I decided to invest in this classic but I wasn't sure which edition to buy; the boxed set or the one book. I love hardback books, especially slightly oversized and I'm glad I decided to buy this one. The dust cover advertises the beautiful illustrations inside. It also has embossed gold foil writing and at the top and bottom the foil backed Runes. The bottle green hardback is gold embossed on the spine, and depicts in gold the Smaug (dragon) on the front. Inside you will find at the front Thror's map and at the back a map of Wilderland, to guide you through the journey of the heroes, whilst reading the book.
The pages are generously sized, clear and beautifully illustrated with Alan Lee's drawings in pencil and full colour throughout (I wish it had the old tissue paper covering the illustrations of bygone days!). There is also a Lord of the Rings edition in the same format. It is beneficial to read the Hobbit before the Lord of the Rings.
The Hobbit describes the adventures of a friendly, roughly 3 foot 6 hobbit called Bilbo. He is volunteered into an adventure beyond the scope of most hobbit's lives by a kindly old family friend, Gandalf the wizard. His journey is also initiated and accompanied by fourteen dwarves. Bilbo's contract is to steal the treasure back for the dwarves, stolen and held by Smaug the Magnificent. Smaug is a large and very perilous dragon. Bilbo even surprises himself by becoming a hero, despite his slight size. This is an enchanting book; Tolkien has a rare gift in creating books which capture the imagination of any age. It is beautifully written, comical, imagination stretching but with the skillfulness of convincing the reader that the story is factual and passing over a great empathy, tugging at the reader's heartstrings over the adventure's endearing characters. A must read book.