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One of the oldest books on the Top 100 Chapter Books list is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit from 1938. In fact, there are only a baker’s dozen that are older. And at #14, the only book that is older above it on the list is Anne of Green Gables. So what this means to me is that readers from generation after generation have enjoyed this story, passed it on to their children and students, and kept fond memories of it … either that or there were certain movies that were coming out right around the time that readers were nominating books to this list in 2012.
What it’s about: Just in case anyone has had their head in a non-Hobbit hole for the past decade …
Bilbo Baggins (the titular hobbit) is minding his own business at home in Hobbiton when Gandalf the wizard and a troupe of dwarves show up, expecting him to join them on a quest to regain their home and treasure from the invading dragon Smaug.
Age level: Grade 5+
Best part: Bilbo’s discovery that he is isn’t necessarily the homebody that he was sure he was.
Worst part: The plot moved a bit slow at times for some modern-day kid readers.
If recent cinemagoer dollars had anything to say about the quality of literature, then we could safely say that The Hobbit was one of the finest books ever written. However, while reading it with Z, I found that it had its ups and downs. His attention waxed and waned. I still loved every minute of it (again) but I think that he is somewhat spoiled by books that have more outrageous adventures and wackier characters. This book has deeper characters and a plodding pace. Z loved the riddles that Gollum and Bilbo shared and he was amused by the dwarves but our reading stalled when the party reached Beorn’s house. Apparently a man who could transform into a bear was a bit hard for him to wrap his head around. But I think that we had enough fun with the book that Z will look back on it fondly and will be interested in reading it again later in life.
So, I started this project two years ago and the time has absolutely flown. I know some of you are new to the project so I’m going to have a summary next time of the 44 books I’ve read so far. I’ll try one more time to convince you to pick up some of the gems for a kid (or you) to read!