This might come as a surprise to you but Tolkien wrote this book for his own kids and I just found out about this recently. I feel like we were really missing out on something huge!
J.R.R. Tolkien firmly believed that there is “no such thing as writing for children” and yet he, like many other famous authors of adult literature, wrote this not-very-well- known children’s book. Other writers to cater to little ones include Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, James Joyce, Aldous Huxley, Virgina Woolf, and Gertrude Stein.
Tolkien wrote Mr. Bliss for his own two children, much like the fairy tales E.E. Cummings wrote for his only daughter, Sylvia Plath’s verses for her kids (which we posted on a while ago), and the The Wishing Tree that Faulkner wrote for the daughter of his future wife. Mr. Bliss, was inspired by his first car, which he purchased in 1932. It was published posthumously exactly fifty years later. Tolkien later used two of the character names from the book, Gaffer Gamgee and Boffin, in The Lord of the Rings.
The book is handwritten and illustrated by Tolkien himself, who, (another surprise), was a dedicated artist. It tells the story of Mr. Bliss, a lovable eccentric known for his tall hats and his “girabbits,” the giraffe-headed, rabbit-bodied creatures that live in his backyard. One day, Mr. Bliss decides to buy his very first motor car, but his first drive to a friend’s house turns into a string of disasters as he collides with everything in sight… then gets kidnapped by three bears.
We just adore this charming and endearing book. It’s available here!