- Children's Classics-
The main theme of the novel is pretty easy to pick up on- love of home and family. More to the point, that this love is not dependent on the glamour and wealth of the home in question. The description of Dorothy's life in Kansas is very... grey. She is an orphan living with her unexciting aunt and uncle, on a dry, dusty, and remote farm. When she is carried off to Oz, her life becomes more colourful- literally and figuratively- and much more exciting. Yet Dorothy never wavers in her desire to return to Kansas and Em and Henry, going to great lengths to do so, up to and including risking her life.
Naturally, there are many differences between the novel and the film. A lot of characters and incidents are not in the movie, and those which are, are less well-developed or have their characters changed completely. For example, the Munchkins, rather than being the race of flamboyant singers
The book is also a lot more violent than the movie,with Dorothy and her friends having to fight- and kill- monsters, wolves, giant spiders, etc. These are understandable differences, however: there are others which are more glaring- and more annoying for fans of the book.
In conclusion, I would say that, while the movie is hugely entertaining, the novel provides a richer and more interesting introduction to the Land of Oz.
* Baum claimed to have arrived at the name "Oz" by looking at one of the drawers in his filing cabinet, which was labelled 'O-Z'.
* Baum originally intended to write only one tale of Oz, but due to public demand- and probably with an eye on the finances- ended up like the authors of some other famous book series (Conan Doyle, L.M. Montgomery), reluctantly writing numerous sequels. He personally wrote 13 more books about Oz before his death in 1919, and then his publishers contracted author Ruth Thompson to keep churning them out, adding 21 more books to the Oz collection.