I wouldn't have picked this book if it wasn't part of the curriculum we are using. I am glad we read it though and my boys enjoyed it. It is VERY different from the movie.
We finished the book yesterday and later in the car my oldest son said, "You know mom, Oz didn't need to give them anything - they already had it." I asked him what he meant. He explained that Oz didn't give them a new heart or courage or brains. I mentioned that maybe Oz gave them confidence to do what was already in them. From the movie you get the idea that Oz is a total charlatan. In the book he is more complicated. He isn't a wizard, and he knows it. Yet, his ability to encourage works magic in the lives of Dorothy's travel mates. They are transformed and eventually become leaders in ways they had never expected. It is a little simplistic but my boys got the message.
I challenged my son to see if he could be like Oz. Could he help encourage the good things that are already in people to come out in new ways? That conversation was worth the book.