The Hobbit

by J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

Book review by Billy Dickerson

Ages 10+

A Hobbit Goes on Holiday

“It is a very dangerous thing when you step out your front door. You never know where you will end up.”

Above you will find the words of one Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End to his nephew, Frodo, many years after the events of this book. Bilbo certainly embodies this statement as he gets swept up in adventure he never expected.

I guess I should mention that Bilbo is a Hobbit, an unusual creature that is seldom seen in the world today. He also lives in a world filled with all sorts of magical creature: wizards, elves, dwarfs, and even dragons. Bilbo, like most hobbits, doesn’t care about what happens in the world beyond his happy little village.

One day however, Bilbo receives a strange company of visitors-twelve dwarfs and a wizard named Gandalf.

This company has come to do something that Bilbo has not expected. They wish to hire him as a burglar, a trade that he does not practice. Not only do they wish him to burgle for them, they want him to steal from a living, fire-breathing dragon. This dragon, Smaug, attacked the dwarfs’ home and killed many of their people. He now sits on a pile of gold that belonged to them in the past. Bilbo faints at first, but he eventually is convinced to take on the assignment.

From the moment he steps out of his door, Bilbo is swept in to adventure after adventure and faces a wide variety of challenges. Trolls, goblins and a strange creature in the dark are just the beginnings of Bilbo’s quest. Does this small Hobbit have what it takes to succeed in this quest or even just to survive it? That is the real question of this tale.

Even at its darkest moments, this story isn’t overwhelming. There is always a bit of humor or brightness. Bilbo is a fun character and he grows through the story. He is able to face each challenge as it comes and while he doesn’t always get it right, he is able to become stronger and more resourceful as he heads off each challenge.

The Hobbit is also filled with a variety of song/poems to inspire a reader to take more of an active interest in music and poetry. There is certainly more to be found in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but that set is certainly a harder read.

Tolkein creates a fascinating world in The Hobbit, and thankfully he shared it with all of us. There is certainly more to be found in other books either written by J. R. R. Tolkein or collected by Christopher Tolkein over the years, but The Hobbit is probably the best place to start. Here you can follow Bilbo and find out what kind of adventures await you when you step out your door. Bilbo certainly learns the dangers of stepping out his front door, but perhaps he also learns that there are some benefits as well. You’ll have to read this book and find out for yourself.

More classic kid lit.

Read more of Billy's book reviews.

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