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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely copy to entice the younguns
A classic, plain and simple. The illustrations are whimsical, sophisticated, and there are plenty of them. A nice copy printed on quality paper, this edition will stand up to many, many readings.
Published on Nov. 19 2009 by Malkie Bear

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 70th anniversary edition rather disappointing, go with ANNOTATED HOBBIT instead., October 24, 2007
[This is a review of the 70th Anniversary Edition, not so much of THE HOBBIT itself. I've reviewed the book proper elsewhere, and would rather focus on the actual edition itself.]

THE HOBBIT is one of those few books that I have felt justified to buy multiple copies over the years. It is a book I have read and cherished, and a book I dearly love. THE HOBBIT is...
Published 19 months ago by Mike London


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 70th anniversary edition rather disappointing, go with ANNOTATED HOBBIT instead., October 24, 2007, Sept. 1 2012
By 
Mike London "MAC" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Hobbit (Paperback)
[This is a review of the 70th Anniversary Edition, not so much of THE HOBBIT itself. I've reviewed the book proper elsewhere, and would rather focus on the actual edition itself.]

THE HOBBIT is one of those few books that I have felt justified to buy multiple copies over the years. It is a book I have read and cherished, and a book I dearly love. THE HOBBIT is a novel that deserves to be bought multiple times over, and I always enjoy looking at new editions of this classic work. So imagine my excitement when I found out they would be publishing a 70th anniversary edition of one of my most cherished novels!

This has been a big year for Tolkien fans. Christopher Tolkien published THE CHILDREN OF HURIN, a newly completed version of Turin's legend, in April. We've gotten (at long last), THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT, expertly handled by brilliant Tolkien scholar John D. Ratcliffe and published in two separate volumes. And of course, we have the 70th anniversary of Tolkien's first primary work, THE HOBBIT, which this edition is published in celebration of that momentous occasion. And does it live up as a major new edition of this fantasy classic?

That's a pretty easy answer. The answer is NO.

First off, here are the positives. The 70th anniversary edition is pretty much how the first edition of THE HOBBIT was actually published back in 1937 with some notable improvements, and conforming to Tolkien's pretty exacting specifications, including how the dust jacket should appear, as well as the art and maps that accompany the text.

These are the notable differences between the first edition and this edition. Due to cost, Tolkien was not able from a production standpoint to have the book appear exactly as he envisioned. The 1937 publication cut some of his artwork, the map was not how he so desired, and the dust jacket, due to printing cost, was limited to three primary colours (green, black, and white). Originally, Tolkien wanted the sun on the front cover and the dragon on the back cover to be totally in red, but this was not feasible.

Obviously Tolkien's work is successful enough that these production costs are no longer an issue, and so this is a relatively accurate facsimile of what Tolkien would have wanted to publish in 1937 had money not been an object, as it too often is in the real world. For that, this edition has some worth.

Now, there are some negatives. And these are big negatives.

First off, paper quality and binding. It's bad.

Then there's the actual art work. The colour artwork is quite nicely implemented into the main text, and overall I don't have a problem with the colour artwork from a production standpoint. The paintings are bright and colourful, and remain true to higher quality prints of Tolkien's phenomenal painting. But unfortunately the same cannot be said of the black and white illustrations. Like a reviewer said before me, it appears Tolkien's drawings were reproduced on a cheap scanner. Tolkien's artwork is highly valuable, but unfortunately the drawings here are rather badly reproduced in this edition.

Then there's the advertisement for LOTR at the end that's rather annoying. They reproduce the first chapter of FELLOWSHIP and place it at the end of the novel, acting like a cheap plug for Tolkien's masterpiece. I don't have any problem with plugging LOTR, but to me this inclusion of the first chapter just cheapens the whole book, especially when it's supposed to be a major edition of a major work. We all know about LOTR. Do we really need the first chapter here? Rather tacky, to say the least.

Then there's the problem of Christopher Tolkien's forward. This is what I was most looking forward too, actually. Having read E. A. Solinas's review, I was under the impression this was a new forward prepared specifically by Christopher for the 70th anniversary of his father's work. Not the case. It's simply a reprint of the forward he wrote for the 50th anniversary of THE HOBBIT, twenty years previously.

As far as textual authenticity, I must be honest in the fact that I've only browsed it at a Borders bookstore, but I'd be very surprised if they did not use the text from The Annotated Hobbit, as it is the most definitive and accurate text yet established for the book. Still, I can't verify that that is the case.

Overall, this is a fair edition of THE HOBBIT. It could have been a lot more. What sets this apart from the other copies is this is how Tolkien truly envisioned how he wanted the book to appear, and for that fact alone, this is a valuable edition to the Tolkien collector. Unfortunately the poor production quality of the black and while illustrations, the rather tacky inclusion of LOTR's first chapter, and the disappointment of the publishers' just reprinting a twenty year old introduction to the 50th anniversary publication rather brings the whole affair down. I think I'll pass on this one.

For those looking for the best edition of Tolkien's book, buy THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT, first published in 1988 and republished in a new format in 2003. The second version of THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT is the definitive edition of this phenomenal work as far as I'm concerned.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely copy to entice the younguns, Nov. 19 2009
By 
Malkie Bear (Toronto, Ontario CANADA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hobbit Illustrated Edition (Hardcover)
A classic, plain and simple. The illustrations are whimsical, sophisticated, and there are plenty of them. A nice copy printed on quality paper, this edition will stand up to many, many readings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There And Back Again, A Hobbit's Holiday, July 22 2012
By 
Dave_42 "Dave_42" (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Hobbit (Mass Market Paperback)
"The Hobbit or There and Back Again" by J. R. R. Tolkien was published on September 21st of 1937. It is the success of this book that paved the way for "The Lord of the Rings". "The Hobbit" is definitely geared towards younger readers, and it received favorable reviews from papers in the U.K. and the U.S., and it was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, as well as the New York Herald Tribune Children's Spring Book Festival Award in 1938.

"The Hobbit" is often over-shadowed by "The Lord of the Rings", and this is especially true when one treats "The Hobbit" as the prequel to "The Lord of the Rings". To consider it as such is both fair and unfair. It is fair, because clearly the events in "The Hobbit" took place prior to, and are key to the "The Lord of the Rings", and of course there are common characters in both stories. However, it is also not fair in that "The Hobbit" clearly was written for a younger audience, and even when reading one of the revised editions, where some passages were altered to better fit with "The Lord of the Rings", the overall tone of the work is much lighter. There was a brief attempt by Tolkien to rewrite "The Hobbit" in the same style, but he soon gave it up because it destroyed what was so good about the original. As a result, it would be better to consider "The Hobbit" as the children's telling of the events which took place prior to "The Lord of the Rings" and not attempt to hold it to the same standard.

Another thing that people have noted about the two stories is that at a high-level outline the two stories are very similar. The adventures both start in the Shire and are initiated by Gandolf, they travel to Rivendell, they go through caves and have to deal with the goblins/orcs therein, they meet elves on the other side, there is a huge war between numerous armies, and of course they return to the Shire to find things changed that they have to put right. Of course, that is an overly simple way to look at either of the two novels, especially "The Lord of the Rings", even though it is true on the surface, but it is an interesting observation.

As beings that are roughly half the height of a man, Hobbits make an ideal hero for a children's story, as it gives them a hero with whom they can identify. The story has a fair amount of humor in it, and a light-hearted feel through most of it, though certainly as an adventure there is a fair amount of peril, whether from the trolls, worgs (wolves), goblins, spiders, and even the wood elves, not to mention the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent. Despite being accessible to younger readers, older readers can still enjoy "The Hobbit" as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic!, Jan. 1 2012
I remember reading this when I was 10, and I just read it again about a decade later for a class in University. I still loved it. I don't think it matters what age you are, this book is great. If you're a fantasy-lover, this is definitely something you have to read! This version is really cute, too, I loved the little pictures at the start of each chapter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review, April 16 2004
By 
Scott Koors (Indianapolis, IN USA) - See all my reviews
Book Review of
The Hobbit written by J. R. R. Tolkien
By Scott Koors
The Hobbit is a very interesting and exciting book. The main character, Bilbo, is a little dwarf person that doesn't wear any shoes that they call a hobbit. Bilbo and a great wizard, Gandalf, set out on a great adventure together. The two of them overcome some unbelievable hardships. They also make some new friends and at the same time some new enemies.
This book allows you to let your imagination run wild. I found that I was putting myself into the different character's shoes during the story. I just imagined how scary, but at the same time, how exciting it must have been for them. Even though there is a lot of science-fiction things in the book, I could still picture all of the scenes and settings. The book wasn't too abstract. I also felt that the book was very detailed. I could almost paint a picture of what was happening in the book in my head.
I have always enjoyed reading adventurous books and this one was no different. The book kept me entertained the whole time. I found it hard to put it down, I just couldn't stop reading it. I had to keep reading just to find out what happened next. This was pretty unusual for me, since I don't really enjoy reading that much. The Hobbit was just an all around good book that keeps your attention, while at the same time allows your imagination to run wild. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good adventurous book, that is written very well by J. R. R. Tolkien.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly executed., Jan. 29 2012
This review is from: The Hobbit (Mass Market Paperback)
This is an amazing story, with such descriptive, rich langue, wonderfully developed characters and a simple, yet wonderfully executed plot, this is a book to be read, and then re-read, then read again. It draws you in and makes you feel as if you were really there with Bilbo, and Gandalf. As if you really feel the dragon's fiery breath on your cheeks as you soundlessly tiptoe down the massive corridors leading to it's horde. Truly, this is a fantastic book. Tolkien is a true genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Edition!, Sept. 26 2011
By 
T. A. Carver "Tete" (Halifax, Nova Scotia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Hobbit Illustrated Edition (Hardcover)
This is a lovely, beautifully illustrated edition. I bought it for myself, but I am planning on purchasing a couple to give as Christmas gifts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless, Aug. 26 2010
This review is from: Hobbit Illustrated Edition (Hardcover)
The binding is sturdy, the illustrations beautiful, and the print clear and well spaced. A perfect copy in my opinion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bedtime Reading Ritual, April 12 2010
By 
Robert Garvey "Triptych" (Winnipeg, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a beautiful book which actually comes in a 'bound' box constructed of the same material as the hardcover binding. It even includes a few colour illustrations by Tolkien himself.

I won't bother discussing the story itself as by now, we are all familiar with the story as well as the author and the major sequel story that was eventually made into a highly recognized series of movies.

I'm currently reading a little bit every night to my nine-year old and we're both thoroughly enjoying it. A big (and welcome) change from all of the 'Toy Franchise' marketing material out there.

The book itself is so well made and the story so timeless (and perpetually allegorical to contemporary events) that I can even see passing this on to him when he has kids of his own!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There and back again, June 6 2009
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: The Hobbit (Mass Market Paperback)
"In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit." J.R.R. Tolkien first scribbed down the opening line of this book on an extra sheet of paper.

And years before "Lord of the Rings" was seen by anyone outside Tolkien's circle, Middle Earth was first introduced to readers. "The Hobbit" is simpler and less epic than the trilogy that followed it, but Tolkien's brilliant writing, magical world and pleasantly stodgy hero bring a special life to this early fantasy classic.

Bilbo Baggins lives a pleasantly stodgy and dull life, in a luxurious hobbit hole under a hill ("it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort"). He's the picture of dull respectability.

But his life is turned upside-down by the arrival of the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves, led by the exiled king-in-waiting Thorin Oakenshield. They want to reclaim the Lonely Mountain (and a lot of treasure) from the dragon Smaug. Why do they want Bilbo? Because Gandalf has told them that he'd make a good burglar, even though Bilbo has never burgled in his life.

So before Bilbo is entirely sure what is going on, he is being swept off on a very unrespectable -- and dangerous -- adventure. The quirky little band ends up battling goblins and spiders, nearly getting eaten, and imprisoned by Elves, while Bilbo finds himself in possession of a magic Ring from the treacherous Gollum. But even with a magic Ring, can he defeat a monstrous dragon and win a war against multiple enemies?

Tolkien had been crafting his mythos of Elves, Dwarves, Wizards and ancient Men for years before he ever came up with Bilbo's quest. But it's fortunately that he did, because while "The Hobbit" is overshadowed by the epic sweep of "Lord of the Rings" and the "Silmarillion," it's still an entertaining story that lays the groundwork for his more famous works -- especially the magical Ring that Bilbo finds in Gollum's cavern.

Tolkien's writing is swift, light and full of songs and poetry-laden descriptions, such as interludes in the shimmering, ethereal Rivendell and the cold, terrible Lonely Mountain. The pace in this is much faster than in most of his other works -- not surprising, when you consider it was originally a bedtime story for his children.

Most of the book's action is about Bilbo trying to keep himself and the dwarves from getting eaten, torn apart, or rotting in elf dungeons, but with some quiet interludes like a night at Beorn's mountain home. And the last chapters hint at the epic majesty that Tolkien was capable of, as well as the idea that even little people -- like a mild-mannered hobbit or a bird -- can change the world.

This book also first came up with hobbits -- the peaceful fuzzy-footed countryfolk -- in the form of Bilbo Baggins. He's a likable little guy, if the last person you'd ever expect to be a hero -- initially he seems weak and kind of boring, but his hidden strengths and wits come up to the surface when he needs to. By the end, he's almost a different person.

The dwarves are more comical, and the elves more whimsical in this book, but the supporting characters are still impressive -- the crotchety, mysterious wizard Gandalf, the dignified, flawed Dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield, and a Guardsman who becomes a king. Even minor characters like Beorn, Elrond and the menacing Smaug are given plenty of dimension.

"The Hobbit" started as a fluke, grew into a bedtime story, and became one of the best fantasy stories in literary history -- a charming adventure in the time that never was. Brilliant.
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Hobbit Illustrated Edition
Hobbit Illustrated Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien (Hardcover - Oct. 23 1997)
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