I remember when I was little, staying up to watch The Wizard of Oz, which played occasionally on network television. My parents would pop popcorn, and my brothers and I would huddle together on the couch watching Dorothy’s journey into the magical land of Oz. We’d sing along with Judy Garland as she sang, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and would hide under our blankets when the Wicked Witch of the West let out her eerie cackle. With the recent release of Oz the Great and Powerful, it seems as though The Wizard of Oz will be making a comeback in the hearts of children everywhere. Here are some ways to celebrate the magic of the story with your kids:
Watch The Wizard of Oz. If they haven’t seen it, it’s a good idea to watch the movie with them before they see the prequel stories, because it gives important information that they’ll need to know in order to fully understand. Pop some popcorn and have a blanket handy for the scary parts! If your kids are little, they might be afraid of the wicked witch sequences; use your discretion. If you’ve forgotten the special effects and scary parts, watch it yourself first so that you can make an educated decision about whether your kids are ready.
Read the Books of Wonder Oz series by L. Frank Baum. This is a kid-friendly trilogy that sets the story of the wizard, Dorothy, Toto and the other characters. The movie doesn’t follow the books exactly, of course, but it makes for good bedtime or rainy afternoon reading.
See Wicked, the musical. This is the story of the three witches before The Wizard of Oz. First, a warning: The book, Wicked, is not kid friendly! Do not plan on reading it aloud to your children, though older teens might enjoy it. The musical, on the other hand, was much-loved by our teenager and by our 9-year-old! There is one short scene in the musical that portrays the conception of one of the witches, but it’s fast and not detailed at all. The music is great, and it really makes your ask yourself questions about the very nature of good and evil.
See Oz the Great and Powerful. The newest movie is rated PG and has some startling sequences, along with a few parts that younger kids might find scary. It has a few twists and turns that will keep adults interested and, in some places, on the edge of their seats. Note that while it is the prequel of The Wizard of Oz as seen by the wizard, it is a completely different story from Wicked, the musical.
Did you love The Wizard of Oz when you were a child? Have you seen Wicked or Oz the Great and Powerful? What did you think?