The Unofficial Hobbit Handbook by The Shire Collective

(6.0/10) A fun little book.

In the age of men, one must face myriad challenges: epic quests, imminent danger, the evil gaze of Sauron… okay, so maybe not. But wouldn't life's day-to-day challenges be easier if one were to take a cue from the diminutive hobbit? With The Unofficial Hobbit Handbook as your guide, you'll be ready to brave the difficulties, discomforts, and occasional orcs you may encounter.

With the release of The Hobbit in theatres at the end of last year it is absolutely no surprise that there was a plethora of Hobbit related material released to coincide. Rereleased versions of Tolkien’s debut novel, behind the scenes of the movies, and any number of additional Hobbit resources.

One of these is ‘The Unofficial Hobbit Handbook’ by The Shire Collective. As far as I can tell The Shire Collective is simply the name by which authors Peter Archer, Scott Francis and Jeff Gerke have written this book. Filled with black and white drawings to accompany a veritable deluge of silly and funny hobbit details, this book would be a great laugh for children and teenagers just getting into Tolkien’s work.

The book covers everything from a hobbit’s point of view: ranging from their food habits and their love of pipeweed, through their views on other races, and a humorously titled chapter looking at “Carrying Rings and Other Responsibilities”.

The information carried within is a little inaccurate where researching beyond Tolkien’s main works might have provided added insights, but it is well collected nonetheless. Presented in a fashion that is going to be entertaining for most, but probably most relevant to younger audiences, the authors present the reader with a homey view of being a hobbit.

At times the book references the Hobbit as a source, and other times it acts as if hobbits are simply a long forgotten race, which is somewhat detrimental to the continuity of the book and will draw you out of the fun.

All in all, the book is a fun little book, maybe good as a gag present or a stocking filler when Christmas comes back around.

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