|My favorite HOBBIT cover|
It's not that Ada, or any book-loving kid of her age, couldn't read this book for herself. But reading it aloud was a total pleasure for both of us, for the simple, crucial reason that Tolkien was a master of language and pacing and suspense—you feel the full force of these gifts when you utter his words out loud (or hear them read to you). There are few writers to match him in this regard, no matter what detractors like Phillip Pullman eventually made of his "simplistic" moralism (which, in fairness, I believe applies more to the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy).
|The cover of THE HOBBIT I read as a kid|
Once I got started reading, I almost never wanted to stop, even when I began to go hoarse. So it was that I managed to read the entire book to Ada in about four days. I sped through the thing, then was sorry I hadn't made it last forever. And once the book was finished, I couldn't think of another book I wanted to read out loud half so much. In fact, I'm still trying to come up with reasonable read-aloud sequel. I've hit on something pretty close, though—more about that next week.