Reviews for Hobbit

AudioFile Reviews 2001 June/July
This version, a full-cast performance of the fantasy classic, is a dramatization that abridges the story while adding music and realistic sound effects for large crowds, bugles, and animals. In a slight departure from the original, Bilbo Baggins actually speaks to the narrator from time to time. Unfortunately, the accompanying sounds and music prove distracting, making the book confusing. Lost lines make it harder to follow the story. In addition, the screenplay omits important transitional events, furthering the confusion. The performers, however, give vision to each of the characters. Bilbo grows from a quiet, nervous, worried Hobbit to a gallant, inventive, and courageous adventurer. The dwarves, although hard to differentiate, are solid and stubborn--fixed on their goal. A querulous Gandalf is hard to picture at first, but he slowly warms to the story. A straight reading with this exceptional cast would be a joy indeed. W.L.S. ¬ AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine

AudioFile Reviews 2001 December/2002 January
his is a beautifully packaged reissue of the 1988 BBC Radio production of Tolkien's fantasy adventure. The story of Bilbo Baggins and his adventures is brought to life by a full cast and is enhanced by an original score. The program is, unfortunately, very busy, with clashing voices, frenetic background sounds, and inadequate narration that fails to provide the listener with an intelligible sense of the action. The dialogue is performed in rapid-fire, high-pitched chatter, perhaps appropriate for the cast of elves, dwarves, and hobbits, but still irritating for the listener. The musical score--performed with Renaissance instruments by the Early Music Consort--provides an interesting backdrop to the story, and a fifth disk is included containing music only. Tolkien fans and BBC Radio drama collectors will cherish this lovely set. But most listeners will prefer Martin Shaw's reading of the fantasy classic for his clear, gentle, and expressive voice and for the length of the program, which runs two hours longer than the BBC production. S.E.S. (c) AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine

BookPage Reviews 2000 December
Great stocking stuffers for kids. In days of old - more precisely, BHP (Before Harry Potter) - peaceful, paunchy Bilbo Baggins and the wily wizard, Gandolf, captured the imaginations of young readers who shared in their adventures with trolls, orcs, spiders, wolves and the dreaded dragon, Smaug. Now they can all be found in a new BBC full-cast recording of The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkein's treasured tale, complete with sound effects and original score, takes listeners back to Middle Earth and back to a world of timeless fantasy.

Another BHP classic delight, C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, has been reissued in an audio collection. All seven books are included (in approved abridgements), performed by Ian Richardson, Claire Bloom, Anthony Quayle and Michael York.

Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month. Copyright 2000 BookPage Reviews