Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien

Alexandra Wallner
Illustrator:  John C. Wallner 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Holiday House, 2011   ISBN: 978-0823419517

When Ronald Tolkien was a boy, he loved to study words and he made up several languages, which he and his friends used to write secret notes to each other that no one else could understand. He also loved to make up stories, and when he was a student at Oxford University Ronald and some other young men formed a club. The members of the club shared the stories that they had written.

   Later, after he had served as a soldier in World War I, Ronald became a professor at Oxford University Now Ronald had a wife and children to support and so he had little time for his own writing, but one night he began to write a story about a creature called a hobbit. The hobbit was called Bilbo Baggins, and he had many extraordinary adventures. Ronald turned the story into a book called The Hobbit and both children and adults loved it.

   Ronald’s next big writing project was to write a trilogy called The Lord of the Rings. The stories in these books were more complex and not suitable for children, but adults found them fascinating and the books were printed in many languages.

   Many thousands of people have read and enjoyed J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, and for many of them, being able to travel to a magical land peopled by elves, hobbits, wizards, dwarves and other characters is a priceless gift.

   In this excellent picture book biography the author’s informative text is accompanied by wonderful illustrations that capture scenes from Tolkien’s life and from his stories. Readers will get a sense of what Tolkien was like, and they will see that he truly loved the places and characters that he created.