Friday, March 6, 2015

The Hobbit: Illustrated Edition (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

As my son grows older, I find myself gravitating to older children's books that are illustrated. We have the complete collection of the Wizard of Oz illustrated and have recently acquired the complete Chronicles of Narnia, which i will be reviewing next week. Recently. I have been looking into illustrated Tolkien titles. There are two primary illustrators for his work - Pauline Baynes (who also illustrated Narnia) and Alan Lee. In late 2013, however, Jemima Catlin joined the list of illustrators with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's publication of The Hobbit: Illustrated Edition.

The Hobbit: Illustrated Edition does not require a review of the story, as it is a familiar tale, which we have all read, seen the movie, or both. (If you've only seen the movies, I do implore you to read the book.) Instead, I will give you a brief description of this edition of the book. To begin with, it is what one would call a gift edition. It is a thick hardcover with approximately 400 pages and measuring 7 inches by 9.2 inches. The pages are thick and glossy pages, which I greatly appreciate, because there is nothing worse than being able to see the words/pictures of a previous page through your current page. The font is nice and readable, about 12 point font. The illustrations are mostly 1/5 to 1/4 of the page size, with about a handful of full page ones, and the frequency of the illustrations are about every other page to every third page.

The illustration style can be described as colored pencil sketch-like quality. I would describe Ms. Catlin's interpretations of the words into pictures as very literal. For example, on page 102, it reads, "He turned now and saw Gollum's eyes like small green lamps coming up the slope." That's exactly what you see are Gollum with green lights coming out of his eyes like flashlights. You should check out Ms. Catlin's personal website to see some of her illustrations to get an idea if you like her style. Overall, I was pleased with the book and know the pictures will help the story come alive for my child. If you are looking for a birthday gift for the Tolkien lover in your family, this would make a great choice.

This book was provided to me for free by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!