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Peanuts, The Simpsons, and the Narnia books have all had their turn, so why not the world of J.R.R. Tolkien? The trick with Tolkien, as Bell (Inside the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) rather dimly recognizes, is that Tolkien was not a great fan of allegory: discovering Christianity in The Hobbit prompts the vexed question of religion within Middle Earth—are they waiting for their own Christ? Or are they all virtuous pagans living long before Christ? Beyond this, this work is an effective if rather simplistic close reading for moral and ethical lessons. VERDICT Tolkien's most devoted fans are no strangers to finding meaning and personal values in The Hobbit, but this straightforward little volume may shed light for newcomers.