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Children's LiteratureThe success of the motion picture mega hit Lord of the Rings has sparked an interest in all things Tolkien. Teens familiar only with the movie or who have read the Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit are offered a fascinating glimpse into the life of the man behind these masterpieces. Willett's chronology of Tolkien's' life looks deeply into the events of his life and the influence they had on his writing. After leaving Africa, his birthplace, Ronald (as he was called) and his brother and mother settled in a small pastoral village that shaped his image of the shire. It was his fascination with language, particularly Finnish and Germanic dialects, that prompted him to invent his own languages and this in turn prompted the wring of the fantastic legends. Willett describes a life far from dull as he relates Tolkien's orphaned childhood, WWI battlefield service, a courtship forbidden my his guardian (it resulted in a 55-year marriage), his work on the Oxford English Dictionary, and his teaching at Oxford. Readers may be surprised to learn that Tolkien was a great procrastinator and his seventeen-year odyssey writing Lord of the Rings can be attributed to his lax nature more than anything else. This book examines the body of Tolkien's work and should provoke those familiar only with the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings to sample some of his other writing. This is not the definitive biography, but certainly a solid introduction for his teen devotees. Photos are for the most part stills from the motion picture with a few late-in-life pictures of the man himself. The book included well-documented source notes, a timeline, and a complete list of his major works. Ofparticular interest may be the appended "In His Own Words" with Tolkien's thoughts on his writings and their impact on a reader. This book is a volume in the series "Authors Teens Love." 2004, Enslow, Ages 14 to 18.