by J. R. R. Tolkein
Where do you start with a review of The Hobbit? What can I say that hasn’t already been said a thousand times?
Well, first up this was not the first time I read it, not by a long shot. I read it several times when I was younger and I remember loving it, which is why I picked it up to share with Tori and Arthur as our ‘big book’. It took us months to get through (we sort of paused at the end of November until after Christmas to fit in all the advent books) and I discovered, not for the first time, that reading books out loud is *hard*! Real kudos to all the people out there who narrate audiobooks because I’m terrible. I’m always forgetting the voices I do for characters or losing my place and mispronouncing (often simple) words.
In my defence, getting characters muddled up in The Hobbit is easily done when they’re all called Fili, Kili, Balin, Dwalin, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin and Gloin… needless to say they all had the same voice after about three pages!!
What surprised me most about re-reading The Hobbit was just how much I had forgotten. I thought the Smaug showdown was the big ending, but it absolutely isn’t (and also, I had a whole bit in my head about a golden bracelet on the dragon’s arm that I would have sworn was Bilbo/Smaug that didn’t exist at all so now I’m trying to work out which book I have amalgamated with it in my head…)
I still love the Middle-Earth universe and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story again, but I could see Arthur glazing over in some of the wordier bits. I’m not sure he was quite as enthralled as Tori, but he did always ask for more, so maybe he was. Sometimes it’s hard to tell!
The edition we shared was illustrated, which added an extra bit of fun. We often stopped to consult the map to figure out where the adventurers were up to and whenever we got to a picture page there had to be some close inspections and discussion of details.
I do particularly enjoy sharing illustrated editions of books with The Smalls, that extra element adds to the magic and often grabs their attention back when all the words get too much. Words get too much for me in classic books sometimes, if we’re being honest!
As much as I enjoyed The Hobbit as a sharing book, I’m leaving The Lord Of The Rings for them to discover in their own time – ain’t no way I’m reading that out loud!!
Next up as our ‘big book’ is looking like the original version of The Jungle Book – this one isn’t illustrated though so I’d better work harder on my voices!