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Bilbo's Last Song Hardcover – October 23, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When it first appeared in 1990, PW called Bilbo's Last Song by J.R.R. Tolkien, illus. by Pauline Baynes, "a must for all fans of Tolkien's vast, epic fantasy." The poem, purportedly written by Bilbo Baggins (hero of The Hobbit) just before he takes ship from Middle-earth to the Undying Lands at the end of The Lord of the Rings, gives rise to Bayne's medieval-flavored paintings. "The effect is stirring, the mood elegiac and the imagery riveting," said PW. (Sept.)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up-- An illustrated version of a small poem from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The poem, in which Bilbo talks about leaving Middle Earth and bidding farewell to his life and friends there, is a vehicle for Baynes to immerse herself in the characters and events in this trilogy. The pages are filled with watercolor drawings skillfully depicting detailed scenes of great adventure--magical beings with glistening capes, sparkling rings, and other mystical objects that convey all the wonder and charm of Tolkien. Unfortunately, none of these wonderfully detailed drawings illustrate the words in this book. In fact, they were not intended to do so. Instead, they depict scenes from The Hobbit, The Return of the King, or The Fellowship of the Ring , necessitating complex explanatory notes for all of the illustrations, even the endpapers. The result is not a blending of pictures and words or even a picture book version of a children's poem, but a study of Tolkien--overwhelming for any reader unfamiliar with his work. Although this book pays tribute to him, it suffers from an excess of praise and loses its audience as a result. Most children would only be confused by it. --Jane Marino, White Plains Public Library, NY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 12
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; Revised edition (October 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375823735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375823732
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892.1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

306 of 319 people found the following review helpful By Michael Szczepanik on October 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Strictly speaking, this book/poem is neither "the last poem in The Lord of the Rings" (as the Horn Book review misstates) nor "a sequel to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings" (as one of the customer reviews claims). "Bilbo's Last Song" is not in The Lord of the Rings, and it's not substantial enough to qualify as a sequel. It's a short but moving poem that was originally published as a poster (shortly after Tolkien's death, if memory serves). It's Bilbo's farewell to Middle Earth and, by extension, Tolkien's farewell to both his fictional world and our world. In its current form, this little poem has been stretched into a book to capitalize on the current resurgence of interest in Tolkien. Pauline Baynes' drawings are characteristically simple and effective but not a good enough reason to buy this book. Unless you're a Tolkien collector, skip this one and spend your money on something more substantial of Tolkien's, such as The Tolkien Reader or Unfinished Tales. What we *really* need is a collection of *all* of Tolkien's poems in one volume.
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101 of 108 people found the following review helpful By R.L.G. on July 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book was one that I stumbled apon in [a local store] as I was browsing the Tolkien area as usual. Since it was a rather short read, I sat down at a table in the back of the store. By the time I reached the last page my heart ached, tears came to my eyes, a smile appeared on my face, and I knew I could never put it back on that shelf. I could truly sense the love Tolkien felt for his Hobbits, and all of their friends. It is the perfect encore to the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I've enjoyed Bilbo's Last Song so many times since that day that I highly recommend this book to all true Tolkien fans. Ignore the price and buy this wonderful book!
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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In the recent swell of Tolkien-related books, because of new fans of the movies, this little gem is often overlooked because it is basically a gift book, one of those tiny little books that are mostly pictures. But even if you don't buy gift books, this is so far and above the other ones that it should definitely be purchased.
This is Bilbo's song as he arrives at the Grey Havens at the finale of "Lord of the Rings," at the Elven ships that will sail for the Undying Lands. His thoughts as he prepares to leave Middle-Earth are looking back on his long, adventure-filled life -- poignant, peaceful, and a little bit hopeful for the future.
While this is not a story or a sequel, it is nevertheless very Tolkienish. The rhythm, meter, and wording of this little poem is very recognizable as Tolkien's work, for anyone who has read his books and the wonderful poetry that is sprinkled through them. And Pauline Baynes has augmented the poetry with a series of beautiful pictures. Quite detailed and pretty, they have a slightly unearthly tinge, like the starlight around the Elves. And this new edition has excellent paper and printing, very high quality.
Even those who aren't die-hard Tolkien fans can appreciate the beauty of his poetry and the perfect accompaniment of Baynes' pictures. Lovely little gem.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on December 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Bilbo's Last Song," by J.R.R. Tolkien, is illustrated by Pauline Baynes. The text is a poem/song attributed to Bilbo Baggins, a character from Tolkien's fantasy epic "The Lord of the Rings" and its companion volume, "The Hobbit." The song itself is a tender, wistful message of farewell. It opens, "Day is ended, / dim my eyes, / but journey long / before me lies."
The song is illustrated throughout with scenes from both "Lord" and "the Hobbit." Fans of Tolkien's tales will recognize many familiar scenes and characters: the doorway to Bilbo's home, the wizard Gandalf, the tragic Gollum, the dragon Smaug, and more. The illustrations vary from quaint and homey to action-packed to tenderly evocative. A key at the end of the book tells the origin of each scene illustrated. Bayne's pictures are full of color, charm, and interesting detail; I really believe this is a book one can come back to again and again.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Terrie on January 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a lovely little keepsake book with colorful illustrations highlighting many scenes from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The paper is high quality, the printing and inks are excellent, and there are lovely silver accents on the cover. Pauline Baynes, a long-time friend of Professor Tolkien, may be better known as the illustrator of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. In this work which is the song written by Bilbo at the time of his parting to go to the Grey Havens and thence to take ship for the Undying Lands, the illustrations are graceful and filled with heart-felt reminiscence. They are detailed and emotional and do perfect justice to Bilbo's thoughts as he looks back upon a life filled with adventures, old friends and the riches of a life well lived. The little song is short and very touching and captures the swirl of feelings as he leaves Middle-Earth and embarks upon his journey to his final home among the Elves and the Ring Bearers.
This strikes me as a work that would be lovely to read at the passing of a loved one for it captures the longing to set forth as well as the sadness of the leaving.
It is a must for any Tolkien fan and certainly for any fans of the talented Pauline Baynes. Bilbo would be well pleased.
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