The Hobbit: Book Review

Title: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Year Published: 1937

Reading Level:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid ———-X———Moby Dick


Dungeons and Dragons is Tolkien with dice. Led Zeppelin uses Tolkien in their lyrics. The Hobbit film trilogy grossed over 3 billion dollars! Tolkien invented the fantasy genre as we know it, but The Hobbit feels so fresh that many people don’t realize it was published the same year the Hindenburg crashed in New Jersey (Oh! The Humanity!), Amelia Earhart vanished over the Pacific (not the Bermuda Triangle) and Walt Disney released Snow White (permanently changing cartoons). 1937 was a good year for dwarves! Even if you’ve already seen the movies (scratch that. Especially if you’ve only seen the movies!), do yourself a favor and get lost in Middle Earth with The Hobbit.

What’s it about?

Bilbo Baggins spends most of his time snacking or thinking about snacking. The wizard Gandalf shows up unexpectedly with Thorin and his squad of dwarves who want to defeat a dragon and reclaim their mountain home with all its treasures. The dwarves want Bilbo’s help because, much to Bilbo’s surprise, Gandalf insists that Bilbo is an accomplished burglar and not the couch potato he appears to be. Bilbo has to prove to the dwarves and to himself what Gandalf seems to have known all along: under all that ale, cake and cheese, Bilbo really is a hero.

Special Features:

  • Cozy grandpa-type narrator. Children’s bedtime story feel. Hobbits, wizards, dwarves, elves, eagles, trolls, goblins, giant spiders, the world’s coolest shapeshifting bear, Riddles in the Dark, humor and adventure.
  • Granddaddy of the fantasy genre. Godfather of Harry Potter and Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones). Spawner of countless imitators and enough fan fiction to fill the Library of Congress.

Themes / Big Ideas

  • What makes ordinary people do courageous things?
  • How and why should good triumph over evil?
  • Is war worth it?
  • How far should we go to do our duty?
  • What are the limits of friendship?

Tonio Favetta is the author of Falling From the Ground, a Y/A SciFi adventure. He also teaches high school English.

Posted in Book Reviews and Recommendations

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