Farmer Giles of Ham : The Rise and Wonderful Adventures of Farmer Giles, Lord of Tame, Count of Worminghall, and King of the Little Kingdom
by J. R. R. Tolkien, published 1949
“The next day the dragon moved to the neighboring village of Quercetum… He ate not only sheep and cows and one or two persons of tender age, but he ate the parson too. Rather rashly the parson had sought to dissuade him from his evil ways.”
Did you know that there is a children’s book by Tolkien besides Lord of the Rings? I certainly didn’t, and was delighted to come across a 50th anniversary edition of this short and funny children’s book by Tolkien. It’s a terrific dragon tale, and certainly couldn’t be sillier. The hero is only accidentally the hero, and the dragon become very tame and civilized along the way. However, lots of fun is poked here and there about the customs of England at the time.
The writing is expert, because Tolkien had plenty of time to refine this children’s book. It started out as a tale he told to his own children, and then he began to set it down on paper, revising it several times along the way. The anniversary edition includes an earlier version as well as information about the oral version.
For children who are good readers, this children’s book by Tolkien, the penultimate story teller, provides a suberb way to pass the time, laugh a little, and maybe even learn some Latin along the way. While it may go over the heads of some American children, I imagine they can enjoy it almost as much as UK children. Adults are definitely invited to read this one!