Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Hobbit Devotional: Bilbo Baggins and the Bible

Bless us and splash us, my precioussssss! For those of us who love J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale The Hobbit, there’s something new on the market: Author Ed Strauss’ almost irresistible book, A Hobbit Devotional.

From the eye-catching cover image of Bilbo traveling through Mirkwood to the smoldering back cover snapshot of the dragon Smaug, Hobbit lovers will be delighted. After a brief introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, Strauss examines a number of lessons-to-be-learned from the tale. Each 4-5 page chapter starts with a quote from the book, gives a brief summary of Bilbo’s adventure at that particular point, makes a connection to a story or concept from the Bible, and then provides practical modern-day insights. Each chapter is well written, with tight wording and clear Scripture references. Best of all, Strauss leads the reader from one “precioussssss” morsel to another through the entire story of The Hobbit.

In addition to sixty devotions, the book contains a glossary of terms, a timeline of The Hobbit, and notes.

What I Like: I have been a Hobbit fan since I was in fifth grade, so I was thrilled to pick up this book. Strauss fully embraces the Hobbit lore, providing wonderful descriptions of Bilbo’s plight in each chapter. His Biblical connections are well chosen, and spiritual connections will likely cause readers to think. Plus the topic is classic and timely; classic because it will appeal to a wide age range of Hobbit lovers like me, and timely because of the new release of The Hobbit movie.

Because of the nature of this devotional, I think it would be a PERFECT companion book for someone reading through The Hobbit. Since Strauss follows Bilbo’s travels in chronological order, one could easily jump back and forth between the two books. Perhaps this would deepen a reader’s appreciation for the story. If I were a parent, I would encourage my child to have both books on hand and to read them in tandem.

If your child (or YOU for that matter!) simply can't get enough of Bilbo, Gandalf, Gollum, elves, and dwarves, you'll want to check out this book.

What I Dislike: This is not a dislike, but something to be aware of. Some of the spiritual connections Strauss made were a little mature for a younger audience. In fact, I suspect that the book itself might appeal even stronger to an adult audience—especially those like me who grew up with The Hobbit—or perhaps an older teen audience. If your child is a big enough fan, it won’t matter. But if s/he has only a passing interest in Hobbits, s/he may not enjoy this devotional book as much.

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: None is given, but I think it best suited for the teen to adult age range.

Publisher Info: Barbour, 2012; ISBN: 978-1616267438; Paperback, 320 pgs., $9.99

Buy it Now at for $8.19

OR Buy it at for $.8.82
Or Buy the Kindle version for $2.99.
Buy The Hobbit for $8.74 or the kindle version of The Hobbit for $7.29.

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