A MINIATURE GEM,
This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
How a simple but cunning farmer got to be king of his world is told by Tolkien in classically simple style. So different to Tolkien's great works, this is nevertheless a miniature gem. It's a great story for telling to children, but, as always in the best childrens' tales, there are plenty of subtle jokes and sly digs to amuse the teller.
Tolkien was one of the great experts on Dark Ages history and tales -- especially English folktales -- and his wide knowledge is reflected in the setting and background to the story. The characterisation is simple yet true to life, and the plot twists in delightful ways. If you like historical novels, you will also enjoy the detail and the 'in jokes' in this short tale. Full of amusement yet so authentic in its feel, 'Farmer Giles of Ham' almost makes me wish that this story WAS dug up from among musty manuscripts in a forgotten archive to confound some dull scholar!
I read it first in the original edition, again to my children some 20 years ago, to their great delight, and yet again recently; it remains as fresh as the first time.
By the way, have you tried "Leaf by Niggle"? This is another little Tolkien beauty!