To read or not to read? Green, smart, prickly and misunderstood.

The first in a trilogy, this book, now also a successful musical, was inspired by the adventures of four characters,  three searching for brains, heart and courage, and one just wanting to go home.

Read the opening paragraphs of this book to decide whether to read or not to read this book...

A mile above Oz, the Witch balanced on the wind's forward edge, as if she were a green fleck of the land itself, flung up and sent wheeling away by the turbulent air. White and purple summer thunderheads mounded around her. Below, the Yellow Brick Road looped back on itself, like a relaxed noose. Though the winter storms and the crowbars of agitators had torn up the road, still it led, relentlessly, to the Emerald City.  The Witch could see the companions trudging along, maneuvering around the buckled sections, skirting trenches, skipping when the way was clear. They seemed oblivious to their fate.But it was not up to the Witch to enlighten them.
She used the broom as a sort of balustrade, stepping down from the sky like one of her flying monkeys. She  finished up on the topmost bough of a black willow tree. Beneath, hidden by the fronds, her prey had paused to take their rest. The Witch tucked her broom under her arm. Crablike and quiet, she scuttled down a little at a time, until she was a mere twenty feet above them. Wind moved the dangling tendrils of the tree. The Witch stared and listened. 
There were four of them. She could see a huge Cat of some sort- a Lion, was it?- and  a shiny woodman. The Tin Woodman was picking nits out of the Lion's mane, and the lion was muttering and squirming from the agitation. An animated scarecrow lolled nearby, blowing dandelion heads into the wind. The girl was out of sight behind the shifting curtains of the willow. 
"Of course to hear them tell it, it is the surviving sister who is the crazy one, " said the Lion. 
"What a Witch. Psychologically warped; possessed by demons. Insane. Not a pretty picture. 
"She was castrated at birth, " replied the Tin Woodman calmly. She was born hermaphroditic, or maybe entirely male."
"Oh you, you see castration everywhere you look," said the Lion. 
"I'm only repeating what folks say," said the Tin Woodman.
"Everyone is entitled to an opinion," said the Lion airily. "She was deprived of a mother's love is how I've heard it. She was a abused child. She was addicted to medicine for her skin condition.
"She has been unlucky in love," said the Tin Woodman, "like the rest of us." The TinWoodman paused and placed his hand on his heart, as if in grief.
 "She's a woman who prefers the company of other women," said the Scarecrow sitting up.
"She is the spurned lover of a married man."
"She is a married man."
 The Witch was so stunned she nearly lost her grip on the branch. The last thing she ever cared for was gossip. Yet she had been out of touch for so long that she was astonished at the rigorous opinions of these random nobodies.

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