The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Before there was the blockbuster movie, there was the book it came from--The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. My children have seen the movie and a few weeks ago we decided to read the first book in the Oz series for bedtime reading. Like the movie, the book starts with the grey and hard Kansas life of Dorothy. Unlike the movie, there aren't all the other characters (the farm hands, Elmira Gulch, Prof. Marvel) who are mirrored in the fantasy world. Baum devotes two pages to Kansas before the cyclone comes and takes Dorothy's house to the wonderful land of Oz. Munchkin land and the rest of that world is just as colorful as in the movie and even more fantastic. The Winged Monkeys have a back story, a bunch of other creatures (like the Winkies, the Quadlings, the China Doll people, the Kalidah, and others) inhabit the world and are obstacles or aids to Dorothy and her friends. The plot is mostly the same except there's nothing that makes the whole story just a dream of Dorothy's. The story has enough differences to make it well worth reading even if you've seen the film a million times. Reading the book even inspired some comparative discussions about the movie with J and L which made the whole experience even more fun.