A captivating picture book biography of a boy who imagined a world full of dragons and grew up to be beloved author J. R. R. Tolkien.
John Ronald loved dragons. He liked to imagine dragons when he was alone, and with his friends, and especially when life got hard or sad. After his mother died and he had to live with a cold-hearted aunt, he looked for dragons. He searched for them at his boarding school. And when he fought in a Great War, he felt as if terrible, destructive dragons were everywhere. But he never actually found one, until one day, when he was a grown man but still very much a boy at heart, when he decided to create one of his own. John Ronald's Dragons, a picture book biography by Caroline McAlister and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, introduces the beloved creator of Middle Earth and author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to a new generation of children who see magic in the world around them.
The dragons of imagination are always there, but sometimes it takes time for them to breathe fire that's what McAlister (Holy Mol !) suggests in this thoughtful look at the creative development of John Ronald, aka J.R.R. Tolkien. Reflecting Ronald's lifelong preoccupation with dragons, Wheeler's (This Is Our Baby, Born Today) illustrations blend hints of the fantastical and the mundane chimney plumes and steam from a young Ronald's oatmeal mimic the smoke curling from an imagined dragon's nostrils. McAlister moves briskly through Ronald's life, touching on the influences of his faith, military service, and education before he hit upon the invention of a hobbit, one who would lead him all the way to "a dragon named Smaug." It's an ideal lead-in to family readings of The Hobbit. Ages 4 8. Author's agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator's agent: Jennifer Rof , Andrea Brown Literary.