This year I'm reading through several of the devotional eBooks I've collected as they've been offered for free. I don't have to review these; I received them with no strings attached. If I like them, though, I will. I really liked Walking with Bilbo by Sarah Arthur.
Arthur tells us up front that Tolkien didn't intend for his book, The Hobbit, to be a Christian allegory. Because he was a Christian, though, his book can't help but carry several Christian themes. Arthur's book picks up on these and helps her readers to understand them and apply them to their lives. The book contains twenty-two short devotionals. Each explores a portion of Tolkien's story, compares it to a passage from the Bible, gives the reader a list of questions to consider, and closes with a list of Bible verses to read for further insight.
This book was fun to read and easy to understand, yet its truths were valuable and practical for life. As I understand it, this book was written for teenagers, but I believe Christians of any age can glean worthwhile insights. I recommend Walking with Bilbo to Christian fans of Tolkien's works and to anyone looking to deepen their walk with Christ.
It has been years since I read "The Hobbit," and I did read most of the "Lord of the Rings" series in addition to seeing the trilogy of films. I knew that there was a spiritual significance in Tokien's books, but I sometimes have struggled to find it. I was excited to get the chance to read through this devotional.
While I believe that the author's intentions were fantastic, I think she may have either bitten off a little more than she could chew or tried to do what Tolkien never intended. Don't get me wrong-the devotional is fine. She has a quick chapter for different sections of Bilbo's journeys. She carries the theme through well and always backs it up with Scripture. You can also dig deeper with her thought-provoking questions and Bible readings. I just felt that it kind of missed the mark. I would have preferred a series of devotionals that dealt with just one of the books in the series. And I would have even preferred using this as a companion read to Tolkien's original texts. But for the true "Tolkien" fanatics, this is a pretty good read.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated in any way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
I purchased this book for my ten-year-old avid reader who has been enjoying Tolkien recently. It was just what I was looking for. My daughter is able to access the underlying Christian parallels that Walking with Bilbo points out on her own and we can then have a meaningful conversation about it later. Well done.
Sarah Arthur provides readers a devotional book based on The Hobbit that originally released in 2005 and has returned to the presses. This book is designed to "walk" you through the spiritual aspects of The Hobbit as you read through the classic saga. WALKING WITH BILBO consists of 22 readings meant to be considered, one per day as they enhance your understanding of the story while simultaneously applying the practical principles to your personal practices.
Each reading (less than 10 pages) has the following components: a quote from the book, a practical illustration (historical, personal, etc.), examples from The Hobbit, examples from the Bible, as well as questions and Scripture for further study. It's a nice casual, but challenging conversation of sorts, with an overarching theme of accepting our call to follow Jesus and live a dangerous, adventurous life as He leads. In that regard, it works well and offers plenty of insight to the reader.
I haven't seen the new The Hobbit movie yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I always have liked it better than The Lord of the Rings. In fact, I'm planning to teach a literature unit based on the book for the spring trimester at our homeschool co-op.
A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to review a devotional book that ties in with The Hobbit called Walking with Bilbo by Sarah Arthur. Knowing I had this class coming up, I was interested to see if it would be a good supplement for our study. I like to close out each class time with a short inspirational reading of some kind. My students will be in the 7th to 12th grade range, so it needed to be of interest to that age group and not too long.
When I received the book, I was able to tell right away that it was just what I was looking for! Each short chapter begins with a quote from The Hobbit. It then talks about that particular scene and applies a relevant spiritual lesson. The chapter closes with a Bible verse, and then provides some discussion questions. I look forward to using it with my class this spring.
Disclaimer: Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.