Title: J.R.R. Tolkien
(Little People, Big Dreams #81)
Author: Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Illustrator: Aaron Cushley
Genre: Non Fiction, Children
First published: April 26th 2022
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Finished reading: April 30th 2022
“Because he knew that it doesn’t matter where we go, what matters is that we enjoy the journey.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Frances Lincoln Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
I’ve been curious about the Little People, Big Dreams collection for a while now. I kept seeing raving reviews of multiple books belonging to this proliferative series, and I couldn’t resist adding Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara‘s newest installment featuring J.R.R. Tolkien to my shelves. What better way to get an introduction to this series than with a bookish person? And I can definitely understand the love for this collection now.
The Little People, Big Dreams books are picture books designed for the younger readers (4-7 years) and they form the perfect short and easy to understand introduction to the lives of important people. They are biographies that are designed for small children to get a basic idea of what the life of the person in question was like and what they did that made them stand out. It’s a great way to spark interest and make them want to discover more about the person in the spotlight… In this case, the life of John Ronald Reuel; better know under his pen name J.R.R. Tolkien. While it’s true that most children won’t have heard of him nor his books before, they might remember him when they grow a little older and want to start reading fantasy. The Hobbit is also a great book to read together with (slightly older) children for an introduction to his work of course.
The illustrations themselves are wonderful and really complement the story. I really liked the use of color and I’m sure they will be very appealing to the target group. I did feel the beginning of the story was a bit dark for such a young reader? There was nothing too explicit and J.R.R. Tolkien had a very sad beginning of his life of course, but still. As a philologist, I could really appreciate the mention of his love for languages and philology: I would have loved to hear even more about the language creation and its importance in the worldbuilding, but it was a bonus to have it mentioned at all. The incorporation of why he created his fantasy world in the first place was also a great touch.
Between the charming illustrations and short and easy to understand text, younger readers will be delighted to read this biography and learn the basics about J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s a great introduction to the author’s life, and I can’t wait to discover more of this Little People, Big Dreams collection!