Roverandom by J. R. R. Tolkien

Summary: As punishment for offending a wizard, the young dog Rover finds himself turned into a toy.  His quest to regain his former shape and return to the boy who loves him will take him to the moon and under the sea, but when he finds the wizard at last, it may be too late.

Review: The world knows Tolkien largely as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and rightly celebrates him for it.  However, the professor’s prodigious imagination encompassed more than Middle-earth. Roverandom, originally told as a story to his children, follows the adventures of a small dog named Rover as he searches for the wizard who can restore him to his true shape.  Like Tolkien’s Hobbits, Rover serves as a link character for the audience—one with whom the readers can identify as they travel through strange and wondrous lands.  For Rover, also like the Hobbits, finds himself quite unintentionally embroiled in the affairs of the high and mighty, and must journey through places he would never have visited otherwise.  Readers experience the journey through Rover’s eyes, which help them to see the beauty and awe of the worlds he travels in.  The story is, above everything else, a celebration of the imagination.

Tolkien moves with ease in Roverandom between the epic and the whimsical, the awe-inspiring and the charming.  He never condescends to his audience, inserting large words, clever wordplay and a multitude of allusions.  One need not already be an admirer of Tolkien’s to enjoy this completely original tale; anyone with a sense of humor and playfulness will find themselves enthralled.  If one does happen to be a fan of Middle-earth, however, he or she will be interested to catch glimpses of the professor’s great mythology in some of the details and descriptions, such as the journey to the forbidden lands on the edge of the world.  Roverandom invites new readers to discover the unparalleled imagination of Tolkien and reminds old readers why they love the professor.

Published: 1998

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Krysta 64

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