How old to read the Hobbit?

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How old to read the Hobbit?

Postby Mingbearer » Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:37 am

I gave the Hobbit to my nephew recently (and whilst he seems perfectly able to read it - yes I have tested him on the first 50 pages, or so, he seems to have lost the ware with all to continue).

I gave it to him because he is approximately the age (8) that I was when I first read it. But is his lack of continued reading a sign of his age? Or more simply of modern society's kids' distraction away from reading?
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Postby Green Dragon » Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:47 am

The Hobbit is an excellent book no matter what age. Just because he's not into it right now does not mean that he will not love it later.
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Postby Mingbearer » Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:55 am

He got into it soon enough, but stopped because it wasn't a 'video game' (which is all he seems to like doing, despite being bright enough).
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Postby Green Dragon » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:06 am

Describe to him like it was a video game make it seem that Smaug is the bad guy. And that he must go on these adventures in order to save the whole world. And that when the adventure seems like it's over it really has just begun. Hopefully he will get into it then. P.s. If that does not work I do not know what will.
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Postby Edmund the Scholar » Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:40 am

How old is he? How long were you reading with him? I think kids today have a much shorter attention span than thirty years ago. My three year old loves when I read from the hobbit, but only if I do the funny voices and keep out readings to 5-10 minutes.
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Postby MithLuin » Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:34 am

The boy is 8. This '8)' is what happens when you type a ')' after an 8 ;).

I read The Hobbit aloud to my brother when he was 5. He fell asleep in parts, but overall enjoyed it very much. He had seen the animated movie, so I had to encourage him that we were going to get to Gollum (his favorite part), and then that there was a new part he didn't know about coming up (Beorn) and then a big exciting battle. Even so, he would run up to me after school saying "hobbit! hobbit! hobbit!", knowing that I would read to him on the way home. [He's 10 years younger than me, so I was 15 at the time.] He definitely liked it! He requested that I read LotR to him immediately after, but with that, he did fall asleep, and there was nothing I could do about that. So, I put the book on hold until he was 10, and he enjoyed it a lot more then!

It might just be age. My brother is not a particularly bright student, but he has an amazing ability with reading comprehension. He read The Silmarillion at the age of 10, and understood it well enough to discuss it with me afterwards ;). Now, if he could just translate that to good SAT scores....

Your nephew may not be ready for it. Not everyone likes to read, even if they are bright. I have one sister and one brother who love to read, and read for fun all the time. I have another sister who refuses to read novels (of any sort) and will only read non-fiction (mostly devotional works), and that in small doses. My remaining brother does not like to read much, but he likes Harry Potter and has read all of those books, as well as military history (usually autobiographical). To each his own, honestly.

If you are concerned about his playing video games rather than reading, find something that will interest him and get him to read that. If not The Hobbit, maybe the Redwall books or Harry Potter or Treasure Island. There's even nothing wrong with Hardy Boys. Once he reads a book and likes it, he'll be much more likely to seek out more books on his own! Be willing to discuss the books with him, and listen to what he has to say about them, but don't make an assignment out of it. Reading for pleasure should be just that - a pleasure.
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Postby Green Dragon » Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:07 am

Hmm... I also enjoy the Redwall series he may enjoy that.
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Postby MrsSmeagol » Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:44 pm

My 14 year old is autistic and has great difficulty reading, but one thing he has managed to read (with help) is the comic book version of 'The Hobbit':

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobbit-Graphic- ... 22&sr=1-34

You could try that!
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Postby Green Dragon » Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:15 am

I've read that myself it's quite well done.
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Postby N.E. Brigand » Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:03 am

This question has also been asked lately on the Mythopoeic Society list; among the responses is an answer by John Rateliff, author of The History of 'The Hobbit'.
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Postby rwhen » Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:51 pm

Or it could just be that he is not yet interested, but will become so later.

I started reading The Hobbit at a young age and could never get past "Spiders and Flies". I didn't complete the book until after around age 18, then I ate it up.

I don't know what was not attractive to me in the beginning, but just no interest.

This can't be blamed on the "times" we are in as the "times" I am speaking of were the sixties. It can happen anytime.
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Postby portia » Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:25 pm

Everyone is different. My son was not much of a reader until he was 8. But, since then, he has rarely been seen without a book, except while driving. Before he read on his own, he loved to be read to, including poetry and plays.

Maybe your nephew would like to be read to. He might get back to it, himself, after a while.

Read "The Hobbit" to a 3 year old??? HMMM. Maybe I will do that on tape for the grandson.
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Postby Crucifer » Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:44 am

I read it when I was 9, my little sister is reading it now, she's 10.

I still enjoy it now at 18. It's one of those books that can be appreciated on so many different levels.
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Postby ElvenArcher » Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:22 pm

I would not have been interested when I was 8 if I'd been reading it myself. It was read to me, and that made all the difference.
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Postby Mingbearer » Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:40 pm

Well, I appreciate all of your comments on the matter.

I occasionally tell him that it gets quite 'adventurous', but unfortunately it's not an X-box football game. :(

I will try reading it to him too - despite my hardly actor-like expression or speech.
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6 or 7

Postby zaedva » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:34 pm

My dad and I were at the public library together when he recommended The Hobbit to me. I was in 2nd grade and must have either 6 or 7 years old. I loved it and have read it many times since. In fact, I'm 30 now and am reading it again.

Any kid with aptitude for reading can handle the content. It really is a kids book.
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Postby JudyA » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:59 pm

My mum read The Hobbit - and all of LotR - to us one summer when I was eight. I then picked it up and read it for myself.

It may be that the book just doesn't work for your nephew. Or it may be that it doesn't work yet. My daughter has just turned nine and hasn't read it, although she has tackled most of the Narnia books after initially being a little wary of them.

If he's only into video games right now it might have to wait until later ;)
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Postby Iarwain Annatar » Thu Nov 29, 2007 2:17 pm

I think some people are just born with a passion and enthusiasm for reading, and others just develop it over time. And obviously others who find it rather boring :wink:
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Postby A_Simple_Poet » Mon Dec 03, 2007 9:59 am

I knocked it out in 4th Grade.

I finished LOTR by the end of 5th.

To quote Dickens, The Silmarillion, "a bit more mercurial ... appeared in its own time." :rofl:
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Postby Caladeth » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:02 pm

i read hobbit and LOTR when i was 13. partly because i didn't know we even had the hobbit till i looked around my mom's old books. i asked her and she gave it o me cause she never finished it.
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Postby durinthedeathless22 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:58 am

I do believe that The Hobbit may be a tad too complex for an eight-year-old, but not too complex to be unenjoyable. I read The Hobbit when I was ten (and LOVED it) but I didn't fully understand all of the ties into the rest of the legendarium. Even as an advanced reader at that age (I'd already read The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia by that time), many of the references and back-stories (for example, Azog the Goblin) were lost on me. But, I enjoyed the story nevertheless, and I still enjoy reading it to this day. :)
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Postby Acituan » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:27 am

I myself started reading the works of Tolkien when I was 12-13 years old and the Jackson movies came out., starting with The Fellowship of the Ring. I soon found it intriguing and exciting so much so that I always had either FOTR, TTT, or ROTK in my backpack at school and would use the time for recess to read them. As far as being able to understand them,. I immediately did not grasp the deep philosophical meanings that may be found in them, insted I loved them as a piece of fantasy fiction that had a twinge of the medieval stories of King Arthur and Camelot. One of the greatest messages that I got from them at those early readings was to never loose hope and that good will almost certainly win over evil.
However many years later I fully grasped and understood the more deeper meanings of the stories that Prof. Tolkien wrote.
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Postby Elmtree » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:16 pm

My son loved it at age six. He and his younger sister were fighting in the back of the car and I just said suddenly "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit--"

and they stopped.

Then I tried to recall the whole opening (I did it!). they wanted more.

So he at age six, and she at age four, listened intently to the whole thing.

I think reading TO them does help, but I also think this story is not everyone's cuppa tea. He might like a different type of story. Or he might not be ready to read it yet.
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Postby Smeagolofthestoors » Thu May 05, 2011 5:17 pm

It took my nephew several tries over the course of 3 years to read the Hobbit. But he finaly finished it and fell in love with it. Just keep giving him the chance and he will come around.
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Postby Swordsman_Of_The_Tower » Thu May 05, 2011 6:32 pm

I was 13 when I first read the Hobbit+the trilogy. I remember vividly because it was the summer before I started eighth grade. :)

The first of the movies came out the winter after.

Those were the days, :)
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Postby Gladhaniel » Sat May 07, 2011 12:52 pm

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but an alternative if you feel your nephew isn't getting into the reading this much would be to make him listen to the audiobook. :) My host sister of 8, from what I understood, has been listening to it for a long time already, and she knows the story almost by heart now. ;P Since she's so familiar with it, it would only be natural for her to grab the book a couple of years later!
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Postby GoldSeven » Tue May 10, 2011 11:56 am

My mother read it to me when I was six, but she may have shortened the first chapter somewhat. I think that as soon as Bilbo sets off with the Dwarves, it can be read to children without any omissions, but the first chapter has a lot of stuff that would tax most children's patience. My son is six now, and we've postponed the project, although he's a pretty bright kid to whom I've already read other, longer books. But rather than scare him away, I'll try again in a year or so.
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Postby Ash45 » Sun May 15, 2011 4:46 pm

Another option is the Charles Dixon / David Wenzel graphic novel adaptation. I've read it through twice to my 6 and 3 year old, both of whom have followed it reasonably well, and enjoyed it. We kept illustrated copies of the full text on hand and referred to them often to flesh things out. Certainly on the second read-through, my oldest was wanting more of the original text and the poetry included; I hope to be able to read the whole thing to her soon.
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Postby Gollum Girl » Sun May 22, 2011 3:22 pm

I think anywhere between the ages of 6 (it's a stretch) to 100, one should be able to read The Hobbit. If he seems uninterested, he might just not be into reading, or not into the genre of fantasy, or perhaps he doesn't like the story in general. Ah! There are millions of reasons. I wouldn't worry about it for the time being if I were you, though. He could pick it up later on and adore it. :o

And congratulations! Your thread is the very first one of every posted on for this site. Hello, everyone. :yippie:
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Postby Ice Spider » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:47 am

Could just be taste. It's hard for me to imagine a kid not liking the Hobbit either (by the end of the first chapter when I read it as a kid, I was enchanted, and when I finished the book I declared it "perfect" and the "best book I had ever read"...I was easy to please yes, but like most of you fantasy is my thing).

If you feel he really is to young, by all means wait, but don't wait too long. The Hobbit is a magical story to read at any age but it just isn't the same when you aren't reading it with the eyes of a child (or at least for me it was like that). I love the book to death every time I re-read it, but nothing compares to the sense of magic you get when you experience it under the age of 12 or so.
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