I have a miniature dachshund named Winston. He HATES fireworks. In the last few years, I have learned some tricks to help him deal with the holiday. One of my favorite traditions now is a movie marathon with lots of action to drown out the booms. This year we watched The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogies. Watching these movies took me back to childhood.
One of my earliest memories is being read to every night by my dad. One of the books that stands out the most is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I remember him checking out an illustrated copy from our local library. It felt so special having him read when we knew he was tired. He worked in Wichita and had an hour commute every day to and from work with a 4 a.m. alarm. I loved the story of Bilbo Baggins and the company of Thorin Oakenshield. My favorite scene is and always will be the chapter, Riddles in the Dark, where Bilbo meets and outwits Gollum. I was always a little worried for Bilbo. Answer the riddle or be eaten?! How scary. Followed by giant spiders in the forest of Mirkwood. (Why is there always giant spiders?) Then when they reach the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo has to face the dragon, Smaug. This book gets better and better. But I still remember being saddened at the end with the death of Thorin. I still am sad about it actually.
When I was in high school, my dad and I went to see the first of the Lord of the Rings movies. I was blown away by the sheer magnitude of this movie. It was visually stunning with an amazing cast and a great story. I had never read the LOTR books but I did remember the story, The Hobbit. I immediately had to buy the trilogy and start reading. I LOVED them. The detail that Tolkien puts in his books is beautiful and complex. The following years, I went to see The Two Towers and The Return of the King and was so happy to see that Peter Jackson followed the source material so well.
Then several years later Jackson announced they were adapting The Hobbit! I was stoked. They were bringing back some of the original cast and adding new talent. Going to the theater to see the first movie was like being a kid again. Once again, the casting was amazing. Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Richard Armitage as Thorin were both exactly what I wanted. Even though the movies veered off the story line, I felt that Jackson still gave us the feel of Tolkien.
When I happened upon an exact copy of The Hobbit that my dad read to us in a used bookstore I snatched it up immediately. I placed it in a spot of honor next to my illustrated copies of Harry Potter! There is nothing like a special book that makes us feel young again. What is your favorite book from childhood? We’d love to hear your comments!