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Mr. Bliss Hardcover – January 17, 1983

21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Owes a little to Beatrix Potter in its ironical humour and to Edward Lear in the style of its drawings, though Tolkien's approach is less grotesque and more delicate than Lear's.' Humphrey Carpenter 'A celebration, in the spirit of The Wind in the Willows, of a vanished, vulgar England where everybody did - and spoke - exactly as he pleased, and life was consequently a series of amiable abrupt collisions, feebly refereed by the police in the shape of Sergeant Boffin. Although the book ought to feel dated, ... dating has done little harm to Tom Kitten or Mr Badger, and there seems no reason why it should here.' Tom. Shippey, Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (January 17, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395329361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395329368
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,564,101 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

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Mike London on May 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A very eccentric, very British children's story written by Professor Tolkien for his children. Imagine a children's picture book illustrated by the guy who did those two fantasy classics (THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT), involving a man with tall hats and a bad driving record, and a very British feel, and you have MR BLISS It largely shows his distrust turned hatred of things mechanical that destroy the environment. But make no mistake: this is no propaganda track written to slam pollution, it is first and foremost a story for children, his children. It is basically a humourous exploration, beautifully illustrated, of what could go wrong with an unexperienced driver (namely Mr Bliss). Easily the strangest character is a Girabbit, a type of animal invention that must be particular to British society, or even more localised to Tolkien's imagination, for I have never encountered him anywhere else; it has that feel of Britain, so it would not surprise me if it was British and not Tolkien's own invention. However, all of his children's fiction, save THE HOBBIT, has the particular feel. It is a rabbit with a very long neck (hence the name Girabbit, combining Giraffe and Rabbit).
The story is that a man named Mr Bliss goes and buys a Motor Car. Thru the course of the story, he has several interactions with his neighbours and three bears. His acquisition of a motor car is quite disastrous, and momentarily devastating, and in the end Mr Bliss finds the motor-car unnecessarily troublesome, and has "taken a great dislike to it". This attitude he expressed in the unpublished TALES AND SONGS OF BIMBLE BAY.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
J.R.R. Tolkien's best-known children's story is obviously "The Hobbit," but that wasn't the only book that he penned for kids. One of them was "Mr. Bliss," a charming little picture book with a simple comic plot. Not quite the stuff of classics, but a cute little read with charming illustrations.

Mr. Bliss is a man with a love of tall hats, and a Girabbit (sort of a long-necked rabbit with spots) in his garden. One day Mr. Bliss decides (for no apparent reason) to buy a car. He heads off to visit some friends afterwards, only to collide with a wagon of cabbages, end up with several passengers, and be hijacked by three bears named Archie, Bruno and Teddy.

Like "The Hobbit," this little tale was originally written to entertain Tolkien's children. And though it has an air of whimsy, it was actually based on a real incident: Tolkien's purchase of a car, although presumably he didn't end up being hijacked by teddy bears or any of the other disasters Mr. Bliss has to deal with.

Tolkien's little story never really goes much of anywhere -- he's just creating an eventful day for Mr. Bliss because of his new car. His writing here has a sort of warm puckish quality, much like the earlier parts of "The Hobbit," though obviously much less realistic and without much detail. As picture book prose goes, it's pretty good.

The book also has Tolkien's cute watercolor drawings, which lean heavily on trees and landscapes. What is especially striking is that Tolkien's handwritten writing appears on one side of the page, but it's a bit small and spiky to read easily. So the same words are clearly printed on the opposite pages, in case you can't read Tolkien's handwriting.

"Mr. Bliss" is one of those charming little books that Tolkien wrote for his biggest fans -- his kids. It's no "Hobbit" or "Roverandum," but it is a cute picture book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Not many people know that Tolkien has written a book for children. I found it at a used bookstore a couple months ago, and it is fabulous. On a par with Curious George, Dr. Seuss, and the Berenstain Bears, I loved it! It's the perfect introduction for a youngster into the land of J.R.R. Tolkien.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This delightful little story was written and illustrated by Professor Tolkien for his own children when they were young. Meet Mr Bliss, with his immensely tall hats, his customised house and most importantly the girabbit. Mr Bliss decides to buy a motor car and that is when his adventures really begin. Some of Mr Bliss's adventures are entirely attributable to his driving, but who could anticipate being hijacked by three bears?

My inner child and I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Mr Bliss. This story was written in the 1930s but was not published in Professor Tolkien's lifetime. The edition I read was published in 1982 and includes a facsimile of the original manuscript with the printed text on facing pages. The book has been revised and was republished (in the UK) in October 2007.

This is a story to read and enjoy with children. And if you don't have access to children, indulge your inner child and take time out to marvel at this particular manifestation of Professor Tolkien's imagination. Children's libraries everywhere should have a copy of this book, and I dedicate this review to my Amazon librarian friends. I just wish I'd been aware of this book about 20 years ago: I know my son would have loved it.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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