cover image Bilbo's Last Song: At the Grey Havens

Bilbo's Last Song: At the Grey Havens

J. R. R. Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-53810-4

The text for this lush picture book is a poem purportedly written by Bilbo Baggins (hero of the The Hobbit and an important figure in The Lord of the Rings ) just before he takes ship from Middle-earth to the Undying Lands at the end of The Lord of the Rings. Baynes, illustrator of many of Tolkien's tales, has filled this book's colorful, medieval-flavored paintings with her deep love and understanding of Tolkien's masterpieces. Framed by gracefully gnarled trees, circular paintings on each recto page faithfully illustrate the events described in the final pages of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings while insets tell the story of The Hobbit ; endnotes identify the specific passages that serve as sources for these pictures. The effect is stirring, the mood elegiac and the imagery riveting, making this a must for all fans of Tolkien's vast, epic fantasy. All ages. (Nov.)