Customer Review

114 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice coffee table book!, September 27, 2000
This review is from: The Hobbit (Hardcover)
I bought this book because I wanted a hardcover illustrated fancy version of "The Hobbit".
I'm just going to pretend that everyone who reads this review has already read "The Hobbit" and knows what it's about. Like I suspect many others do, I have my own old sacred tattered and dog-eared paperback version on the Tolkien bookshelf.
This book (the physical object, not just the story) is beautiful. It's clothbound in dark green and embossed in gold, and the bottom corner of the front cover has a gold embossed dragon, tastefully rendered. The paper dustjacket/cover features a dragon as well (I'm guessing Smaug). Eye-catching.
There are many full-page color paintings, and many grayscale drawings (not full page) throughout. I'm not an art student, so I don't know what they're really called. Pencil-drawings or something. I call them grayscale because they're gray. Anyway, the Allen Lee illustrations are utterly charming, soft and colorful without being too bright. However, I wouldn't recommend this illustrated book for very young children; some of the goblins and trolls are frightening!
I was a bit disappointed that Alan Lee didn't include more illustrations of Elves. Most of the pictures dealt with Bilbo and the dwarves, with a few of goblins and Gollum (scary). Also, I pictured Bilbo Baggins to be somewhat on the "stout" side...the text *does* refer to Hobbits as being "inclined to be fat in the stomach" and liking two dinners a day, "when they can get it." The Bilbo Baggins in these illustrations is quite slender and looks as if he could use that second dinner right away! Maybe even a third and fourth! The balding, skinny Hobbit did surprise me. But then, I kind of expected the chubby halfling I saw on some old Tolkien calendars.
This book makes a wonderful coffee table book and would make a great gift. It's printed on thick glossy paper, so the book is heavy. In these days of cheap hardcover bookbinding and paperbacks that have the consistency of the thick weekly manga, this book is truly a work of art in itself.
Recommended for all but the very young, or the easily frightened.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 6, 2012 1:40:17 PM PDT
HonestlyNow says:
One other book that is ink unknown and beautifully illustrated is James Stephens The Crock of Gold. The Crock of Gold. I include a link to the free version.

Posted on Sep 19, 2012 9:15:36 AM PDT
Ed Morgan says:
Thanks for the review. The world contained in a book becomes more real when the book which contains that world becomes more fitting. Tolkien's work deserves a full embodiment; it's good to see that's happening here. (I also have a dog-eared paperback.)
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