Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sam and the Wizard in Oz

Back in October I was shopping for birthday presents for Sam, and ended up wandering through the book section of a boutique toy store. While browsing the chapter books, I saw Ozma of Oz.

For those of you who are not aware of this book (although I imagine most of you are), it is part of a series of Oz books that followed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Now, while The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with its various permutations and forms is an amazing story, it is not the Oz book that I fell in love with. I fell in love with Ozma of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, and the The Emerald City of Oz.

I loved reading about the Nome King and his underground mine. I delighted in the desert that surrounded Oz, and in the relationship between Ozma and Dorothy, who, in the books, looks nothing like Judy Garland. I wanted to learn more about Tik-Tok of Oz, and the Patchwork Girl of Oz, and I checked those books out from the library over and over.

I imagined that the fantasy land of Oz might be something Sam would enjoy, so I bought The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, imagining the two of us cuddled together night after night as I read a chapter a day. After we finished that book, we would move on to the next, and not only would I get to expose Sam to the world of Oz, but I would get to reread the stories and remember what I loved so dearly about the books.

So one day after his birthday, I read the first chapter to Sam. And he was duly unimpressed. It was several days later before I could entice him back to let me read chapter two to him. This chapter is quite exciting what with munchkins, the promise of wizards, and the squishing of a witch.

I finished reading the chapter just as some friends pulled up for a playgroup, and I put the book down. We played with our friends and after they left, I was returning a phone call when Sam came up with the book.

"We'll read another chapter as soon as I get off the phone," I said, completely thrilled that Sam liked the book too.

But when I got off the phone, do you know what I found? I found him well past where we had left off together—he was reading it himself. And he wouldn't stop. He sat on the couch for two hours and read. He read in the car on the way to speech therapy. He read while Jack got his therapy. He turned on his car light on the way home so he could read in the car some more.

I'm completely devastated, of course.

I mean, sure he's reading a chapter book by himself; sure he picked a book over a video game while in a waiting room; sure he loves the book the way I did.

But, dammit, I was going to read it to him.

I'll get over the bitterness, but it's going to take time. Sam got way too old, way too fast.


  1. I hope that this will be one of the greatest joys that I can share with my girls. We will start with Harriet the Spy, then The Secret Garden, Little House of the Prairie, the Boxcar Children, Trixie Belden and then Nancy Drew.

  2. My heart leapt a little when I saw the photo in your post. God, I loved those books. All of them. I got them out of the library and adored them.

  3. Ah, but the joy of reading will serve him well all through his life. I think you'll get over it if he does it himself. As long as he does it. :)

  4. I can't believe I've never read those books. I bet my kids would love them!! (Me too...)


  5. I am not familiar with those books, I feel like I've missed out, but I will put them on the list for my kids. My son can read well, but finds all the stories too obvious, or boring, or unrealistic. So, non-fiction sports for him right now which doesn't exactly bring back any memories for me.

  6. But he's reading! All on his own! And when he's done, you can re-read the books and then you can TALK about the stories. I can't wait till my kids are old enough to do this...SO MUCH FUN!!!

  7. Isn't it amazing how fast their reading skills develop?? One day they are reading a few words here and there and next thing you know they are reading chapter books! I think that's amazing!

    Have no fear, Drew is 9 and does most of his reading on his own, but now and then at bedtime will still ask me to read him a story.

  8. My mom still read books to us in the evenings even though I could read on my own (and did a lot during the day). Maybe you can just convince him that there are certain books that will be a special activity for you to share? I don't know...I was a girl...maybe boys wouldn't be as sentimental...

  9. how cool. you'll have to snaek the book after he goes to bed. So great that he is not just reading but is sucked into the magic of books. We walked into the boys room way past bedtime and they had stacks of books they were looking intently, they didn't notice us. So we soaked it up and than left them to their books for nearly an hour. I am a firm believer in not messing with a good thing.

  10. I can so imagine your joy at having him love the books you loved and your simultaniuos frustration at not enjoing them together. My mom read us Roald Dahl's books when we were kids, and now I can't wait to read James and the Giant Peach and the Willy Wonka books to my kids. Books are such a special thing to share with your kids.

  11. A bittersweet success story, isn't it? I remember going through this with the Harry Potter books with my older son. It was sad...but luckily I had a younger son to read to. You'll see -- Sam will want to listen in when you read to the others.

    It's a wonderful thing to watch your kids become booklovers like yourself.

  12. Wow! But i do understand!!! :)

  13. I loved this post, because I fell in love with these books when I was a girl and read them over and over and over again. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was my least favorite, as a matter of fact. The illustrations are so elaborate and the language is so beautiful.

    Billina the Yellow Hen cracked me up, too.

  14. I miss this series? Huh.
    But Sam is READING! That's awesome. I mean, the whole chapter book and independence and

  15. I can't believe I've not heard of these. I thought I was well-versed in fantasy fiction. I'm going to the library pronto.

    And way cool about Sam reading it on his own.

  16. Maybe you can read it at night so that the two of you can talk about it!

  17. Of course I sympathize with your heartbreak at not getting to read them again with the eyes of a kid...

    But dang! That's the greatest thing ever that a reading teacher can hear. He must be some kid! ;)


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