Poor Bilbo Baggins! An unassuming and rather plump hobbit (as most of these small, furry- footed people tend to be ), Baggins finds himself unwittingly drawn into adventure by a wizard named Gandalf and 13 dwarves bound for the Lonely Mountain, where a dragon named Smaug hordes a stolen treasure. Before he knows what is happening, Baggins finds himself on the road to danger. Wizards, dwarves and dragons may seem the stuff of children's fairy tales, but The Hobbit is in a class of its own--light-hearted enough for younger readers, yet with a dark edge guaranteed to intrigue an older audience. In the best tradition of the archetypal hero's quest, Bilbo Baggins sets out on his fateful journey a callow, untested soul and returns--tempered by hardship, danger and loss--a better man--er, hobbit.
This book is the predecessor to Tolkien's masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, and though that trilogy can be thoroughly enjoyed without first reading The Hobbit, much that happens in the later novels is foreshadowed here. A word of caution, however: as Bilbo discovers early on, travel and adventure are addictive things; embark on this journey to the Lonely Mountain with Tolkien's reluctant hero, and you might not be able to stop there. And the road taken to the distant mountains of Mordor in the ensuing trilogy is an even more perilous one.
From Publishers Weekly
Between the film release of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, this is the season of the magical movie, and this audiobook is an inevitable spinoff. Countless readers have grown up on the adventures of the little furry hobbits who crave good food and a warm bed, but wind up trapped in caves, attacked by spiders and burdened by a dizzying assortment of treacherous adventures. While the stories are quite intricate, the message of good triumphing over evil is always evident. This appealing theme of the downtrodden overcoming obstacles is what keeps listeners' attention. There is so much action on this dramatization that listeners may often feel pulled in many directions. The narrators, including Ray Reinhardt as Bilbo and Bernard Mayes as Gandalf, are engaging, and the sound effects (including noises in the cave or forest, or the hobbits sitting down to a meal) are also quite strong. But those not already familiar with the story may find it difficult to distinguish between the various characters or keep track of all the action. Listeners will probably want to read the book along with listening, or perhaps listen and then watch the movie. The tapes are presented in a rustic-looking wooden box, making this appropriate for gift giving.
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