The unexpected wonder of reading the greatest bedtime book ever told to the kids


Each time I finished The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as child and young adult, people would question me why I kept reading the books again and again. One of the things I said to them was the wonder I gained from discovering new ways of thinking of the characters, the prose and the story. And, despite the 10 or 20 times I previously read The Hobbit, as I read 2-3 pages most nights to the girls at the moment, my memory is again delighting in finding new things and recalling parts of the story I had forgotten.

I’ve always believed it’s best to have read any book before you see a big screen treatment, so once I saw the teaser trailer for Peter Jackson’s upcoming movie, I was inspired to read it to them as a bedtime story, before they had their ideas about the characters and the story corrupted by the movie. It had been initially told as a bedtime story by Professor Tolkien to his children, and as a huge fan, I like to think it has always been an ambition of mine to introduce mine to it the same way.

They are moving away from having young childrens books read to them so being introduced to new, interesting and imaginative ideas like those in The Hobbit have to be a good thing. They are also discovering concepts of how fear can be balanced with longing and light with darkness. So much so that my initial fears they would have nightmares after the run-ins with the Trolls in the wood and the Great Goblin in the Misty Mountains have, to date, completely unfounded.

gollum.jpg

And so tonight they met Gollum, who despite Dad’s best efforts to sound cringeworthy and horrible, drew the loudest and longest giggles to date. No pre-conceived notions, no biases to be confirmed, just Mr. Tolkien’s prose brought to life by me.

Praps Andy Serkis and Peter Jackson have more insight than some give them credit for. Praps It likes riddles, praps it does, does it?

I’m keeping the progress of my reading, almost daily, over at my Goodreads profile – a great resource for reminding yourself of the books you have read and would love to read as well as discovering new works and authors. Come and join me, and share your own story about this wonderful piece of fiction.

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