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Why I Love the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman

February 15, 2010

Though the other books in the series were childhood favorites of mine, somehow I’d never managed to read The Wizard of Oz, the one that started it all.  Recently I got to read it for a class on the history of fairy tales and it was a delight.

As a kid, the characters of the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow were my favorites.  They still are.  It was fascinating to me the way they were kind of alive and kind of not.  They have special strengths and weaknesses – the Scarecrow can be disassembled and reassembled without being hurt, but he can’t handle fire.  But the most deeply reassuring thing to my 7-year-old mind was that all the other characters were okay with that.  I used to feel different from all the other kids on the playground, and here were these characters who were so different they weren’t even human, and still they were accepted as equals.  I needed that.

L. Frank Baum, thank you for the wonderful childhood memories.

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