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Roverandom - Not Niddle Earth???
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