Roverandom by J. R. R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien’s earliest children’s story.
While on holiday in 1925, four-year-old Michael Tolkien lost his beloved toy dog on the beach. To console him, his father J.R.R. Tolkien improvised a story about Rover, a real dog who is magically transformed into toy, and his quest to find the wizard who can return him to normal.
The adventures of Rover, or ‘Roverandom’ a he becomes known, include encounters with an ancient sand-sorcerer and a terrible dragon, by the king of wordplay, the story underwent a number of revisions and was originally considered for publication in January 1937, the same year as The Hobbit, was abandoned when the publishers asked instead for a sequel, which culminated in The Lord of the Rings. Roverandom was finally published in 1998.
I love Tolkien and I have read The Lord of the Rings more times than I can count. So when I saw this in Waterstones I knew I had to get it and I was not disappointed.
Roverandom is all about a little dog who due to being a little bit rude and not minding his manners to a wizard he ends up as a small toy dog instead. Roverandom ends up being taken from his home and his beloved ball and goes on all kinds of adventures meeting wizards, dragons, mer people and much more.
This story is typical Tolkien but doesn’t flow with his usual style but I think this is because it wasn’t refined for publication by Tolkien. You can also clearly see that the wizards in this book were the starting points for Gandalf as Artaxerxes is a little bit similar to Gandalf.
This is a wonderful little story that you can just imagine Tolkien telling his distraught son to help with the loss of his beloved toy dog. The story also has a very clear moral about the consequences of not minding your manners and being polite. Roverandom goes on his adventures and learns to be a better dog, a dog with manners who is polite and kind and thinks of others. It really was a beautiful little read that I give 4 out of 5 Dragons.
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About the author
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January 1892 in Bloemfontein. He moved to England when he was three years old and was home schooled with his younger brother and taught by his mother. Tolkien served in the First World War and after the war he established a distinguished academic career and was recognised as one of the finest philologists in the world. He is best known as the creator of Middle Earth and the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was awarded a CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University in 1972. He died on 2nd September 1973 at the age of 81.