Roverandom Hardcover – 5 Jan 1998
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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
While on holiday in 1925 young Michael Tolkien lost his beloved toy dog on the beach. To console him, his father, J.R.R. Tolkien, invented a story about a real dog who is turned into a toy by a wizard and sent by a ‘sand sorcerer’ to the moon and under the sea.
More than 70 years later, the adventures of the dog Rover, also known as ‘Roverandom’, are now published for the first time. They have been edited from the original typescript by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, who relate the story to sources ranging from the Norse sagas to E. Nesbit, and link it also to Tolkien’s other fiction, including 'The Hobbit ', the ‘Father Christmas’ letters, and ‘The Silmarillion’. The book also includes five illustrations by Tolkien himself.
Entertaining and rich in wordplay, 'Roverandom' will delight all readers who love a clever tale, and will be welcomed by Tolkien’s many admirers of all ages.
Christina Scull is the former librarian of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London and the editor of the magazine 'The Tolkien Collector'. Her husband, Wayne G. Hammond, is Assistant Librarian in the Chapin Library of Rare Books, Williams College, author of the standard bibliography of Tolkien’s works, and a regular contributor of Tolkien notes to the journal 'Mythlore'. The couple live in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Their acclaimed study of Tolkien’s paintings and drawings, 'J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator', is also published by HarperCollins.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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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