Friday, March 28, 2008


Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 178
Reason for Reading : Inklings Challenge, Once Upon a Time II Challenge plus I am a big fan of Tolkien and I wanted to read some more of his short tales

This is a collection of four of Tolkien's children's tales and poems found in the Red Book. They are mostly fairy tales with a fantasy theme. Farmer Giles of Ham is about a farmer who accidentally sees off a giant and is honoured by the villiagers of Ham and later the King who presents him with a sword. When dragon Chrysophylax attacks the land a few years later, Farmer Giles is sent to defeat him. The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is a collection of 16 short poems. A couple have Tom in them, others have princesses, hobbits and animals from Middle Earth supposedly written by Bilbo, Sam and Frodo. My favourites were the non-Tom ones "The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late", "oliphaunt" and "Cat".

Leaf by Niggle is a curious and strange tale about Niggle and his neighbour Parish. Niggle is a painter who wishes to paint the perfect tree that he can see in his head. He ends up going on a journey directed by mysterious voices into a land of his imagined paintings. Smith of Wootton Major sees young boy Smith unknowingly eating an enchanted cake. He swallows a fey star which he later puts on his forehead letting him travel into faery as an adult. There he meets the faery Queen and later the King before having to give up the star to the next young boy.

A set of lovely tales. My favourite was Smith of Wootton Major and my least favourite (if you could call it that!) was Farmer Giles of Ham. Smith was very original and engaging whereas Farmer Giles was similar to lots of other tales and also had elements of Roverandom to it.

7 comments:

Andi said...

I've never read any of Tolkien's stuff aside from the standard Hobbit and LOTR. Thanks for the review. I've had my eye on these for a while now.

Debi said...

Oh wow...I wonder how hard it would be to find a copy of this for my daughter. Thanks, Rhinoa...I'm off to start looking now!

Jeane said...

Oh; this is wonderful! I have a beaten-up ratty old paperback that includes Smith of Wooten Major and Farmer Giles of Ham; I've been forever looking for something sturdier to replace it with. I never thought to look for a volume that included the Bombadil poems, too. And the Niggle one is totally new to me. It would be lovely if Roverandom were part of the package as well.

Chris said...

I have this one sitting on my shelf and I'm very excited about it! Can't wait to read it...I almost added it to my OUaT list but it was already so long...

Nymeth said...

I've actually had a copy of this book for years but for some reason I never read it. Thanks for reminding me of it. It sounds lovely.

Kim L said...

Thanks for the great review! I LOVE lotr, but I have not read any of his other books, not even Silmarillion. This sounds like a good read.

Carl V. said...

I have several if not all of these in other collections and need to get around to reading them. Most of my Tolkien reading of late has been nonfiction about him and his creations, which have all been wonderful, and I have several more on my shelves to read.

Kim: The Silmarillion is Wonderful!!! If you like that kind of detailed background info, that is.