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Bilbo’s Last Song by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Find yourself blocking your child at the top of a perilous flight of stairs and bellowing, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Well, here’s the perfect book to either begin or continue your youngster’s adventure into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien: Bilbo’s Last Song.

This poem is widely considered to be the epilogue for The Lord of the Rings. Originally written as a present for Tolkien’s secretary, the song was first published in book form in 1990; Random House has reissued a beautiful hardcover edition with art by Pauline Baynes. Fans may recall that Baynes illustrated several Tolkien works, as well as the fantastic children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia. As a bonus, there’s a slew of footnotes to explain these illustrations and where they come from and took place in Middle Earth. As he travels to his final destination, the accompanying images by Baynes recall scenes from The Hobbit, The Return of the King, and The Fellowship of the Ring. Bilbo’s Last Song can be a gateway book for readers that are not yet ready for reading the series; it gives a parent the opportunity to explain the accompanying images of Bilbo’s past and the characters he met along the way.

So, tuck your nerdling into bed as Bilbo Baggins sings the tale of his final journey to the Undying Lands, leaving Middle Earth forever; or give it to the babysitter to read to your child when you go out to see the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Speaking of last songs, check out Leonard Nimoy’s video of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”.

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