Not what I expected.
I've seen the Judy Garland movie at least five or six times. I've also seen the musical Wicked, and I have all the music memorized. So I thought I knew the world of Oz, both the original and the revamped version... I was wrong.
Surprise #1: The introduction. The author says rather openly that there is no moral to the story. No gruesome ending like Grimm's tales, and no educational value other than entertainment.
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written solely to please children of today. It aspires to be a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained, and the heartache and nightmares left out."
Surprise #2: Dorothy is YOUNG, like between 7 and 10 years old. She is really a very innocent and simple child going through this adventure.
Surprise #3: The Wicked Witch doesn't show up until you've read over half of the book. She is mentioned earlier, but she doesn't show up in munchkin land at the beginning and try to get the shoes, and she's actually not a huge part of the story. 15 pages after she is introduced, she's melted, and there are still 80 pages of story left.
Surprise #4: The Tinman, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion are all developed characters with story lines that continue even after the Wizard leaves Oz.
This is a fun little book. It's a quick read, kids can enjoy it. The drawings and pictures are fun, and the author doesn't take himself too seriously.
I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised.