So, yes, the book is about how the Woggle Bug falls in love with a dress. He sees it on a department store mannequin and is taken in by its colors, but he can't distinguish it from the person who is wearing it, so the whole plot revolves around him chasing after the various possessors of the dress. And smashing hats. The premise is, in all actuality, entirely amusing.
However, the execution is lacking, especially by today's standards, considering that the book is filled with racial caricatures. I'm sure those things were amusing in their time, but it was a time when Blackface was considered a high form of entertainment. Needless to say, by today's standards, the stereotypes are, at the least, insulting.
I don't really understand the need to set the book in the real world for any other reason than to include those characters. Baum still felt the need to have the Woggle Bug encounter a bunch of talking animals, so it seems to me the book would have worked just fine in Oz. Except that it was done as a child's picture book, not a novel, so, maybe, they thought the book would work better in a familiar setting. It was more than a century ago, so it's hard to say. It doesn't translate well to modern day, though, because of the racial issues.
However, that probably makes the book ripe for a modern interpretation because, as I said, the premise is really very funny and put the Woggle Bug's life in jeopardy on more than one occasion. I wouldn't suggest the original for more than die-hard Oz fans.
And, now, for something I've never done before: a review of the specific edition I purchased.
I picked up a free edition of The Woggle-Bug Book for my Kindle, and it was definitely an example of getting what you paid for. The person responsible for the adaptation did a piss poor job of it. For one thing, the original book had illustrations; evidently, those illustrations had captions. The captions were included in the narrative text of the book wherever they happened to fall, which was quite jarring. The book is in past tense, but the captions are in present, so you'd suddenly get this present tense summary of the current action of the book. Also, the book, especially toward the end, is full of typos. It was very apparent that not much time or attention was given to making the book presentable. I would certainly not recommend this edition of the book to anyone, even for the low, low price of FREE.
He falls in love with a dress? Well that's just weird from the start.ReplyDelete
Wow, that thing's got some terrible reviews. Even for free I'll pass. Maybe they'll pay me to read it? ...On second thought, nah.ReplyDelete
Alex: But that idea makes for some great comedy since he attaches that to whoever is wearing the dress.ReplyDelete
ABftS: Fortunately, it's a pretty quick read. It's not all bad.
It sounds like it would be an amusing enough kids' book, but the racism throws that out the window. Even the typos would be easier to live with.ReplyDelete
Jeanne: I think it would be a good book for a modern adaptation.ReplyDelete
Hard to beat free, though one is still investing time. As you say, this one sounds like a book for the devoted.ReplyDelete
TAS: If I'd paid for it, even if only $1, I would have been upset.ReplyDelete
Hah! We stopped into the Country Bears Jamboree at Disney the other day, and I was completely shocked by profiling and prejudice in the performances. The only people laughing were the ones over 60. I just sat there with my jaw hanging. It's amazing what difference a couple years makes, eh?ReplyDelete
Crystal: I'm not really familiar with that. I think they made a movie of it? But I haven't seen it.ReplyDelete
I often find it interesting how older books, classics of kids literature, are ridiculous in today's reads. I started Frog and Toad, and I'm sad to say, I got two-thirds in and couldn't go on. So verbose. So meandering. Lovely languages, but just an uncomfortable read.ReplyDelete
I wonder about the Wobble Bug and his dress-loving ways... How well could it have been received at the date of publication? Seems to edge that line of decency.
Veronica: Baum actually pushed a lot of norms for his time.ReplyDelete
It is a very eye catching cover though, but as you say not very readable in the modern world having moved on, thankfully, in leaps and bounds racially etc. although there are still areas that could be improved. I know what you mean about Kindle adaptations of books - some are appalling.ReplyDelete
Sally: It just makes me wonder what the people making the adaptations think they're doing.ReplyDelete