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  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  • Written by: L. Frank Baum
  • Narrated by: Anne Hathaway
  • Length: 3 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (209 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Nominee, Solo Narration - Female, 2013

One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Academy Award-winning actress Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice in Wonderland, The Dark Knight Rises) lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale. 

Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto as they get swept away into the magical land of Oz , where they encounter characters and places you may remember from the movie - and several more that never made it to the big screen - on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City. 

“It’s such a wonderful book and I was so happy to be a part of bringing it to life”, Ms. Hathaway said. “There are a lot of great voices in it. The more fun you have with it, the sillier and the more free you get with it, the better it is because it’s a story that can handle it. It’s amazing to be able to discover something new about something you feel you know so well.”

Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

“Anne Hathaway is nothing short of masterful in her narration of Baum’s beloved classic.... As narrator, she is lithe yet precise; her voice sounds lilting or emphatic, as the story details require. In character, she is spectacular. Each character is filled with personality - a light-voiced Witch of the North; a brusque soldier at Oz’s palace; a monotone, robot-like Oz; and a usually cheerful and genuine Dorothy. The variety enriches the listening experience. Yes, one may know the story well, but Hathaway makes this recording a definitive one.” (AudioFile)

Featured Article: 20 Best Celebrity Audiobooks for Storytelling by the Stars

What do you get when you pair literary classics with expert narrative talents? A listening experience like none other. Enjoy your favourite titles brought to you by top A list actors and actresses. From expert narration to full-cast readings, these celebrity Audible titles pull out all the stops. We’ve compiled a list of some of the 20 best celebrity audiobooks narrated by some of your most beloved famous actors. Enjoy the tales you know and love read by acclaimed celebrity audiobook narrators that put their own personal spin on these classic tales.

Listening to bedtime stories with your kids creates a deeper bond while promoting psychological wellbeing.

Parents, grandparents, teachers and developmental psychologists all understand the importance of bedtime stories for kids. The bedtime story ritual strengthens and encourages your child’s relationship with literature and language all through childhood and prepares them for deeper adult stories. Find out why audiobooks make the perfect bedtime stories to share with your children on our blog, Audible Explore.

What listeners say about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Give Anne Hathaway an award!

I had never read this book, even as a child. Of course, like everyone, I'm very family with the film. I liked the book much better than the movies! The characters are much more developed and endearing. Anne Hathaway was incredible! She had a fun, distinctive voice for every character- and there were A LOT of characters! It was like being read to by a loved one. She even put great enthusiasm into reading the narrative. I am looking forward to listening to this again with my daughter when she gets a bit older.

2 people found this helpful

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Must Hear

Listened with my 4 and 7 year old on a road trip. We were all enthralled with the incredible reading and lively voices by Anne Hathaway. Award worthy rendition of the great book. A must hear for all ages.

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Hathaway saves it. Very fun.

2 stars for the book, which, while different than the movie was interesting, also had more issues than the movie in other respects. However, Hathaway narrating it was incredible. I’d listen to her read anything. Wide range of voices and breathes life into even the lifeless.

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Different than the movie but as entertaining

I listened to this with my 10 yr old son. It was captivating and a great way to end every day for a few weeks.

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Awesome!

I look forward to listening to more book by Anne! Thank you for the voices!! My 8 year old just ADORES this particular version!!

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It was alright

I had to read it for school and its just not my thing.
The story has a good moral and would certainly have been better if I'd read it as a child, but reading it now wasn't that exciting.
The narrator was fantastic though.

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  • Kim
  • 2020-06-28

One of the great stories of all time!!

This story is a classic! It’s a overall really good family story. I like the characters and the story line a great family story for any age.My child was not afraid, but some children might be bothered by the wicked witch or, like I was as a child, the flying monkeys. Anne Hathway did a great job of narrating this tale. My 4 year old absolutely loved it!! The characters each have their own voice, she talks clearly and enunciates perfectly.

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A true classic told with enthusiasm and flair!

Anne Hathaway does an incredible job telling this classic. a master of characterization! A must listen!

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Entertaining

I downloaded this audiobook for my preschooler to listen too. He absolutely loved it and we have listened to it from start to finish three times now. I have since downloaded other audio books but they don’t seem to captivate my preschooler or me the same way that the Wonderful Wizard of Oz has.

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Brilliant story and well told

If you have only ever seen the Wizard of Oz movie, do yourself a favour and listen to this audiobook. The story is familiar but so different and Anne Hathaway is a top notch narrator.

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2014-02-11

Fantastic

AS a kid, the first thing I looked forward to after Christmas was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It was always aired in Feb., which was sweeps month. I did not know that, I just knew it was sometime after Christmas. It was a great musical and this is a great book. They differ some and are the same a lot. The musical gave the Wicked Witch of the West a huge part that she did not have in the book. It was interesting to see the differences and easy to see why certain changes were made. The book is more violent, with some head chopping going on, but not enough to make the whole book not worth reading. It was published in 1900 and was the best selling children's book for two years.

Baum has an excellent imagination and I loved the ceramic people, which was not in the movie. There are lessons on courage, intelligence, tenderness, confidence and ambition, which children and adults of today can learn much.

Hathaway has taken a real beating by some reviewers. I did not always agree with her interpretations of the characters, (Valley girls did not exist when this was written) but I thought she brought life to the book. She kept it interesting. I much prefer a narrator that spices up the reading, as a reader who just mouths the words. Baum himself changed the book and characters in order to get it on Broadway. If he was alive today, I do not believe he would have a problem with his story being updated.

I also liked the book Wicked, which gives you the witches side of the story.

77 people found this helpful

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  • Deborah
  • 2013-10-20

Anne keeps your focus on her instead of the story.

Would you try another book from L. Frank Baum and/or Anne Hathaway?

I would try another book by L. Frank Baum, but I would run away from Anne Hathaway as fast as I could. I have listened to many audio books, but this is the really the worst listening experience that I have had with one.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz?

When the stork spoke in a Valley Girl voice. I had been trying to forgive her narration for the sake of listening to the differences between the book and the movie until I got to that point. It was really jumping the shark. Unfortunately there were many horrible voices to follow.

What didn’t you like about Anne Hathaway’s performance?

I felt like she tried too hard and pushed herself in front of the story. I couldn't get immersed into the fiction due to her cringe worthy voices with out of place accents and her misinterpretations of how the characters would vocalize in different places. Such as using a haughty voice when a character should sound frightened. Or even smiling mockingly while narrating a serious point in the story.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz?

There is nothing wrong with the written work. It is the voice talent that took away from the overall experience. I think it is important to experience books unabridged.

Any additional comments?

Yes the scarecrow does sound kinda like Marge Simpson, but much more manic and with a Zombie-like fervor for BRAINS!! This was actually my favorite of her voice characters.

I think this reading is probably suitable for young children (as long as they don't mind wolves getting their heads chopped off and crows getting their necks twisted and broken.) Young children are probably amused by Anne's antics and her greatest follies will fly right over their heads. I listen to many audio books with my children and I want to be able to enjoy listening to the story as well and this book does not satisfy in that regard.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Cheimon
  • 2013-10-16

Odd narration choices dim experience for adults

The story remains enchanting.

This would be a lovely audiobook for young children.

That said, from an adult perspective, Ms. Hathaway overacts and takes away from the overall experience. A lot of her character choices are very extreme or just plain odd, as though she strained to come up with something unique and new. A child will likely find the different characters fun, this audiobook really is incredibly colorful, there are no default characters. But as an adult, I found that a lot of her choices make no sense (the wizard, above all) and was a little annoyed by some of the more grating ones, like the over-affected stage English of the queen mouse, for example, the valley girl stork, or the Marge Simpson scare crow. In essence, the magic she captures in her narration is the magical range of Anne Hathaway, not that of the Wonderful Wizard.

Other reviewers rave about this version though, so I recommend listening to a sample before you buy.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Mike
  • 2013-04-17

book good, but, like, read by a valley girl, total

Would you try another book from L. Frank Baum and/or Anne Hathaway?

Would buy Frank's books, just not not read by Anne.

What didn’t you like about Anne Hathaway’s performance?

I thought the story was very fresh. It was very different from the movie we know and love. Anne tried to create memorable voices, but several turned out to be a 1980's 'valley girl' or some derivative thereof. Anne, I love your work, but this did not do it for me.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

loved the book, not the reading

31 people found this helpful

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  • JT
  • 2012-04-08

Anne Hathaway Shines Throughout This Audio Edition

Would you consider the audio edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to be better than the print version?

Anne Hathaway's great voice work compelled me to love the audio edition over the print version.

Who was your favorite character and why?

A tie between Cowardly Lion & Wizard .

Which scene was your favorite?

Meeting Wizard .

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed repeatedly .

Any additional comments?

Hathaway truly needs to do more voice work . Anne did the impossible, she made something old , feel new and fresh again. She has wonderful vocal skills , and she has that gift to naturally create different voices- masculine or feminine . Anne made all these characters feel real, relatable, and entertaining . Plus, Anne has that rare gift that cannot be taught - charisma. This is truly one of the best audiobook readings I have heard in years.

30 people found this helpful

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  • MissSusie66
  • 2013-03-20

Not the story I thought I knew

Anne Hathaway did a good job with so many different voices but I had a hard time with the voice of the Scarecrow because it sounded like Marge Simpson. Listen to the sample on audible then go to youtube and listen to Marge Simpson it was too close to being the same voice I just couldn’t picture the Scarecrow in my head because the voice was Marge! That was the main voice that was just wrong and it took me out of the story, the rest of her voices were good with a few being annoying and some just not fitting, like a valley girl voice just seemed out of place. I guess I liked her narration overall I just wish the Scarecrow had sounded different.I would recommend this audiobook even with Marge Simpson cast as the Scarecrow! Anne does bring many voices to the mix maybe at times too many because some of them don’t seem to belong in the land of Oz but what do I know I’ve never been there!...

As I listened to this I came to the realization that I have never read Wizard of Oz before, yes I know I was shocked too. This story was a bit more violent in parts than I was expecting also there were some huge differences from the movie we have all seen 1,000 times so I had to try to get the movie out of my head and just go with the story, which I did enjoy. But in the end you can’t help comparing the differences…the shoes (silver, not red)...Toto (black, not brown) …Dorothy is a much younger girl…the violence, there is a lot of lopping off of heads that I did not expect..Also the witches seem to play a much smaller part in this than they did in the movie.

Everyone knows the premise of this story there are over 3000+ reviews and 98,000+ ratings on Goodreads alone so really what am I going to add other than if you think you have read this book but aren’t sure give it a try you may be like I was and realize you have never read the story Baum wrote, you only know the Hollywood version!

3 1/2 Stars

29 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Theodore
  • 2012-06-09

Anne Hathaway... Saved this for me

Now that we have that out of the way... I won't spend much time on the story BUT... This is a jacked up children's book if it was meant to be one... For one they keep lopping off heads off of people! The 'Wizard of Oz' is at best a con-artist! And the characters are... let’s face it... gullible... Maybe I am reading too much into this story.. >_<

Anne Hathaway though.... LOVE HER.... And thankfully she didn't massacre the book and did actually produce a performance worth 5 stars. To be honest, I changed my score from a 4 to a 5 stars because Anne actually got me through the book. I don't think anyone could make me be completely thrilled with the narration here but this is because I think the story was lacking so much (note also I am reviewing this right after listening to "Water for Elephants" and "Outlander" which are EXCELLENTLY written and even more EXCELLENTLY narrated). Even with the annoying squeaky voices (it does get annoying after the bazillion little person), Anne really kept me listening and I cut her slack for the squeaky voices because quite frankly, that would be how they sounded.

I say this... Audible need to invite Anne Hathaway back to do a real book... and by a real book I mean a Jane Austen book! I think anything Jane Austen or even Phillipa Gregory (if we want to go more modern) would fit her.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Kristopher's Korner
  • 2016-08-29

Just wonderful.

Would you listen to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz again? Why?

Yes, there was so much that was in this book that is not in the movie that I found interesting. I also loved Ann reading it. She was great. For any Wicked fans out there, you will find things in this book that are in the play.

What other book might you compare The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to and why?

I don't know as I never read books like this but now I think I may give more like it a try.

What about Anne Hathaway’s performance did you like?

Loved it! She really made the book jump out and take form in ones head.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was shocked at the violence in the book. Lots of chopping off of head. That may bother some children.

Any additional comments?

I want to read all of the books in this series and learn all about Oz and what happens in it and to Dorthy and her friends. Makes me feel like a kid again...maybe for the first time.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Jenni Beesley
  • 2016-08-21

Very Different from the movie

Love this way better than the movie. My 11 year old son and 9 year old daughter were riveted on our road trip. Even hubby said he liked it better than the movie. Anne Hathaway deserves a major award for her ability to beautifully tell the story and fittingly change the voice of each character. Thank you Anne!!

21 people found this helpful

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  • Jolene
  • 2016-08-16

just wonderful!

Loved the book, and LOVED Anne Hathaway reading it!! A good listen for good fun.

21 people found this helpful