Top critical review
A nice little children's story -- but Tolkien's done better!
on February 7, 2001
Granted, this is a book written for Tolkien's children, and it does contain some nice little word-play elements -- but lets face it: This is not a literary masterpiece -- but niether is it trash either. With Tolkien's children's fiction, with the exception of THE HOBBIT, its not so much the quality of it but the fact that it exists. These activities culiminated in the composistion of THE HOBBIT. When Allen & Unwin accepted it for publication and it became a runaway hit, they wanted more about 'hobbits'. This book, MR. BLISS, THE LOST ROAD, and THE SILMARILLION (OF BEREN & LUTHIEN, the poetic form, was submitted with perhaps FARMER GILES as well)found its way to the publishing house in 1937. But Sir Stanely Unwin wanted not these but a hobbit sequel, of which we all know what happened with that.
This being said, ROVERANDOM shows Tolkien delighting in the position of a story teller for his children. The love and warmth shows clearly in these pages, and while its not the best thing ever written, it does have its charms. Largely, however, this work is for Tolkien completists, and by and large will not win over any fans. But if you looking for a book to read to your younger children and you want it to be Tolkien, this is a good choice. But if they're a little older, give 'em the real meat and introduce them to that lovable Bilbo Baggins. Its worth a look, but not necessarily a second or third.