Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy story about the adventures of a bewitched toy dog, written before The Hobbit.

While on holiday in 1925, four-year-old Michael Tolkien lost his beloved toy dog on the beach at Filey in Yorkshire. To console him, his father, J.R.R.Tolkien, improvised a story about Rover, a real dog who is magically transformed into a toy and is forced to seek out the wizard who wronged him in order to be returned to normal.

This charming tale, peopled by a sand-sorcerer and a terrible dragon, by the king of the sea and the Man-in-the-Moon, was Tolkien’s first full-length children’s book, written before The Hobbit. Now, nearly 90 years later, the adventures of Rover – or, for reasons that become clear in the story, ‘Roverandom’ – are published in this delightful pocket hardback edition. Rich in wit and wordplay, Roverandom is edited and introduced by Tolkien experts Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, and includes Tolkien’s own delightful illustrations.

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[ONCE UPON A TIME there was a little dog, and his name was Rover]

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(HarperCollins, 26 September 2013, first published 1998, 193 pages, ebook, borrowed from @AmazonKindle #PrimeReading)

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I’ve only read Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series so I had no idea what to expect with this story. I must admit, I found the story a little disappointing. The cover is very reminiscent of some of the Rings trilogy so I thought the story might be set in a similar world and it’s not really. Don’t get me wrong, this is a charming little tale and it was written before The Hobbit so it’s one of Tolkien’s earlier works. It’s a fun, quick read but not a patch on his later works. I was also disappointed because I expected more from an author capable of the depth and scope of the Rings books. Like I said, this was a fun read but forgettable and it won’t stick in my head for long.

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