Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Classic of the Week: Roverandom

Since I’ve been reading a lot of classic books/poems/short stories/plays for literature classes, I decided I’d like to share some of them with you. I’ve also decided to try and read a lot of older stories over the summer, rather than just reading YA. I’m not sure exactly what my definition of ‘Classic’ will be, but it will range from Homer up to Tolkien and other 20th century writers.

Speaking of Tolkien… I’ve decided that my first post is going to be on one of Tolkien’s little known works:


This is a delightful little story, short enough to be read in an hour or two (my version was only 92 pages). Tolkein wrote it after his son lost a little toy dog at the beach during a family vacation. According to Tolkien, the toy dog was actually a real dog that was enchanted by a wizard and became a toy. He then came to Tolkien’s son, was lost, got turned back into a real dog and had all sorts of adventures before he came back home.

Since this was composed and then written down for children its idea is fairly simple and reminiscent of a fairy tale. Roverandom is simply trying to return home rather than saving the universe or anything like that. It’s also not terribly fast paced; despite it’s shortness I read it over about a week. It’s certainly not like anything you’d find in the YA section of a bookstore.

And that’s okay. I absolutely loved Tolkien’s whimsical style, so different then commercial fiction. It was so relaxing to read about Roverandom’s strange adventures, fighting spiders on the moon or swimming at the bottom of the sea. Maybe it’s a kid’s book, but I certainly enjoyed it.

One thing I did love was that Tolkien puts in references to many other works. There were many allusions to Norse Mythology (I didn’t really catch those… I need to take a mythology course) and at one point Roverandom sees the shores of Faery land, also known as Valinor, the land of the Elves mentioned in The Silmarilion. As a die-hard Tolkien fan, I loved these references.

In short, Roverandom is a classic that is a really quick, fun read. It’s the perfect thing to read to little siblings or kids you’re babysitting, but also to enjoy yourself. I’d recommend it to anyone seeking an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. 

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