Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I wish I would have had a movie camera filming the faces of my second graders as I read them The Wizard of Oz. They absolutely loved it! This book is pure magic, a wonderful tale that children never forget and grown-ups love to revisit. What a pleasure to share this book (and then the movie) with my first class of second graders.

It’s such an enjoyable beginning for a journey into Once Upon a Time, and that’s why I chose it as my first selection for Carl V’s Once Upon a Time 2 challenge. If you haven’t read it, you must. And if you have the opportunity to read it aloud to a child, or to children, please do so. It’s an incredible experience! I’m sure that L. Frank Baum wrote it for exactly that purpose, and every word must have been tried out on youngsters and fine-tuned for the experience. It certainly captured the hearts of my second graders and triggered a chain reaction of imagination in them (see the artwork above).

I loved rereading this book, and I also loved watching the 1939 movie afterward. In celebration of this book and Carl’s new book challenge, I leave you with some favorite quotes from the book and a video of the lovely Eva Cassidy singing “Over the Rainbow.”

Click here to listen to Eva Cassidy singing Over the Rainbow.

“No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.” 

“All the same,” said the Scarecrow, “I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.”

“I shall take the heart,” returned the Tin Woodman; “for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”

“A baby has brains, but it doesn’t know much. Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.”

10 thoughts on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow

  1. Corinne

    I love Eva Cassidy! I have that very version on my ipod right now 🙂

    I liked the Wizard of Oz also – I read it outloud to my then 5 year old daughter and it was magical (our first real chapter book experience). I had the version that was illustrated by Lizbeth Zwerger and it’s AMAZING. I’m so glad you liked it 🙂


  2. Nymeth

    Reading this one to children must indeed be an unforgettable experience! Your students really are lucky to have you, Robin.


  3. Robin

    Corinne, I have as many Eva Cassidy CDs as I could find. She had such an incredible voice and talent. I haven’t seen the version of The Wizard of Oz with Lizbeth Zwerger’s illustrations. I love her artwork, so I’ll have to track down a copy of the book and look at them. Michael Hague was the illustrator on the version I read to my students. We loved his work, too.

    Thanks, Nymeth. We’re having a lot of fun this year, and I’ll definitely miss them when I send them on to 3rd grade.


  4. raidergirl3

    It’s one of the few old classics that doesn’t have all the flowery language. It is really meant for kids. I got my then 7 yr old daughter the book and she was able to read it herself and quite enjoyed it. A local school had put on the play and she really enjoyed it.
    that picture is great.


  5. Framed

    I almost put this one down for the challenge and now I’m regretting it. Maybe next year. At least I know what version to buy. Thanks for your review.


  6. Carl V.

    Yet another novel that I cannot believe I have never read. I was a voracious reader as a child and still am…guess I mostly stuck to science fiction when I was younger or something. I’m thrilled that your second graders are enjoying this and think it is so cool that you are exposing them to both classics and the wonder of the written story in this way.


  7. carolr

    Hi. Iam a second grade teacher too, and I have been reading the book to my class for 20+ years, like you. We are beginning The Guardian of the Gates chapter, so I have the children bring in sunglasses to wear as we read.


  8. Robin

    Thanks, Raidergirl. I loved the artwork my kids produced after we finished this book. We’ put them all together and turned them into a class book, which is always fun for them.

    Thanks, Bookfool! You must read the book. It’s a lot of fun to see how different it is, and yet how like, the movie.

    Framed, this is a great choice for the Once Upon a Time Challenge, so you could save it for next year and have something wonderful to look forward to!

    Oh, Carl. It’s a must read!

    Hi Caroir. I love your idea of having the kids wear sunglasses on the day of that chapter! I’ll have to borrow that idea from you for next year! The kids would love it. Thanks!


  9. Nan -

    The book is so, so much better than the movie. I was frightened of the latter as a child, and am still. The words are easier than those awful images and voices.



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