I typically skip over the songs when I read The Lord of the Rings. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that, but I do. I just don’t really care for them and they seldom move the plot along. And, while I think Tolkien was a master storyteller, I don’t think his poetry is all that good.
But when I saw this slim little volume on the shelf at Half Price Books today I couldn’t resist it. The scene where Bilbo (and Frodo and the others) leave the Grey Havens has always been an incredibly melancholy one for me, so the idea of a final piece from old Bilbo was irresistible.
The poetry isn’t any better than what you’ll find in The Hobbit. It isn’t as good as the dwarves “Smash the dishes, break the plates” or the goblins’ song after they capture the adventurers. But it’s short and sweet and the reader can feel Bilbo’s mixed emotions in it.
The real draw to the book are the illustrations. Not only are they excellent, but they show the major events from Bilbo’s first adventure plus the new one he is undertaking in a unique and fun format.