Large Print Reviews

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Home | What's New | Reviews | Articles | Travel | Links | Search
Large Print Bookstore | Low Vision Product Store


buy at

By J.R.R. Tolkien
Edited by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond
G.K. Hall & Co., Large Print (1998)
ISBN: 0-7838-0299-4
Genre: Fantasy - Science Fiction, Children's Fiction

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - February 24, 2003

J.R.R. Tolkien is best known for his Middle Earth stories, which include The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. While Tolkien's name is automatically associated with the Middle Earth stories, he also wrote a number of acclaimed stories that investigated other realms. He also wrote a number of stories that where not published during his lifetime. One of these is the thrilling children's story, Roverandom.

The history surrounding this story is as fascinating as is the actual work of fiction. Roverandom came about because of an event that occurred in 1925 while Tolkien was on a family vacation. During this trip his son Michael, who was four at the time, lost a favorite toy dog while playing on the beach. To console his son, Tolkien created a story about a dog who was turned into a toy by a wizard. Over time, this story evolved into the full-blown novel, Roverandom. This is a novel that will delight readers of all ages.

The hero of Roverandom is the dog Rover. When the wizard turns him into a toy doggie, Rover begins a series of adventures as he struggles to regain his real doggie life back. During the day, Rover is frozen into his toy form, but at night he comes back to life. However, in his nocturnal form he does not regain his original form. Rather he stays the same size as his toy form. This greatly impedes his ability to move about on his own, with hilarious results!

Along the way, the 'toy' Rover has many owners and he meets a variety of unique creatures, including a Great White Dragon, the Man in the Moon, a Sand Sorcerer, and a talking Whale. He also gets to travel under the sea and to the sky. Throughout, the writing in this book is superb. Despite this being a child's book, the story is not written 'down' to a child's level. Rather, it is literate and the language is erudite. As Tolkien himself said, "A good vocabulary is not acquired by reading books written according to some notion of the vocabulary of one's age-group. It comes from reading books above one..." (pg 23). I cannot agree more, and the vocabulary of readers of all ages will benefit from this delight story.

This edition of Roverandom represents Tolkien's final and complete version of the story. In addition, this edition also includes a detailed introduction by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond. This introduction examines how the story came into being, and the various manifestations that it went through before its final form was derived. The introduction also looks at the mythical and literary allusions made in the text, and how Tolkien's work on Roverandom laid the foundation for his middle earth series. Detailed endnotes, related to introduction, are also included. Best of all, this edition of Roverandom is graced by a series of beguiling illustrations by Tolkien.

According the book's introduction, Roverandom was a Tolkien family favorite. Without doubt, once you read this captivating book, it will also become a favorite of your family as well. It is as much fun to read aloud as it is to read alone, and it will delight readers of any age. I hope that you enjoy this wonderful tale as much I did. Happy reading!

Related Reviews:
Back to top

About LPR | Site Map | Privacy Policy

Questions or Comments? Send an email to:

Copyright Large Print Reviews 2003 - All Rights Reserved