Large Print Reviews
By J. R. R. Tolkien
Read by Rob Inglis
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - June 16, 2003
Please Note: This review refers to the large print editon of The Hobbit.
J.R.R. Tolkien is the father of the modern fantasy genre, and the start of it all was The Hobbit or There and Back Again. Originally written as a children's folktale, The Hobbit quickly became a favorite of readers of all ages. The Hobbit is the story of a quest that follows in the tradition of such classic works as Homer's The Odyssey.
The star of this story is undoubtedly Mr. Bilbo Baggins, a well-off Hobbit who lives in a cozy Hobbit hole. Hobbits are small, mythic creatures that are somewhat smaller than dwarves, and who have hairy feet. Bilbo's main activity is eating, a pleasure that he indulges in as often as possible. This respectable, upright Hobbit's predictable routine is sorely disrupted when he is visited by the wizard Gandalf.
Gandalf introduced Bilbo to Thorin Oakenshield and his company of twelve dwarves. Thorin and company are about to set out on an expedition to recover the gold and jewels that had been stolen from the dwarves by the evil dragon, Smaug. Thirteen being an unlucky number, the group needs a fourteenth member to make up their team, and to this end Gandalf recommends Bilbo as the groups newest member.
At first reluctant to join this madcap expedition, Bilbo is at last compelled to head off into the unknown with his new friends. To recover the gold and jewels the party must travel through dangerous lands and deal with a host of dangerous creatures. Along the way the group has run-ins with trolls, pony eating goblins, mischievous elves, wargs (evil wolves), and other dangerous creatures. However, not everyone they meet is out to destroy them. On their journey they also meet some helpful talking eagles and a shape shifting man who can turn himself into a huge bear.
Throughout the course of this engaging tale, Bilbo learns that he is more than just a mere Hobbit, he is intelligent, brave, and resourceful. He finds that it will take all his wits, all his innate skills, and a magic ring that allows him to 'go' invisible, to get back home again. This is in addition to helping his comrades succeed in liberating the dwarves' treasure from out of the clutches of a dangerous dragon.
The Hobbit is an engrossing folktale that will capture your imagination and delight you with the spirit of adventure that this story extrudes. While there are some sword fighting and assorted 'scary' moments in this book, the story is written in such a manner that it is suitable for readers of all ages, and it is an excellent read-aloud book. In other words, Tolkien slanted this story so that the 'scary' parts are not all that scary, rather they serve to enhance the pace and the message of the story. The message, by the way, is that when one's motives are pure, good will always triumph over evil.
Once you finish reading The Hobbit be assured that your journey has only just started. This story serves as a prelude to Tolkien's monumental Lord of the Rings trilogy, which, happily, is also available in large print. Let the adventure begin....
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- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1), by J. K. Rowling
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