From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6?This serviceable biography gives a straightforward introduction to the life of the man who created the world of The Hobbit. Although brief, the book covers pertinent events. Tolkien spent the first few years of his life in South Africa, where his father worked for the Bank of Africa. When he was three, Tolkien, or Ronald, as he was called, went to England with his mother and brother for what was supposed to be a visit. While they were away, Tolkien's father died, leaving his wife nearly destitute. Five years later, she died. Tolkien was eventually sent to live in a boarding house for orphans, where he met his future wife. After a brief teaching post at Leeds University, he taught at Oxford for the rest of his career. Because Tolkien's life lacked the drama of a Fitzgerald or a Hemingway, this biography often seems slow moving. It does, however, give some interesting insight into the power Tolkien's work has had on people over the years, and gives addresses of Tolkien groups operating both in the U. S. and Great Britain. Libraries that have David R. Collins's J.R.R. Tolkien: Master of Fantasy (Lerner, 1992) may want to pass on this one, since the books are similar in scope and content. Otherwise, buy as demand suggests.?Melissa Hudak, North Suburban District Library, Roscoe, IL
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Long before Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling, there were Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins, and J. R. R. Tolkien. For young readers lucky enough to be familiar with the print versions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, this will bring the creator to vivid life. Where did Tolkien’s love for the environment come from? And why those three initials? For those not familiar with the works, this might pique their interest; they will at least be surprised to learn that the anticipation for the third volume of The Lord of the Rings rivaled that of the Harry Potter books. The small trim size and general brevity of the book will broaden the audience appeal, though there are no photos save a single black-and-white shot of an elderly Tolkien sitting among gnarled tree roots. The writing is straightforward with equal space given to Tolkien’s poverty-stricken childhood and his time as an Oxford academic and family man. A list of Tolkien’s writings and an index comprise the back matter. Grades 4-7. --Randall Enos
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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