This is our dog, Henry. He is of who-knows-what descent, but we think it’s part Shepherd and part Husky. On account of one blue eye and one brown eye. And the high pitched whine he makes when he walks around the house with one of my son’s socks in his mouth trying to get us to take it away from him.

It was a good day when we rescued him from the animal shelter.

We love him very much.

Apparently, J.R.R. Tolkien’s son, Michael, also had a little black and white dog which he loved very much. Only his dog was a toy, and when Michael (age 4) left him on the beach during a family holiday in 1925, he was lost forever.

So, Tolkein wrote this story to comfort his son:

I would not have discovered this book had I not been looking for works by Tolkien for my son’s Christmas present years ago. It was published for the first time about seventy years after it was first written, and I’m so happy that I happened upon it.

It tells the tale of a little dog, named Rover, who has the great impertinence to take a bite out of a wizard’s trousers. The wizard became very angry, and shouted, “Idiot! Go and be a toy!” And so Rover is turned into a toy dog, who then goes on to have many adventures with other dogs all named Rover. (To differentiate between them, our dog is called Roverandom.)

This is one of the lovely colored illustrations found in the middle of the book in which Roverandom is enjoying his adventure under The Deep Blue Sea with the mer-king and mer-children, the sharks and a great Sea Serpent.

I can’t tell you what a marvelous find this book was; it’s only 89 pages, but it is a delightful fantasy full of the wizards and situations which only Tolkien can contrive so well.

24 thoughts on “Roverandom

  1. Nymeth, you could read it in an hour. It just delighted me with its charming passages, and the tender look of a boy and his dog. It reminds me a teeny bit of The Velveteen Rabiit in that the animals talk, but it is pure Tolkien in style.Deslily, I was so surprised to find it myself! It was not expensive on in case you're unable to find it at the local library. I love Tolkien as well, and while this has wizards, it's not in the same vein as Hobbits, etc.


  2. I loved this book when I read it a few years ago. I need to dig it out and re-read it! I thought of it recently when I was reading Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.


  3. Robin, that is a great comparison. I was thinking of that book, as well as the Velveteen Rabbit, when I read it. Although somehow, some talking animal books such as Edward, and Black Beauty, are so sad. This isn't sad at all which was a huge relief.


  4. I have the vaguest memory of reading that one and yes I believe so, because I mean it was a weird tale abouta toy dog under the water. It's pretty good actually. I think I read it in german or something.


  5. Andi, thank you. He is very cute in a strange way; his nose is crooked, and we suspect that he was hit by a car when he was let out on a highway as a puppy. But, he's very smart and very sweet. I think he knows how safe he is now.Daydream, isn't it the weirdest thing how the toy dog swims underwater, and do you remember him with wings when he visits the Man in the Moon? Tolkien created such charming images, which not only appeal to children but the child in all of us.


  6. I read this a month or two ago and loved it. I just read Tales from the Perilous Realm as well which is more of Tolkien's children stories and poems and is definitely worth a look if you enjoyed this. I think though of the two Roverandom was my favourite. I loved it when he went to the moon and grew wings 🙂


  7. I will have to get this for my Still Waters. She is a Tolkein aficionado. You always share the most wonderful books. The library at our Castello has grown by leaps and bounds because of you.


  8. I've been dying to read this one…it's such a charming looking little book. I'm going to get it next time I'm at the bookstore! They always have a copy just waiting for me 🙂


  9. Thanks, Trish. :)Rhinoa, I didn't know of the book you mention (Tales From The Perilous Realm). I'll need to look into that because I'm crazy about Tolkien. Wasn't it magical when Roverandom went to the moon and grew wings? I could just see him and the moon-pup chasing each other in the air!Beverly, some day you might choose to read this to your beautiful granddaughter. EHT, let me know if you buy it and read it. I'd love to hear your thoughts! There's not much in the way of history here, but it sure is fun.Lady G~, it makes me so happy that your library has grown in part due to me. Which books have been your favorite? Your daughter will surely enjoy this one if you give it to her.Chris, I've never seen it at Borders/Barnes and Noble, but don't forget, you can order it online. I'd send you my copy, but it's actually my son's. I can just see you loving this as much as I do, especially since you're the fantasy fan extraordinaire.


  10. They actually have a copy at my Barnes and Noble believe it or not! I was so intrigued the first time I found it and don't know why I haven't bought it yet. I'll get it for sure now though 🙂


  11. Chris, did you also see Rhinoa's comment about Tolkien's Tales from The Perilous Realm? I need to find that one, too, but I usually have better luck at, or, than Barnes and Noble. At least in our town. Roverandom is perfect for any Tolkien lover, but it will also make a dog lover about just about anyone. Or, a wizard lover. 🙂 I'm glad you're going to purchase it.


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