A wonderful book every child should read. Happy birthday to “The Hobbit.”

Matthew Wright

I discovered the other day that it’s 81 years this month since The Hobbit was published. I’d missed the anniversary.

Check out the battering. Is my copy of ‘The Hobbit’ much-loved, or what?

The Hobbit is just about my favourite book of all time. The other, naturally, is its sequel. I first read it around 1973, inspired by the Pauline Baynes map of Middle Earth – a wondrous place, it seemed, which set my imagination roaming. The Hobbit didn’t disappoint. I still have the copy I was given that year by my aunt – the Allen & Unwin edition with Tolkien’s own sketch of the death of Smaug on the cover. It’s, shall we say, very well worn.

The book has never lost its charm; Tolkien wrote it as a story for his children, but it speaks to adults and children alike. Looking back on it now, I can see…

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