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Mr Bliss

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,893 ratings  ·  219 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. ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1982)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,893 ratings  ·  219 reviews

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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
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
Oct 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't been a fan of picture books since I was in third grade. While I love comics, and I don't mind if a chapter book has an illustration here and there, I've found "easy readers" too basic and boring for my tastes since I was eight. Prior to requesting this for Tolkien and Lewis month a while back, I didn't know it was a picture book; while a cute story, I'm definitely not its target audience. If you have kids, this may be a good introduction to the writings of Tolkien; as for me, I'll stic ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidstuff, fantasy
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
Annaleely Leely
i would like a girabbit, please.
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
too weird! Expected more from such an epic author...:(
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
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.
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. ...more
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!
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook of this picture book by Tolkien because it was narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi. A wonderful combination!
Marko Vasić
Another professor's gem intended for children along with Letters from Father Christmas yet of a lesser degree. Illustrated by his own hand in a form of a graphic novel before it was popular. It bursts out with good British humour and puns, enshrouded in well-recognisable Tolkien's writing style. ...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. ...more
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, favourites
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
Jeremy Johnston
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
This is a humorous and silly story Tolkien created first for his children and then he intended for publication. It was never printed, however, in his lifetime. It reminded me of Edward Lear's nonsense verse, as well as Alice in Wonderland and the adventures of Mr. Toad from Wind in the Willows. It isn't Tolkien's best work, but it does reveal his playfulness with language and his sense of humour. Also, Tolkien wasn't a fan of the automobile, and the cause of all the trouble in this book begins w ...more
Katherine Sas
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tolkien, fantasy, inklings
Utterly unlike anything else in Tolkien's corpus. ...more
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 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.
Natasha M.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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. ...more
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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

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