I hope you’re enjoying my reviews on dog books.
I’ll post more middle grade books about canine animals in the future. For now, I’ll have one more review after this week. Here’s the book for today.
Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien
Roverandom is a dog who rips a wizard’s trousers, and that wizard turns him into a toy. Only at night can he move freely, Toy Story-style; children certainly would love to read about that.
A mother brings the toy dog home from the store, and a little boy has him. Later, he falls out of the boy’s pocket and lands on the beach. Another wizard changes him into a real dog, only fairy-sized (A fairy-sized dog would be fun to see in real life.). A seagull takes him to the moon, where lives the Man-in-the-Moon with his dog. Roverandom has adventures there, including a run from a dragon and a reunion in “dreamland” with the boy who lost him. The boy plays with Roverandom, and I love how the dog stands on his head and makes the boy laugh. Since the child lost his beloved toy, this adds sweetness and merriment to the tale.
Roverandom goes to another location, the watery world of mer-folk. Tolkien shows that he could have a zany imagination as the little animal obtains webbed paws, a fishy tail, and a mackintosh-like coat. The dog faces the wizard who had changed him into a toy, and the wizard refuses to change him back to his true form. But after a disaster happens (involving a chaotic sea monster), he transforms the dog back to what he was. Roverandom has another happy reunion, which I won’t spoil here, but this reunion would satisfy any avid reader of children’s fiction.
Teens would like this, as well as older middle grade readers who don’t mind extensive scenery descriptions. The story has advanced vocabulary, but it’s laced with humor and whimsy that delights eight to twelve-year-olds.
Notes for discernment: None that stands out, except a wizard curses the poor main character at the beginning of the story.
If you want to have illustrations of the tale, try Tales from the Perilous Realm, a volume of Tolkien’s stories that includes Roverandom. The black-and-white pictures are pencil-drawn by Alan Lee.
2 thoughts on “Middle Grade Books on Dogs: Review Three”
I don’t think I’ve ever read this one of Tolkien’s works. I liked Farmer Giles of Ham, though–and his dog is hilarious!
Ooo, I haven’t read that one. I guess I should!