45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2002
Having only recently read the poem on a website, I became incresingly aware of its intense emotion and beauty. I found myself re-reading it again and again, I must say I really fell in love with it. When I found this book for sale at Amazon I was initially afraid that it might be a disappointment. Now that it has just recently arrived, I find that it has become preciouss to me... Pauline Baynes' drawings are just wonderful, suitable for a child or an adult in the same way as "The Hobbit" itself fits both audiences. The hardcover is beautifully decorated and comes covered with a perfectly identical removable softcover. On each odd page you get a bit of the poem, while each even page is illustrated with a large drawing relating to Bilbo's departure from Middle-Earth. On the bottom of every page there is also a small illustration from "The Hobbit" which, as a set, roughly depict the main passages of J.R.R. Tolkien's wonderful book.
In the end, I must say that this book truly conveys part of the emotion of "The Lord of The Rings" and "The Hobbit", so it should appeal to anyone who's already a lover of these books.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2004
There is a risk, if you have Peter Jackson's epic as your visualisation of Middle-earth, that you might find Ms Baynes' illustrations too primitive; they are the sort you might find in a childrens book. I found them enchanting. The 24 line poem is spread throughout the book with illustrations of Bilbo's last journey with the Elves, meeting Frodo and Sam, then on to the Grey Havens and the Blessed Realm. Illustrations from The Hobbit sit in cameo,like a memory, on each page. In this way, the pictures mingle with the poem and become part of it; the journey experienced as the poem forms and the memory of Bilbo's finest hour. It's almost as if you're inside Bilbo's mind as he journeys to leave Middle-earth forever. This is a great book to give to a Tolkien fan, and to any child who has read The Hobbit, or had it read to them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2013
This exquisitely beautiful book is a real treasure, with such wonderful full-color illustrations by Pauline Baynes and sparkling silver lettering on the cover. Bilbo's Last Song is considered to be Tolkien's epilogue to his classic work `the Lord of the Rings' and closure on Bilbo's story. The jewel-like paintings by Pauline Baynes (Tolkien's favorite illustrator of his works), within this book tell two stories simultaneously ~ with the larger illustrations depicting the journey that brings the Ring-bearers and the company of Elves to the Grey Havens and the beginning of the final voyage across the sea. Running concurrently is a sequence of vignettes showing scenes from `The Hobbit' so Bilbo remembers his first journey, as he prepares for his last. This is an enchanting, supremely magical book filled with lyrical prose and fantastical adventure.
Bilbo Baggins, famous Hobbit adventurer and savior of the One Ring, arrives at the Grey Havens at the end of the Third Age to board the White Ship on its journey West. It is here that he composes his last song, reflecting on the leaving of Middle-Earth and the voyage that will take him to the Undying Lands at the end of the sunset. (This representation of JRR Tolkien's ideals on death and/ or immortality is pleasantly harmonius and it is nice that you are left in the unknown). Poignant and lyrical, the song is both a longing to set forth on his ultimate journey and a tender farewell to his friends left behind.
"Farewell friends! The sails are set, the wind is east, the moorings fret..."
Bilbo's last song is a must for all fans of Tolkien's vast, epic fantasy as it offers closure to one of the most significant character's stories. Alongside the stunning illustrations that adorn every single page, including the inner cover, is a section at the back containing more information on the pictures that convey Bilbo's stories and adventures. Although this is considered to be a children's book, similarly to `The Hobbit' I feel strongly that this is a book for all ages who love and cherish Tolkien's works, and who have read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings and are interested in a sequel. Pauline Baynes artwork, (which also features in Farmer Giles of Ham, The adventures of Tom Bombadil, Smith of Wotton Major and Tree and Leaf) is perfect and really adds to Bilbo's story; bringing clearly to life his adventures and last voyage across Middle-Earth.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
With the Hobbit being this years hot Christmas film, there are going to be a number of people out there that would love to introduce the father of modern fantasy to the young reader in their home and whilst its going to be a little bit too old for some this book makes a wonderful addition to your home whilst bringing the full flavour to your young readers imagination. Beautifully written and accompanied by wonderful expansive art this title is one that really will hit the spot and help take many back to their first reading of the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings whilst entertaining the next generation.
Add to the mix the readability factor which means it'll be requested again and all round a definite sure fire hit so much so that when my Dad saw that I had a copy he not only half hitched it but decided on an impromptu reading for his Grandchildren who sat enraptured around his feet.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2010
If you have read Hobbit and LOTR, this might be a bit of a surprise. Bilbo's farewell to Middle-earth as a short poem with illustrations from Tolkien's favourite illustrator Paulinen Baynes. The perfect little gift for Tolkien fans of all ages.
on 7 November 2012
A coda to The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo's Last Song is a poem of twelve four-line stanzas telling the tale of the old hobbit's passing from Middle-earth into the uttermost West.
Each stanza is allocated an entire left-hand page. Framing the twelve verses are twelve different pairs of overarching trees, painted in colour by Tolkien's favourite artist, the late Pauline Baynes. Beneath, on and above the trees are a wonderful variety of creatures lent by the British countryside - fox and badger, beaver and stoat, hedgehog and otter, frog and squirrel, weasel and rabbit, bat, blackbird and owl, all animated by the keenly observed spirit so characteristic of Pauline's work.
Opposite each stanza, on the right-hand page, is a colour vignette of a stage of Bilbo's last journey. We see him in his room at Rivendell, speaking to Elrond, mounting his pony, riding through woodland, encountering Frodo and Sam, coming to the Far Downs, meeting Cirdan the Shipwright, arriving at the Grey Havens, greeting Merry and Pippin, setting sail, passing the horizon and coming at last to the glory of the Undying Lands.
At the foot of each page are a series of smaller colour vignettes depicting the great adventure of Bilbo's that Tolkien recorded in The Hobbit. In the edition which I own - a hardback published by Hutchinson in 2002 - there is also a frontispiece showing Bilbo at his writing desk, together with a title page portrait of Bilbo resting after a walk and an inexpressibly lovely endpaper painting of Elrond's company watched by fox, deer, badger and squirrel as they ride through a golden-leaved autumn. Six pages of notes relate each illustration to the relevant passage in Tolkien's stories.
Pauline's gentle, graceful art has been an unfailing joy to me since I discovered it in the Chronicles of Narnia more than forty years ago. In this exquisite, jewel-bright masterpiece, reminiscent of the illuminated mediaeval manuscripts that she revered, her unique craft and gifts find what must surely be one of their most beautiful expressions.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2013
Tolkien, J.R.R. (2012), Bilbo's Last Song, illustrated by Pauline Baynes, London/Uxbridge: Red Fox (= a Random House subsidiary). ISBN 978-0-099-43975-2.
This is a complex document. At the heart is a poem, originally drafted in the 1920s and given to Joy Hill in 1970. Shortly after Tolkien's death it was published in poster form, and also set to music by Donald Swann. The text has gone through three editions since then (1990, 2002, 2012), all illustrated by Pauline Baynes in her faux-Luttrell style. The present edition coincides with the première of the Hobbit. The volume contains Tolkien's poem, Bilbo's Last Song (at the Grey Havens), Baynes' illustrations, a biographical note on Tolkien and `Notes on the Pictures' probably by Baynes.
The pictures form two groups: 13 large pictures, which illustrate Bilbo's final journey, and 26 small pictures, placed at the foot of the page, which follow the original narrative of The Hobbit. This gives the work a double focus. The original poem bids farewell to Middle Earth, saying `Farewell, friends'. In a sense it is Tolkien's own farewell. He imagines Bilbo at the Grey Havens, awaiting the departure of the Last Boat, as in the final chapter of The Return of the King. Bilbo's hopes appear to mirror Frodo's thoughts on the voyage: `And the ship went out into the High Sea, and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water.'
The Baynes pictures add a retrospective note. They tell us of Bilbo's recollections of his old journey `There and back again', while at the same time they follow his movements from Rivendell, where he lives in retirement among the Elves, first to the Grey Havens, where the elves are met by Cirdan (ill. 8, p.17), and then, after Merry & Pippin have arrived to bid farewell, out into the open sea. The last three pictures follow the voyage, with Sam watching the ship disappear over the waters, and Bilbo looking ahead to `a far green country under a swift sunrise.'
It is a quiet, meditative book, easy to dismiss at first glance (Rosebury 1992 found it `banal'). But that would be over harsh. Shippey 2000, 304 gives it a significance greater than the actual words, as the verse counterpart to Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major (1967), in which he re-evaluates his own relationship with the Faërie realm, and accepts the unavoidable necessity of old age and loss. The illustrations bear close attention, not only for Baynes' meticulous detail, but the way in which they seek to draw out Tolkien's inner meaning and references. It's an edition to keep and re-read.
on 9 April 2015
I have had a hard back copy for some time, then bought the Kindle edition. I found this most disappointing as I cannot open it on either my Kindle or my PC. I get the message that it is not available for either device. Had Amazon told me that it was only available for some devices I would not have bought it.
on 15 February 2013
Having recently been to see the Hobbit I was looking for copy of the book to buy for my son and came across this whilst browsing.
I love the illustrations and of course the poem it's self . If you are a fan of all things Hobbity( not sure that's a word )
Or you just like the art work - get it.
on 28 October 2014
For Tolkien fans this is a great book to accompany The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It explains the end of The Lord of The Rings and Frodo and Bilbo's departure by boat - not recorded in the original trilogy. Wonderfully illustrated and suitable for younger readers the poetry is, well, Tolkien.