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Children's LiteraturePart of "The Importance of" biography series, Stuart P. Levine has done a commendable job of addressing the life and work of Tolkien, whose Lord of the Rings trilogy changed the standards of all subsequent fantasy writing. It was not an easy job, since Tolkien was a man whose fantasy life was apparently much richer than his daily one. What is there to say about a child prodigy in linguistic anthropology who never outgrew his schoolboy love of private literary clubs, who as an adult effectively abandoned his wife and children for the comfort of the pub, ale, pipe, and C.S. Lewis? Levine finds lots—cleverly filling the pages with antecedents and inspirations for his Shire characters, as well as with much detail on the Oxford don's compulsion to create fictional languages (his Elvish was based on Finnish.) This study is probably a must library purchase for middle and upper school Tolkien lovers who need cribbing background for those book reports. 2004, Lucent/Thomson/Gale, Ages 12 up.