The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been made over in app form hundreds of times (from a quick review of the app store). What OzBook has to offer is a nice abridgment of the original Frank Baum classic with charming enhancements that draw children into the story. You'll find all the plot points nicely highlighted over 60 pages. The interactive & animated elements are so 'touchable' that you may even have to pause the reading because little hands are in the way of the text.
This title is not narrated, although it does come with English, Lithuanian, German & Russian text all in one app. The app has great sound effects and music, along with a nice page guide. Overall this is a solidly made app with ample settings, including hints for the interactivity. There are some pretty long, awkward sentences along with some minor typos and grammatical 'irregularities' that make smooth reading aloud difficult once in awhile, but otherwise this was a refreshing way to share an otherwise long story with my young child.
The interactivity is definitely the real highlight of this version, with a nice variety of elements that feature delightful and realistic physics. You can tilt the iPad to see pots & pans move in the storm, tap bugs that crawl over the page, and even help oil the tin man's joints. This was a very enjoyable book to read aloud with my Kindergartener, something we did over the course of several nights at bedtime. This would also be a great title for capable readers, who could easily spend more than an hour with this delightful 'read & play' storybook app.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Egle Urbonaviciute (Adapted from Frank Baum)
45 - 60 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 6 - 12 +
English • German •
Based on the Frank Baum classic, this title has an abridged version of the original plot:
"Dorothy is an orphan raised by her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in the bleak landscape of a Kansas farm. She has a little black dog Toto, who is her sole source of happiness. One day the farmhouse, with Dorothy and Toto inside, is caught up in a cyclone and deposited in a field in Munchkin Country in the Land of Oz. The falling house kills the ruler of theMunchkins, the Wicked Witch of the East.
The Good Witch of the North comes with the Munchkins to greet Dorothy and gives Dorothy the silver shoes that the Wicked Witch of the East had been wearing when she was killed. In order to return to Kansas, the Good Witch of the North tells Dorothy that she will have to go to the "Emerald City" or "City of Emeralds" and ask the Wizard of Oz to help her.
On her way down the yellow brick road, Dorothy frees the Scarecrow from the pole he is hanging on, restores the movements of the rusted Tin Woodman with an oil can, and encourages them and the Cowardly Lion to journey with her and Toto to the Emerald City. The Scarecrow wants to get a brain, the Tin Woodman a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, courage. All are convinced by Dorothy that the Wizard can help them too. Together, they overcome obstacles on the way including narrow pieces of the yellow brick road, Kalidahs, a river, and the Deadly Poppies.
When the travelers arrive at the Emerald City, they are asked to use green spectacles by the Guardian of the Gates. When each traveler meets with the Wizard, he appears each time as someone or something different. To Dorothy, the Wizard is a giant head; the Scarecrow sees a beautiful woman; the Tin Woodman sees a ravenous beast; the Cowardly Lion sees a ball of fire. The Wizard agrees to help each of them, but one of them must kill the Wicked Witch of the West who rules over the Winkie Country.
As the friends travel across the Winkie Country, the Wicked Witch sends wolves, crows, bees, and then her Winkie soldiers to attack them, but they manage to get past them all. Then, using the power of the Golden Cap, the Witch summons the Winged Monkeys to capture Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and Toto, and to destroy the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman.
When the Wicked Witch gains one of Dorothy's silver shoes by trickery, Dorothy in anger grabs a bucket of water and throws it on the Wicked Witch, who begins to melt. The Winkies rejoice at being freed of the witch's tyranny, and they help to reassemble the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman. The Winkies love the Tin Woodman, and they ask him to become their ruler, which he agrees to do after helping Dorothy return to Kansas.
Dorothy uses the Golden Cap to summon the Winged Monkeys to carry her and her companions back to the Emerald City, and the King of the Winged Monkeys tells how he and the other monkeys were bound by an enchantment to the cap by Gayelette.
When Dorothy and her friends meet the Wizard of Oz again, he tries to put them off. Toto accidentally tips over a screen in a corner of the throne room, revealing the Wizard to be an old man who had journeyed to Oz from Omaha long ago in a hot air balloon.
The Wizard provides the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion with a head full of bran, pins, and needles ("a lot of bran-new brains"), a silk heart stuffed with sawdust, and a potion of "courage", respectively. Because of their faith in the Wizard's power, these otherwise useless items provide a focus for their desires. In order to help Dorothy and Toto get home, the Wizard realizes that he will have to take them home with him in a new balloon, which he and Dorothy fashion from green silk. Revealing himself to the people of the Emerald City one last time, the Wizard appoints the Scarecrow, by virtue of his brains, to rule in his stead. Dorothy chases Toto after he runs after a kitten in the crowd, and before she can make it back to the balloon, the ropes break, leaving the Wizard to rise and float away alone.
Dorothy turns to the Winged Monkeys to carry her and Toto home, but they cannot cross the desert surrounding Oz, subsequently wasting her second wish. The Soldier with the Green Whiskers advises that Glinda the Good Witch of the North may be able to send Dorothy and Toto home. They, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion journey to Glinda's palace in the Quadling Country. Together they escape the Fighting Trees, dodge the Hammer-Heads, and tread carefully through the China Country. The Cowardly Lion kills a giant spider, who is terrorizing the animals in a forest, and he agrees to return there to rule them after Dorothy returns to Kansas—the Hungry Tiger, the biggest of the tigers ruling in his stead as before. Dorothy uses her third wish to fly over the Hammer-Heads' mountain, almost losing Toto in the process.
At Glinda's palace, the travelers are greeted warmly, and it is revealed by Glinda that Dorothy had the power to go home all along. The Silver Shoes she wears can take her anywhere she wishes to go. She tearfully embraces her friends, all of whom will be returned, through Glinda's use of the Golden Cap, to their respective sovereignties: the Scarecrow to the Emerald City, the Tin Woodman to the Winkie Country, and the Cowardly Lion to the forest. Then she will give the Golden Cap to the king of the Winged Monkeys, so they will never be under its spell again. Dorothy and Toto return to Kansas to a joyful family reunion. The Silver Shoes are dropped in the Oz desert during Dorothy's flight and never seen again."