With The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, J.


R. Tolkien secured for himself a special place in fantasy literature. Many of those tales of Middle-earth were originally written or spoken as family stories and letters to Tolkien's children, and his newly released fantasy tale Roverandom evolved in the same fashion.

In 1925 Professor Tolkien, his wife Edith, and their children John, age eight, Michael, age five, and Christopher, age one went on holiday to the Yorkshire coast. While playing on the beach Michael lost his favorite toy a miniature lead dog painted black and white. This loss caused heartbreak for five-year-old Michael, and to compensate Tolkien invented a story in which a real dog named Rover is turned into a toy by a wizard and then lost by a boy on the beach. There he encounters adventures on the moon and under the sea.

Tolkien's canine hero, who comes to be known as Roverandom, meets a wonderful cast of characters including a "sand-sorcerer," the Man-in-the-Moon, a wise old whale, and a dangerous dragon who causes lunar eclipses with his smoky "red and green flames." This delightful fantasy story will charm every reader and is accompanied by Professor Tolkien's own illustrations.

Reviewed by Larry Woods.

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