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royalshoop
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Post Children's or abridged versions?
on: April 25, 2018 05:48
I have spent hours on the internet looking for abridged or junior versions of LOTR for a class I am teaching but cannot seem to find anything. Does anything like that exist and I'm missing it somehow? I was hoping for LOTR specifically, and not the Hobbit, which seems to have more resources for younger readers, for obvious reasons. Thanks!
Lord_Sauron
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on: April 25, 2018 02:35
I have never seen a children's version of the Lord of the Rings. I wonder if it would be possible for you to get signed permission slips from the parents of your students allowing you to read the book to them or for them to read the book themselves in class. How old are your students?
royalshoop
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on: April 25, 2018 03:27
Young. They wouldn't be able to read the actual book
Gandolorin
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on: April 26, 2018 03:50
My personal opinion, but culled from decades of reading about JRRT’s works, is that the LoTR is uncompressible in print. Not that it would be impossible to give a (highly compressed) synopsis of what happens, but that would leave a pretty conventional fantasy outline (maybe except for the fact that LoTR is actually an anti-quest – not retrieve something very important from the clutches of a baddie, but have it, and then take it to “his place” to destroy it). When I first read the older German translation of LoTR back in 1983, I was 27. Even though I have been a dual native speaker all my life, I still got something out of each re-reading of LoTR (15 plus times, I have stopped keeping count, last one this year). While much illumination has been provided by Christopher Tolkien’s massive publishing of background material, I have also learned much about the nuances JRRT was capable of in his use of the English language. Bits of this surface even on The Hobbit, but nuances of language, which should surprise no one with a minimum knowledge of JRRT’s (private and) professional background, are for me a very central aspect of LoTR. Which is why it may be the most re-read book in recent history, totally crushing the highly imperceptive prediction of one negative critic from the time of its original complete publication.

My multiple readings span 35 years between the ages of 27 and 62. Reading comments by dozens of participants in this and one other JRRT-dedicated site, of their first readings going back into their pre-teens, has occasionally made me speculate when at what time, earlier than my age of 27 in 1983, I would have been captivated by LoTR (my 1985 reading of the original was a revelation, as I remember it). Reading stuff deemed “suitable” for the age X of children, deemed so by people whose personal experience with children may be iffy to non-existent – and those seem to end up in positions to decide such things far too often – seems to me to produce too often to produce too low a common denominator. Besides growing up bilingual, I was also a bookworm (or very early, comic-worm) able to read as a preschooler (writing is probably a somewhat different question). I very certainly read things “above my age” for most of my childhood – as again often pointed out, not the least by JRRT himself, this is the best way to learn.

Children develop various skills at vastly different speeds – possibly very much so at young ages. Some may get to an early start, others may lag early on, but then suddenly spurt ahead of the early adopters at a later time. Some may need longer times and support, never spurting at any time, being seemingly slow, but perhaps more methodical. Some may reach a conclusion, at whatever point and to whatever degree, that they’ve learned enough and further effort is not worth their while. And every one of them will reach their respective conclusions for individual reasons.

I may very well have wasted time and space in pontificating on things you already know. But when you say “They wouldn't be able to read the actual book”, does that mean “They wouldn't be able to read”, period? Not even The Hobbit? That, at least, started out as a story JRRT told his children over some years, possibly before the one or other became able to read. I very seriously doubt he would have read anything beyond “A Long-expected Party” to his children as he had dome with the (almost?) entire Hobbit. There is probably a lowest age level where even the most gifted child would be overwhelmed by LoTR. A big grey area. I have vague memories of “sanitized” versions even of “children’s” stories collected by the Brothers Grimm (and they probably sanitized what THEY collected of folk tales before publishing). The grey areas seem to me have grown quite a bit since the first “fairy-story” collections of the 19th century. The lowest common denominator having spread far too wide, methinks.
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