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The Pocket Roverandom Hardcover – 26 Sep 2013
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‘This is an old-fashioned story, yet it still speaks freshly today… would leap to life when read aloud to a child’
‘Lord of the Rings buffs will enjoy picking out bits of Nordic mythology and will relish Tolkien’s fabulous sense of landscape’
From the Back Cover
In 1925, while the Tolkien’s were on holiday at Filey in Yorkshire, four-year-old Michael lost his beloved little toy dog. To comfort him, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote 'Roverandom', a story about a real dog, Rover, who is turned into a toy by a wizard. When dropped on the beach by a small boy, the toy is transported to the moon along the path of light the moon makes when it shines over the sea. The Man in the Moon renames him ‘Roverandom’ and gives him wings.
Roverandom sets out on a series of adventures, encountering the Great White Dragon and other moon fauna like giant spiders and dragon moths. Finally, back on earth, Roverandom travels under the sea inside Uin, oldest of the whales, to ask the wizard who changed him into a toy to undo the spell.
‘'Lord of the Rings' buffs will enjoy picking out bits of Nordic mythology and will relish Tolkien’s fabulous sense of landscape.’
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This little novel is about a little dog that goes on many strange and magical adventures. It starts off with Rover biting Artaxerxes's trousers. Artaxerxes is an old grumpy wizard who just happened to be strolling by, and some say it wasn't coincidence. The old wizard become furious with Rover and turns him into a miniature toy puppy. Rover goes through many bizarre complications trying to get back to his original form. The entire journey not only turns out to be a lesson for Artaxerxes and his anger-control, but for Rover as well.
Despite all the wild journeys, the uncanny characters, the abnormal locations, and Rover's involuntary arbitrary movement, I found that the best part of Roverandom was remembering how to be a kid again. Fantasy books tend to do that to me, and this was most definitely one of those enchanted stories. It is the kind that you can curl up with on the couch, and ponder all the strange and magical adventures you've had over the years
On of Michael’s favorite toys was a small lead dog painted black and white. One day during a walk on the beach, he set the toy down – and couldn’t find it again. For two days Tolkien, John, and Michael searched for the toy, but it was lost. Michael was heartbroken.
To ease his son’s grief, Tolkien began to tell stories about what happened to the toy. Over time installments and new adventures were added. In 1937, when “The Hobbit” had become a major publishing success, Tolkien edited the stories into a manuscript, which was never published. Now it has been, under the title of “Roverandom,” the name Tolkien gave to the toy dog. The story has been edited by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond and includes an informative introduction.
If you’ve read Tolkien’s “Letters from Father Christmas,” you’ll know the style of “Roverandom.” It is a story meant for children, full of the dog’s adventures on the beach, on the moon, and even under the sea. Roverandom is on a quest to remove a curse put on him by a wizard, and the quest takes him to varied places with wildly imaginative characters (including a dragon who predates Smaug in “The Hobbit”).
It’s a great read-aloud story for children.
Rover is an ordinary little puppy near the seaside in England, until he runs into a grumpy old man and ends up biting off part of his pants. The old man happens to be a wizard (Artaxerxes by name), and promptly transforms Rover into a toy dog (and no, I don't mean a tiny dog -- I mean a real toy). Rover subsequently gets picked up and sold to some little boys (presumably the Tolkien kids).
Fortunately, Rover encounters another magical being, a crusty, kindly sand-wizard named Psamathos. That wizard, in turn, gets Rover (who is renamed Roverandom) flown to the moon, where he spends time with the Man in the Moon and his winged dog Rover. And then he's heading off to encounter a talking whale, a mer-dog, a sea serpent -- and a dragon.
Like the vastly underrated "Farmer Giles of Ham," "Roverandom" is a charming little bit of whimsy. No deep themes, no epic clashes, not even really a villain. The writing is charming and magical, with phrases like "There was a cold wind blowing off the North Star" sprinkled through it. It almost gives the feeling of being in another world. Best of all, in the middle of the book are Tolkien's own illustrations, cute little drawings and ethereal paintings.
Rover is well-named, since his adventures are all over the map and don't really progress from one to the other. It's merely a cute little dog roaming over the moon, the ocean, and the land, conversing with shrimps and bothering wizards. He's an outspoken little guy, but likeable. The grumpy wizards are also excellently done, reminiscent of Gandalf.
While "Roverandom" is a book aimed at children, adults may enjoy the whimsical humor and beautiful writing. A charming and timeless story.
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