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Bilbo's Last Song


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About the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien was the beloved author of The Hobbit and the masterpiece trilogy The Lord of the Rings. He died in 1973 at the age of 81.


Gr 5 Up-- An illustrated version of a small poem from the ``Lord of the Rings'' trilogy. The poem, in which Bilbo talks about leaving Middle Earth and bidding farewell to his life and friends there, is a vehicle for Baynes to immerse herself in the characters and events in this trilogy. The pages are filled with watercolor drawings skillfully depicting detailed scenes of great adventure--magical beings with glistening capes, sparkling rings, and other mystical objects that convey all the wonder and charm of Tolkien. Unfortunately, none of these wonderfully detailed drawings illustrate the words in this book. In fact, they were not intended to do so. Instead, they depict scenes from The Hobbit, The Return of the King, or The Fellowship of the Ring , necessitating complex explanatory notes for all of the illustrations, even the endpapers. The result is not a blending of pictures and words or even a picture book version of a children's poem, but a study of Tolkien--overwhelming for any reader unfamiliar with his work. Although this book pays tribute to him, it suffers from an excess of praise and loses its audience as a result. Most children would only be confused by it. --Jane Marino, White Plains Public Library, NY

The text for this lush picture book is a poem purportedly written by Bilbo Baggins (hero of the The Hobbit and an important figure in The Lord of the Rings ) just before he takes ship from Middle-earth to the Undying Lands at the end of The Lord of the Rings. Baynes, illustrator of many of Tolkien's tales, has filled this book's colorful, medieval-flavored paintings with her deep love and understanding of Tolkien's masterpieces. Framed by gracefully gnarled trees, circular paintings on each recto page faithfully illustrate the events described in the final pages of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings while insets tell the story of The Hobbit ; endnotes identify the specific passages that serve as sources for these pictures. The effect is stirring, the mood elegiac and the imagery riveting, making this a must for all fans of Tolkien's vast, epic fantasy. All ages. (Nov.)

"A must for all fans of Tolkien's vast, epic fantasy"-Publishers Weekly

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