Rating: +

J.R.R. Tolkien

Published posthumously, this children's book is based on stories that Tolkien told his sons about a toy dog who is separated from the little boy who owns him and goes on many adventures while trying to get back home. It's a very cute little story. While the language isn't simple, I think the story would be accessible to and entertaining for young children. The story is accompanied by a small number of illustrations drawn by Tolkien himself.

The book is really made up of a number of fairly independent stories about the little dog. Through his adventures, the dog becomes more independent and more self confident, but retains his desire to return home to the boys that love him. As a whole, it is a thinly-veiled story about growing up and taking responsibility for ones actions, even if the outcomes were unintended.

One of my favorite parts of the book is that even some of the good characters in the book don't like the little dog very much, and some of the evil characters don't dislike the dog as much as you would expect. The little dog has to work to befriend people and to maintain those friendships once they've been formed. I liked the reality of these relationships, rather than the common simplicity in children's books of assuming that all good people are friends, and only bad people can't get along.

The story doesn't have any close links to the Lord of the Rings, but there are as few elements of "folklore" that connect to The Silmarilion. It's less mythical than Tolkien's other works, incorporating traditional magic and fairytale notions.

This book is probably mostly of interest to Tolkien fans, but it is a fun, fantastic story in its own right too. I give it a borderline '+'.


Review written May 2001.


Return to Amanda's Review Page

All contents of this site copyright, contact with any questions or comments.