Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mr Bliss” as Want to Read:
Mr Bliss
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mr Bliss

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,663 ratings  ·  185 reviews
The first ever trade edition of Tolkien's illustrated tale about the eccentric Mr Bliss, a man notable for his immensely tall hats and for the girabbit in his garden, whose whimsical decision to buy a motor car quickly becomes a catalogue of disasters.
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1982)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mr Bliss, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mr Bliss

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,663 ratings  ·  185 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Mr Bliss
Sean Barrs
Many of Tolkien’s writings are child friendly, and none more so than this. If anything, of all his works, this is the one aimed at the youngest reading audience. It is a very simple story full of humour and silly mishaps. It was certainly entertaining to read in parts, but as a child I know I would have liked it more.

It lacks that universal quality that some children’s literature possesses, an ability to speak to all readers of any age. We were all children once and we can all relate to the the
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a self-confessed Tolkien nut but this was a book I'm sure even neutrals would love.

It's a beautifully illustrated and quirky children's book, the pictures drawn by Tolkien himself. Not just a great writer but a talented artist also!

What a contrast to Middle-earth and the tales of good and evil. I'm in awe at the scope of Tolkien's imagination, always have been, and how easily he could switch between different fantasy realms and writing for different age groups. I'd love to write a children'
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Bliss is a children's picture book by J. R. R. Tolkien, published posthumously in book form in 1982. One of Tolkien's least-known short works, it tells the story of Mr. Bliss and his first ride in his new motor-car. Many adventures follow: encounters with bears, angry neighbours, irate shopkeepers, and assorted collisions. The story was inspired by Tolkien's own vehicular mishaps with his first car, purchased in 1932. [Tolkien's dislike for industrialisation – and machines by proxy – can def ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, kidstuff
Here's a story that Tolkien wrote and illustrated for his own children. The format of the book is interesting: on the recto page, we see the author's original work, in his own hard-to-read scrawl.


The verso page offers a "translation."

It's a very haphazard, convoluted tale. I got the feeling ole J.R.R. made it up for the kiddies one night, then attempted to write it down from memory a few days later. It's worth a look, but not highly recommended.

PS - I added an extra star because I liked the Gira
Clare O'Beara
This is illustrated with charming colour sketches by the author. A small fairytale with bears in the woods, picnics on the lawn, a brightly coloured new car and pride going before a fall. I particularly like the girabbit, a creature like a rabbit with a giraffe's neck and head. There are some similarities to Toad of Toad Hall. We see names like Gamgee, Sam and Boffin, with other precursors of The Hobbit and TLOTR.

Interestingly in the list of costs Mr Bliss incurs, I note a sixpence tip to the p
Andrew Hryhirchuk
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely little Sunday afternoon light-read.
Loved it. I am, however quite bias. I'm a big Tolkien fan, and I'll read anything that his colourful imagination can conjure.
It's a bright and animated children's book about the adventures of a tall hat wearing dandy names Mr. Bliss, and his spontaneous inspiration to buy a motorcar, and the trouble there ensues.
Aside from the playfulness of story and many delightful characters, the book is worth buying simply for its hand-crafted illustrations by the
Lancelot Schaubert
At first blush to modern readers, this book will seem like an equally absurd, “ancient” version of the nonsequitors found in Axe Cop. But that’s mainly because our books for children have become so shallow. In Axe cop, the introduction of new characters and plot points never rises above the absurd. In Mr. Bliss, nothing is spared and nothing unintended: everything has a point.

Tolkien wrote — and in my version lettered and illustrated (!) — this book for his own children. And it’s hilarious and
Annaleely Leely
i would like a girabbit, please.
too weird! Expected more from such an epic author...:(
Jennifer (JC-S)
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
My inner child and I really enjoyed this book. Professor Tolkien wrote this book for his own children in the 1930s but it was never published in his lifetime. The edition I read (pulbished in 1983) has a facsimile of Professor Tolkien's original written text and lovely drawings side by side with the printed text.

I wish I'd discovered this book 20 years ago in time to read with my son. I'm sure he'd have enjoyed it.
Marina Balinska
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had so much fun while reading this! I needed something light and fun to cheer me up after 3 days being sick! And what do you know... I feel way better now!
I listened to the audiobook of this picture book by Tolkien because it was narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi. A wonderful combination!
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So cute! Just the kind of story you can imagine reading aloud. Gets sillier and sillier as it goes, and Tolkien's drawings are just lovely.
The Peregrine Shepherd
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Is this a poignant piece of literary greatness? No. Was it written exquisitely with riveting action and dialouge? No. Not by any means. But Mr. Bliss still captured my heart, if for no other reason than it's the first book I've read in a long time that made feel like there was someone sitting on the edge of my bed telling me a story before I go to sleep. It's pure, childlike simplicity is just... charming and Tolkien's writing style can take just as much credit for this as the bizarre storyline ...more
David Mosley
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps not Tolkien's greatest work of fiction, even amongst his short stories, but nevertheless and delightful and fun read. Reading some of Tolkien's stories for his children and seeing the art that accompanied them makes one wish Tolkien had illustrated more of his works. This is a fun read for all fans of Tolkien.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Bliss is a delightful yet little-known story that Tolkien wrote for his children. It’s fairly straightforward as children’s stories go, following the misadventures of Mr. Bliss after he buys a new automobile and discovers it might be more trouble than it’s worth, so I can see why the tale isn’t generally mentioned among Tolkien’s bigger works. However, the story is amusing and a must-read for any Tolkien fan.

The published book is a facsimile edition, reproducing Tolkien’s illustrations and h
Alana Ellsworth
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tolkien
Written by the same man and in the same style as the one who reformed the genre of fantasy, Mr. Bliss echoes many of the same themes and superb storytelling elements that Roverandom and Smith of Wooton Major possess. There is something unique about Tolkien's short stories that I have yet to find anywhere else. There is humor and there is heart; there is grand imagination and there are ordinary characters. Glimpses of it are seen in his creation of hobbits--the loyal, stout-hearted, and often ove ...more
Katherine Sas
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: inklings, fantasy, tolkien
Utterly unlike anything else in Tolkien's corpus.
May 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Charming and very enjoyable, I particularly like his illustrations of buildings for some reason.
Ясен В.
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Not sure whether this was written before or after Tolkien actually drove his car into a wall, this story about a car driven into a wall is quite fun.
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Found a copy of this at Portobello Market in London today. Lance read it to me tonight.
Aaron W. Matthews
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have far too much respect for Mr. Tolkien to rate this book lower because it is, after all, not for me. He imagined, invented, and illustrated this book for his children many years ago when they were still very young. A single word to sum up Mr. Bliss is eccentric. A single word to sum up the story is silly. It is a series that begins on a whim, follows with many follies, and ends well and happy and good.
Nicole Pramik
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Bliss is quite possibly the funniest, cutest story of Tolkien's I've ever read (besides Farmer Giles of Ham). That's by no means an insult because cute and comedy can be good if they're cleverly done, which is certainly the case here.

In this posthumous work, originally published in 1982, Tolkien presents to readers a hand-written, and hand-drawn, story about the clumsy Mr. Bliss and his many adventures and misadventures with an automobile, some of which involve annoyed neighbors, irate town
Mr. Bliss is delightfully amusing, both the book and the title character himself. He gets himself into a series of farcical scrapes involving his new car, three thuggish teddy bears, four obese brothers, some cabbages and some bananas. Mr. Bliss is a frightful coward throughout, not at all the hero you might expect, which I think would make him a rather sympathetic character for younger children. He does stand up for himself in the end, albeit in a somewhat passive/aggressive way. Oh, and watch ...more
Edoardo Albert
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
What I took away from this short little book (finished in a 30-minute tube ride), apart from its charm and the almost palpable sense of also sitting on the bed as Tolkien delivered the story, probably ex tempore in its first version, to his children, was how interesting and unique his handwriting was and what a large part it seems drawing played in the Good Professor's creativity. The story is slight although engaging, but the drawings are enchanting, and I'm reminded of Tolkien's drawings and p ...more
Aug 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I saw this book in a London bookstore recently and since I am collecting all the books written by Tolkien (since he is a favorite author of mine), I had to get a copy of this book.
This is a short, funny children’s story. I didn’t enjoy it much as an adult but I am sure young children will like it. The book had facsimile of the original illustrations and text written by Tolkien himself. Recommend it for Tolkien fans and for young children.
Cynthia Egbert
I wish I still had young children to read aloud with because I think a read-aloud with this book would be such fun. I enjoyed myself in its silliness and loved reading in Tolkien's own hand with his pictures.
Sep 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Really good example of adventures that are hell to live though become the best stories. Lots of fun. ;-) Oh, yes, it is fiction.
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished, children
Not really my kind of story...
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien
Never gets old. Read this for TOLKIEN READING DAY! WHOOP!
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo
  • The Golden Orchard
  • Небесният барабан: митове и легенди от Древен Китай
  • A Woman of the World
  • Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte. 2 Bände. - Band 1: Einleitung - Die vorgeschichtliche Zeit. Religion der Südgermanen. - Band 2: Religion der Nordgermanen. (= Grundriß der germanischen Philologie, Band 12/1 und 12/2)
  • Resistance Reborn (Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, #1)
  • Избрани произведения
  • Давид
  • Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America
  • Force Collector (Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, #2)
  • The Messengers
  • Le loup qui cherchait une amoureuse
  • Inside Jobs: Tales from a Time of Quarantine
  • Die Konferenz der Tiere
  • The Mountain and the Sea
  • Our Flag Was Still There: The True Story of Mary Pickersgill and the Star-Spangled Banner
  • Hablar por hablar: historias de madrugada
See similar books…
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English

Related Articles

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our list, we fo...
42 likes · 8 comments