Top positive review
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An Unknown Classic
on 24 January 2004
This stuff goes under the listing of "things most people don't know Tolkien wrote," along with things like "On Fairy Stories," "Bilbo's Last Song" and the charming bedtime story "Roverandum." It's a good collection of Tolkien's lesser-known material, including some cute short stories and poems.
In this slim volume is: "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil," a collection of poems. Some focus on the weird and wonderful Tom himself, and some are poems that are (or might be) in Middle-Earth, like the creepy "Mewlips," the sweet "Princess Mee," and melancholy "Last Ship." There is "Leaf By Niggle," the tale of a painter straining to live up to his hopes. "Farmer Giles of Ham" is a delightful mock-hero tale about a farmer and a not-so-frightening dragon, while "Smith of Wootton Major" is a deeper, more subtle story about fantasy in a person's life.
As always, Tolkien's writing is entertaining and well-plotted if it's a story, just fantastic if it's a poem. (Although some of the poems have plots too). If you're expecting the depth or grimness of "Lord of the Rings," then you'll disappointed; these are more like "The Hobbit" or "Roverandum" in tone, although there are hints of "Rings" in some of the short stories like "Leaf" or "Farmer Giles."
Why four stars? Well, the cover is a bit odd-looking, a bit smudgy for my taste. And the paper felt a bit odd, as if it could have been better. And buyers should be forewarned: If you have purchased the "Tolkien Reader," then know that this book has some of the same stuff compiled in it. Specifically, "Father Giles" and "Adventures."
This is a good compilation of several of Tolkien's lesser, non-"Lord of the Rings" works, and fans shdould check them out. In fact, so should non-fans.