The Wizard of the Emerald City

Thanks to a comment in this blog, I discovered that there was a Russian version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A lot of people grew up with The Wizard of the Emerald City a re-narration of Baum's work written by Alexander Melentyevich Volkov in 1939. 

The names of most characters are changed, some elements of Baum's novel are removed, and some new elements are added.


Taken from this site:

One of the main differences is in the names of the characters. Baum’s Dorothy has become Ellie, and the Wizard is now James Goodwin. Of the heroine’s three friends, the Cowardly Lion is much the same, but the Scarecrow is called Strasheela (derived from a Russian word meaning 'terrifying'), and the Tin Woodman is now the iron Woodman. All four of the witches, good and bad, have new names.

Some other differences, according to Wikipedia:
  • In the original book, Winkies' favorite color is yellow. In Volkov's version, it's purple.
  • In the original book, the characters at one point have to run away from beasts called Kalidahs. In Volkov's version, Kalidahs are replaced with saber-toothed tigers.
  • The Fighting Trees and the China Country are omitted in Volkov's version. Instead, the main characters have to cross another river by making another raft, and things go awry when a storm begins.
  • In Volkov's version, just before meeting the Cowardly Lion, Ellie gets kidnapped by an ogre, and Scarecrow and the Woodman save her.
  • In Volkov's version, Munchkins, Winkies and Quadlings (renamed as ChattersRussianБолтуны) have different tics involving their people's names: Munchkins constantly move their jaws as if they were munching, Winkies blink a lot and Chatters can't stop talking.
  • The armless Hammer-Heads with stretching necks were replaced in Volkov's version with an anatomically correct and physically strong nation of Leapers.
  • In Volkov's version, as soon as Ellie and Toto arrive in Magic Land, Toto gains the ability to speak, which he retains until they leave. In Baum's version, this is not the case, and Toto behaves exactly like a normal dog.
  • In Baum's version, Dorothy is an orphan and lives with her uncle Henry and her aunt Em. In Volkov's version, Ellie lives with both of her parents, John and Ann.
  • In the original version, the Good Witch of the North kisses Dorothy on her forehead, blessing her, and the Wicked Witch of the West doesn't dare hit her because of the blessing. In Volkov's version, Villina doesn't kiss Ellie, and Bastinda is afraid of hitting Ellie because she wears the silver shoes.
  • In the original version, Dorothy was unaware of the Wicked Witch of the West's aquaphobia until the latter melted. In Volkov's version, Ellie knew Bastinda was afraid of water, and often left the kitchen floor wet to annoy the witch.
  • An additional subplot in Volkov's version during Ellie's imprisonment in Bastinda's castle involves Ellie and the cook Fregoza motivating other Winkies to prepare a coup against Bastinda.
  • The prologue in Baum's book tells the story solely from Dorothy's point of view. The prologue in Volkov's book tells the story first from Ellie's prospective, then switches to Gingema then back to Ellie who is running away from the cyclone.
  • In Baum's book, Kansas is presented as a gray, dull place as opposed to the Land of Oz. In Volkov's book, the contrast isn't shown, which lets the reader guess Kansas is not a bad place for Ellie to live.

 You can read here the plots of the six books by Volkov.

6 comments:

  1. I especially like the difference -
    "In Baum's book, Kansas is presented as a gray, dull place as opposed to the Land of Oz. In Volkov's book, the contrast isn't shown, which lets the reader guess Kansas is not a bad place for Ellie to live." To me that change rather alters the whole story.

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    1. I also thought that it makes no sense. I would like to read the eastern version.

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  2. The only change I really like is the addition of saber-toothed tigers!

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    1. I don't understand most of the changes, indeed. But I haven't read the book myself.

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  3. The author of illustrations to the Russian book "the Wizard of oz" - Leonid Vladimirsky. Died April 18, 2015 at the age of 94. It is possible that this is the last interview with him: http://www.alexnews.info/archives/15469

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    1. Thank you very much for the hint, Eduard!

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Let me know your thoughts. All your comments are very welcome!