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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars

on 24 January 2004
Reading Roverandom, by J.R.R. Tolkien, was like opening a dusty box of childhood memories left under my bed. It has a sort of playful side to it. When Rover was journeying to the moon on the back of a seagull named Mew, and almost traveled an actual road in the sky to get there. Tolkien dragged you into the plot by drawing you in as a part of his outrageous world, giving you a sense of belonging. For instance, he'd mention the names of the flowers on the moon, as if it were nothing and as if they were common knowledge. Fairbells, tinklebells, ringaroses, pennywhistles, tintrumpets, feathergrasses, fairy-fiddlestrings, etc... Roverandom was short and extremely fast-pace. Tolkien consumed big slices of time like homemade bread. He would say, "Rover and the Sea-dog had many more adventures under the ocean, but we can save those for another time." It left a lot of room for your imagination to run wild. Strangely, it was very entertaining. When Rover is under the ocean and causes the sea serpent to awaken on accident, his shy little attitude makes you sad for him. But, of course, good books are the ones that make you feel something. They are the ones that make you feel like you're the main character without ever having been in their position.
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
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on 23 April 2017
In the summer of 1925, J.R.R. Tolkien took his family on a vacation to the east coast of Yorkshire. At the time, his children were John, 7; Michael, 4; and Christopher, a baby. Tolkien was due to start his new position at Oxford in October, although for a time he would continue his teaching duties at the University of Leeds in addition to teaching at Oxford.

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.
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on 16 June 2016
Not sure what to make of this book.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 February 2006
For a little kid, losing a favorite toy is downright traumatic. So in 1925, when four-year-old Michael lost his little toy dog on the beach, fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien made up a story to comfort his son. It explained away the loss of the toy, and wove a magical story around a little dog named Rover.

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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on 28 November 2002
This story is a wonderful tale that can be enjoyed by all ages. The writing is more similar to "The Hobbit" rather than "Lord of the Rings", although it is less descriptive, as it was originally made for a small child. It is a wonderful bedtime story that can be read to little children (and it even explains how dreams are made) and could probably be read by an intelligent 8-10 year old. Teens and adults will enjoy the whole-hearted cuteness of the story as Rover "randomly roves" through many wonderous places :)
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on 5 June 2003
In 1925, during a vacation on the Yorkshire coast, J.R.R. Tolkien's four-year-old son Michael lost his favorite toy dog. To console Michael, his father spun out a tale of where the toy dog had come from and where he went. This is that story.
A young dog named Rover is happily playing with his yellow rubber ball when he meets a cross old man. Rover sends the man on his way, tearing his trousers in the process. Sadly for Rover, the old man is Artaxerxes, a powerful wizard from Persia. (When Artaxerxes had become lost and asked for directions, someone had become confused and gave him directions to Pershore!) Artaxerxes turns Rover into a toy dog, and sends him off. This is the start of an epic quest for Rover, who meets a sand-wizard, the Man-in-the-Moon, the great dragons that live on the moon, the many merfolk living at the bottom of the ocean, and a delightful little boy.
This gentle story is quite entertaining. The story is wonderful in a slow, gentle way that seems irreproducible today. It is great for children. Complete with a group of illustrations drawn by the great J.R.R. himself, and some notes at the end to explain certain names and so forth, this is a great buy.
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on 21 October 2004
A delightful childrens story about a dog who bit the trousers of a wizard and is then changed into a toy. His travels and adventures as he tries to find the wizard are wonderous.
Tolkien gives funny and magical explanations for most of natures normal happenings.
Couldn't put the book down and sadened that it ended.
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on 6 February 2010
In 1925, Mr Tolkien, Mrs Tolkien and their three sons went on holiday to Filey. While on this trip, Michael, the middle son, lost his favorite toy dog. This was the basis for the story Roverandom, explaining what happened to the lost toy.

In the story, Rover begins as a real dog and a wizard turns him into a toy because Rover did not say "please." The toy Rover is sold for sixpence in a store and he decides he will run away from the family that bought him. He discovers he can only move at night. While the boys are asleep, he runs around the house looking for a way out, but he can't find one. One day, little boy Two puts Rover in his pocket when he goes to the beach. While the little boy is running, Rover manages to wiggle out of the pocket. Little boy Two and his father and brother search for the toy, but cannot find it.

Now that Rover has run away, he goes on an unexpected trip. A different wizard on the beach changes toy Rover back into a real dog. Mew the seagull picks him up and flies him to the moon!

On the moon, Rover meets the Man-in-the-Moon who gives him wings and the new name of Roverandom. Why? Because he already has a dog named Rover and he can't have two dogs with the same name! So, Roverandom and Moon-dog have a grand adventure on the moon.

An amusing little tale from a master of fantasy. Easy to read and enjoyable for any age.
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VINE VOICEon 3 June 2007
This is great little book which I found a pleasant and entertaining read. There is nothing very special about it but the illustrations are nice, if sparse, and the story is good and not too complicated. It is easy to read out loud and shouldn't be too hard for a competent child to read by themselves. The only negative thing about it is that there aren't more stories of the same ilk from Tolkein.
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on 3 June 2007
An absolute ace book. Follows the adventures of Rover, a dog who is turned into a toy by a wizard and can only move by night. 1 of tolkiens first books.
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