Toto’s Tale and True Chronicle of Oz by Sylvia Patience

This cute retelling of The Wizard of Oz fills in some of the story holes children of today would find odd, and gives us a new perspective on an old favorite. Though they both rated the book as Good, Annie and Ivana have very different perspectives on this retelling of a classic.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

TotoTitle:  Toto’s Tale and True Chronicle of Oz
Author:  Sylvia Patience
Series: stand alone
Publish Date:  November 9, 2015
Genre:  Children’s Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written in 1900 by L. Frank Baum. Many other Oz books followed, as well as the famous 1939 movie. Not until now, however, does Toto tell the story, as he remembers it.

In Toto’s Tale, we read his version of the beloved adventures. Toto tells how he first found Dorothy when she arrived in Kansas on an orphan train and how they were both adopted by Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. In the end, he says, the silver shoes (not ruby slippers as in the movie) weren’t lost in the desert, but put to good use.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

Blech, is all I can say. How in the world did Frank Baum’s original book get so popular? It’s probably obvious, but I never read the original Wizard of Oz so I had a hard time recognizing what was Baum’s writing and what was Sylvia Patience’s writing. I thought the story was stilted and the chapters ended abruptly. It was very childlike. I suppose if a child were reading it, they would be okay with very short choppy sentences and then switching to a new idea with no lead in.

badge3v4I thought the funniest thing that the author added was, and this is a spoiler, having the dog pee on the Wicked Witch of the West which starts the whole melting affair because Dorothy was horrified and tried to clean it up. I also liked the dog being hungry all the time.  That seems very doglike to me.

I give this book a three but only because the bits with Toto were funny. If you liked this, then you will probably like the original Wizard of Oz.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

What drew me to this bookI enjoy retellings, especially of classic fairy tales. I love seeing how fantastical elements of the story are explained or changed in clever ways. So I was eager to see how Ms. Patience retold The Wizard of Oz from Toto’s perspective.

Why I kept reading: It’s been a very long time since I’ve read the original The Wizard of Oz. Since Toto’s Tale is based on the original story, not the movie or Wicked, there were many elements I had forgotten — such as the Queen of the Field Mice, Dorthy’s golden cap, the little china people, and the trip to Glinda’s realm.  It was fun to revisit some of these details.

Ms. Patience also added in some elements that weren’t in the book, but make a lot more sense to today’s readers.  For example, why did Dorthy live with an aunt and uncle?  Where are her parents?  Ms. Patience explains that Dorthy is an orphan who comes to Kansas on the orphan train.  Henry and Em take her home, and she calls them Aunt and Uncle rather than Mother and Father.

And, of course, having Toto’s perspective is a lot of fun.  We learn how Toto comes to live with Dorothy, who really discovered that the Wicked Witch would melt when wet, what gift Toto receives from the Wizard, and why Dorothy misses going back to Kansas in the Wizard’s balloon.

While I enjoyed this retelling quite a lot, I also found myself wondering why one would choose to read this book rather than reading the original. They are written at the same grade level, seem to be roughly the same length, and they tell mostly the same story. The differences between this story and the original are cute, but not major or particularly revealing. Read as a companion to the original, it might feel a tad redundant.

badge3v4Why I recommend it: Regardless, I enjoyed reading Toto’s Tale.  It served as a great refresher for me since I hadn’t read the original in a while, and seeing the story from Toto’s perspective is cute. I adore that the look of and illustrations in the book come from the original; it makes a nice tie into the L. Frank Baum world. This is a fun choice for animal lovers, collectors of all things Oz, or children obsessed with the original story.

If you like this book…

…certainly read the original, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.  If you’ve only seen the movie, or the play Wicked, you’re missing out on a lot of the beauty in the land of Oz.  Be sure to find a copy with the original illustrations; they’re whimsical and delightful.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


About Invested Ivana

I'm currently a freelance line editor, a book blogger at One Book Two, and lifetime reader. I like geeky things. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Red Adept Editing or any of my clients, the other reviewers on this site, or this site as a whole.

Posted on August 5, 2016, in Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Andrea Stoeckel

    I live in the Syracuse NY area, where L.Frank Baum wrote and lived and squabbled with his Mother in law, Matilda Joyclen Gage who kept them out of bankruptcy for the sake of her daughter and g’children. Legend is that Baum was more likely telling stories to the local kids than actually editing the newspaper.

    OZ was OZ because it was the tag on the file drawer. Any relections of the satire of Lewis Carom are true….OZ is not only a childrens book but a commentary on the haves and have not. However, when someone thinks about OZ, unless they have kids, they think of the movie over the 12 books, which, on their own pale in comparison to the screenplay.

    I am not a real fan of the books….the movie is another story….and the Wicked musical while full of wonderful music has a pretty lame story…I actually hated the book its based on. “The Wix” is a musical of its time as well.

    And here is Syracuse, they have just finished the Yellow Brick Road Casino….sigh

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I hadn’t heard all that about Baum, Andrea, thanks! Funny about OZ being O through Z on a file drawer. 😉 I actually enjoyed the first book, but I was quite a bit younger when I first read it, so closer to the intended age. And, I’m glad to know someone else wasn’t a fan of the book WICKED. I read it in college and, while I liked the idea of a story from the Wicked Witch’s point of view, the story the author chose to tell just didn’t do it for me. I’ve often wondered if I should try it again since so many people seem to love it. Maybe I was just in a bad place when I read it? Who knows! Thanks for chiming in! 😉


  2. Andrea Stoeckel

    And boy I hate spellcheck…of course, It’s Lewis CARROL

    Liked by 1 person

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