September 05, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon
I must confess I’ve never read any of Tolkien’s books. But after reading the children’s book John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien written by Caroline McAlister and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, I’m now convinced to do so.
The book is a beautiful account of Tolkien’s childhood when he was mesmerized with dragons and stories. It includes glimpses of joy and tragedy and adventure and sadness. The narrative follows Tolkien into adulthood when he married his wife, fought in World War I, and taught at the University of Oxford where he began writing The Hobbit.
McAlister and Wheeler do an excellent job of finding and telling the story beneath the story of The Hobbit. They bring Tolkien to life in a manner suitable for children (and adults) and give enough details to encourage further curiosity and interest. Through lively prose and gorgeous illustrations, they introduce Tolkien and his world to readers who walk away from their work wanting more.
Charlotte lives in Homewood with her husband and their two children. She’s earning an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University, and she does freelance writing and copywriting. You can find her online at www.charlottedonlon.com and on Twitter at @charlottedonlon. You can sign up for her newsletter about books and writing here.