Thursday, January 31, 2008
Over the past few months I have grown increasingly interested in J.R.R. Tolkien. He is one of the greatest fantasy/epic writers of our time, but he wrote more than epics. I found out about this story a few months ago, and then bought it when I found a paperback at Barnes and Noble. (Incidentally, I bought this the same time I bought Here There Be Dragons.)
I only started it recently, but it has been a delightful and easy read.
Tolkien wrote this for his sons Michael and John (Christopher was still a baby) when Michael lost a toy dog on the beach. This is the story of that toy dog, and what really happened....(just kidding.)
When Rover, a very well kept black and white puppy offends the wizard Artaxerxes, the wizard says, "Idiot! Go and be a toy!" and Rover finds himself a lot smaller and very stiff. And then he finds himself in a box, where he can't move at all, and then he is taken out and put in the 'sixpence window' where he is bought as a toy for a little boy (little boy Two).
The adventures follow as Roverandom escapes Little Boy Two's house and meets another wizard named Psamathos Psamathides, whom is a sea wizard (or a beach wizard) that knows everything about the sea and a lot about other wizards' doings. He kindly sends Rover to the Man-on-the-Moon (a wizard of the moon) who lives on the moon with the moon-dog, also named Rover. Rover's name is changed to Roverandom, and then he and moon-dog have lots of adventures and the pastel landscape of the moon. They are chased by the white dragon, and become very good friends.
Roverandom also goes on to live in the sea for awhile after the Man-in-the-Moon sends him back, and tries in vain to get Artaxerxes to turn him back into a real dog. For awhile he is denied, and he has many adventures with the sea-dog (also named Rover; Rover himself has to go back to being called Roverandom) and then later Artaxerxes and his wife (whom is a mermaid) leave the ocean at the insistence of Mrs. Artaxerxes' family, and take Roverandom with them.
The landscapes and the adventures are charming and original. It's a good story for younger Tolkien fans, because the print is large and easy to read. It isn't a bit as complicated as The Lord of the Rings, or even The Hobbit. I recommend it for younger readers, because its a good book to introduce them to Tolkien. It is even linked to The Lord of the Rings and Middle-Earth in its own way...indeed I think that nearly all of Tolkien's works were connected somehow. This was a charming tale! Go on and read it.