With its ruby-slipper-red glitter cover, The Wizard of Oz: A Scanimation Book by Rufus Butler Seder (Workman, September) caught my eye. The book attempts to bring to life ten scenes from the 1939 movie. Scanimation might be best described as a modern-day flip book. Pictures are covered by finely striped plastic; when you tilt the book, the pictures move. With Scanimation, Seder is able to show images like Dorothy’s house spinning through the sky in the tornado or the munchkins actually dancing in motion. Seder, who developed this technique, also employs Scanimation in his books Waddle!, Swing!, Gallop! and Star Wars: Iconic Scenes from a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Seder’s Wizard of Oz illustrates ten well-known quotations from the movie with Scanimated scenes to give a quick guide to the plot. It is a cool thing to look at—it amused me like flip books do. However, I was a little confused by the scene choices. The book concludes with the projected face of “the Great and Powerful Oz.” I suppose it’s a difficult movie to reduce to ten scenes, but perhaps it shouldn’t be. How could you not end with Dorothy returning home? And how could you not include the famous mantra “there’s no place like home?”
Although The Wizard of Oz was fun to flip through, I don’t think I would spend $14.95 on it: it doesn’t hold up to repeat readings, and the animated pictures made me a bit dizzy after a while. If you want to experience Wizard of Oz motion picture magic, stick with the movie itself.