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John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien Hardcover – March 21, 2017
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About the Author
Caroline McAlister teaches English at Guildford College and every year takes students to Oxford, England, to study fantasy in the setting where Tolkien lived and wrote. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Eliza Wheeler wrote and illustrated New York Times bestseller Miss Maple's Seeds and enjoys eating Hobbit food and reading Tolkien aloud with her friends. She divides her time between the coast of California and the riverbanks of Wisconsin.
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Top Customer Reviews
Caroline McAlister tells the story of John Ronald's life simply but with most of the essential details: his early fascination with words and stories, his happy childhood in rural England that ended with his mother's death when he was 12, his education at King Edward VI School in Birmingham, his deep attachment to the Roman Catholic Church, and his love for the young woman he eventually married. His darker experiences during World War I are also included, as is his post-war career as a professor at Oxford University, where he told his four children stories about a being he called a hobbit.
As a long time Tolkien reader and student I do feel the need to point out that McAlister's tale has some chronological errors, but they will have no effect on the enchantment the story will surely cast on her target audience (children 4-8 years old). An additional pleasure are Eliza Wheeler's wonderful illustrations, full of sunlight and green grass and leaves, with some suitably darker pictures to depict Tolkien's life in the city of Birmingham and in the trenches during World War I. I especially enjoyed Wheeler's drawings showing Tolkien striding along behind Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves as they journeyed across the Misty Mountains through Mirkwood to the Lonely Mountain. Adults buying this book for children will appreciate the historical notes by McAlister and Wheeler included at the end, and many will appreciate the appropriateness of such things as William Morris patterns for Tolkien's chair or the titles of the books depicted in his library.
Many children fortunate enough to read or hear John Ronald's Dragons will undoubtedly be inspired to then read or ask to have read to them The Hobbit. What a wonderful treasure awaits them!