Guide for Parents
Guide for Parents
This review is based on the format used by Common Sense Media (http://www.commonsensemedia.org). This is not an official Common Sense Media review. The author created this review to give parents an idea of what the book contained, to determine whether or not it would be appropriate for their children to read, and to provide questions for discussion.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book is a prequel to L. Frank Baum’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The character names are familiar, but the characters themselves are youthful and inexperienced. They make mistakes, get angry, and do things normal to young people, but very different from their older selves encountered in Baum’s books. The story takes place in the year 1852 A.D., forty-eight years before Dorothy enters the Emerald City. The character of Oscar is from the western frontier of America before the Nebraska Territory was made a state. His ideas and stories of independence and revolution are much closer to the founding of America than we are now. The ideas presented may come across as old-fashioned and America-centric, but they are intended to be accurate to the time period in which this story takes place.
There is some violence, as soldiers made of magic sand fight against human soldiers, and against other sandy soldiers. Witches use their own blood to mix with the sand to make stronger soldiers. A character is physically and verbally abused.
There is material that may be ideologically sensitive. Slavery, freedom, liberty, and responsibility are dealt with in various situations in the story. Slavery is dealt with in both broad and personal terms. This is not intended to downplay the seriousness of slavery. To demonstrate the generational effects of slavery a tribe of Winged Monkeys is magically enslaved to the possessor of a certain magical item. The king of the tribe is willing to do anything except lie to win freedom for his people.
Liberty and freedom are discussed at length, and demonstrated in examples both good and bad to show the differences between freedom and tyranny (rule by fear and terror). With freedom comes responsibility to act and to protect that freedom, for the individual and for others. A character has the chance to free the Winged Monkeys from slavery, but misses the opportunity. Multiple perspectives are offered on liberty, freedom, slavery, tyranny, and responsibility. This story is not intended to preach one specific course of action, though it is clear which course the main characters believe. These multiple perspectives are intended to allow the reader to explore and see how different ages, cultures, and classes of people view these concepts.
The main character, Glinda, is inexperienced, rash, and impulsive. She makes promises, but then she does not act on them. This character flaw is intended by the author to demonstrate the effect that one person can have on another, and on an entire land, today, and through the generations. These unfulfilled promises are intended to make the reader think about the proper course of action.
This book is the first of many planned stories in The Hidden History of Oz series. The main series is intended for readers age 10 and older.
This story is written at a fifth-grade reading level. For unfamiliar words, readers may want to use a dictionary, or figure the meaning out themselves through context.
Readers may be interested in learning about principles of history and freedom from the early United States, prior to 1852 A.D. (when this story takes place).
Readers may be interested in comparing some parts of the story to L. Frank Baum’s original novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, to see how everything fits together.
This story is a prequel, or a story that comes before another already-told story. Comparing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to this story gives many answers to questions that L. Frank Baum did not answer in his book. Consider this question: Why would the author, Tarl Telford, write this story?
Much of this story deals with freedom in all of its forms. Glinda wanted freedom from her sheltered, protected life, and she became an orphan on the run from the Wicked Witches. She wanted help from others to accomplish impossible goals. In the end, she learns that she has to make the decision to act, and then do whatever is required, to accomplish her goals.
Glinda makes some promises that she can’t keep. She recognizes the consequences of her actions, and she works to fix what her actions ruined.
Locasta has been verbally and physically abused for years. After talking with Glinda, and seeing the actions that Glinda takes, Locasta finds her way to freedom from the abuse. She leaves a bad situation to find a better life.
Positive Role Models
Glinda gets herself and others into trouble by refusing to conform to others’ expectations of her. By the end of the story, she has learned that every action has a consequence, for good or bad. She takes responsibility for her actions, and she works to make the Land of Oz a place of freedom, where everyone can choose for themselves to live free.
Omby-Amby believes in liberty and freedom. He protects those who need help. He is a loyal and good friend.
Oscar hides his true feelings behind tricks. It is only in his dreams that he is honest with himself. His dreams literally change the land around him. Everyone believes that he is a wizard, but he does not think he is anything special. He learns to trust others and works to build a city where people can live free from fear and slavery.
Magic hourglasses create sandy soldiers, which make up the Sandy Armies. Characters discover that blood mixed with the sand makes more powerful sandy soldiers. Sand and blood-sand soldiers fight human soldiers and each other. A character uses a large solar ray to turn a sand dragon into glass. Buildings are destroyed. Forest fire. A character with telekinetic magic throws things into the air, including fallen trees, rocks, and a house.
A character talks about being abused and thrown into the sky. The character has bruises from the abuse.
A non-human character is critically burned by fire.
Romance / Sex
Two characters kiss. Two different characters kiss goodbye. Innocent exploration into first love—holding hands, flirting, and one kiss.
A character uses words like “poppycock”, “pish-posh”, and “fiddlesticks” when she is frustrated. A character is verbally abused by another character.
Characters purchase magic hourglasses.
Drinking, Drugs, and Smoking
What is the story?
Glinda is the rebellious teenage daughter of a sorceress. She wants freedom from the life she has. She refuses to conform to her parents’ plan, which disrupts everything, and destroys everything that Glinda knew. She runs for her life and finds friends to stand beside her. The Wicked Witches want control over all the land. Glinda and her friends stand against the armies of the Witches and fight for freedom. They fail, time and again, but they keep working for what they believe is right. Glinda and Oscar make a clever plan to fight against the Witches and end this war, once and for all. Through their efforts, they learn the consequences of both action and inaction. Glinda’s broken promises change her life, and she vows to become a better person. They establish two havens of freedom in Oz: one is The Emerald City, and other is in the South. The Witches divide the other parts of Oz among themselves, taking East, West, and North. Glinda rules in the South, and Oscar becomes the Wizard in the Emerald City.
Is it any good?
Glinda has a good life, but she feels like she is a slave. She refuses to cooperate with her parents, and runs away from her responsibilities. As a result, enemies of her family put their plan into action, and Glinda loses her parents and her home. Now she has the freedom she wanted. She comes to realize that all she has is what is inside of her. She makes friends and finds courage to stand against the Wicked Witches. She makes promises, but doesn’t follow through, hurting other characters. She learns from her mistakes. She learns to be responsible. However, she still keeps her rebellious attitude as a way of holding on to her independence.
Families can talk about
Parents may wish to discuss the idea of slavery. What types of slavery are there? (economic, ignorance, addiction, physical) What is the difference between feeling like a slave, and actually being in slavery?
Parents may wish to talk about keeping promises. Glinda makes promises, but she does not follow through immediately. What is the result of her procrastination?
Glinda acts in opposition to what she is asked to do. What are the results of her actions? Why is it important to recognize that all actions have consequences?
At the beginning of the story, Glinda wants freedom from her life. What events provide her this “freedom”? How is this freedom different from the freedom and liberty that Oscar talks about?
Oscar quotes Benjamin Franklin in saying that the United States of America was “A republic, if you can keep it.” How does liberty require responsibility? What is the difference between being ruled by a king, and the people ruling themselves? Why is it important to recognize that you are responsible for your own freedom?
The characters talk about freedom and choosing their own destiny. What is the difference between talking about ideas, and actually working to accomplish them?
Nobody in Oz dreams. Then Oscar comes to Oz, and he is a dreamer. His dreams literally change the land and other things around him. The people believe he is a great wizard. Oscar doesn’t believe that he is anything special, but his friends, and other people do. Why is it important to be honest with others? Why is it important to be honest with ourselves? Have you ever experienced something that other people did not understand? Did they believe you when you told them? What was the result of being honest?
|Topics||Freedom, Slavery, Loyalty, Honesty, Keeping Promises, Friendship, Adventure, Magic|
|Publisher||Emerald Engine Studios|
|Publication Date||July 11, 2012|
|Number of pages||275|
|Publisher’s recommended ages||10 and up|
|Available on (platforms)||Paperback, Kindle, other digital|