Ozma of Oz” and “The Patchwork Girl of Oz.”
The DL Book Club is looking forward to revisiting this familiar story and discovering differences between the book and film versions. For instance, Dorothy’s famous ruby slippers from the movie are actually silver in the book. We’re looking forward to this nostalgic visit over the rainbow.