Lord of the Rings for a 3 Year Old

I was all set to write another commentary track for Katja's Diary, but the car ride home with my three year old was just too entertaining not to share.

My daughter and I play this game called "Did you know?" where we tell each other things, well, that the other doesn't know.  I see it as an opportunity to hear about what she did in preschool (since that's pretty much all she tells me about) and share some things about myself with my little girl.  After leaving the pizza place, she says "Daddy, did you know that we made a train station in the block center today?"

"No I didn't!  That's awesome!"

"Now you tell me one."

"Okay.  Did you know that Lord of the Rings is one of daddy's favorite books?"

"What's that story?"

"Well, it's about a magic ring that turns people invisible."

"What's invisible?"

"It means you can't see them."

"What else happens in the story?"

And so it began, as the next 25 minutes were spent with me telling her the basic plot of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, spurred on by lots of questions.  My favorites included:

"What's a balrog?"
"Were the elves nice?"
"Why were the wraiths mean?"
"Why did Frodo have to throw the ring in a volcano again?"

Sure, I had to edit.  Sauron was "a really mean, really powerful wizard."  There was almost no mention of Gollum.  And no Tom Bombadil.  But she seemed to get the basic plot, from dwarves to Bilbo to Frodo to Rivendell to Moria (she seemed really interested in the dwarven tunnels) and even to the Breaking of the Fellowship, where she was able to follow two (admittedly very abbreviated) plot threads.  When we got home, she asked to see the books, but was disappointed they didn't have any pictures.  I then pulled out my Tolkien Bestiary and showed her pictures of elves and dwarves and hobbits.  She especially wanted to see a picture of "the tree-man," so I showed her Ents and Hurons before I made her get ready for bed.

I am not trying to consciously make my children into geeks, but I do welcome the chance to share my geekdom when the opportunity arises.  Sharing these stories with her, even at a basic level, was special.


  1. That's a great story, most of all for the father and daughter time it represents.

  2. Great stuff. I had a similar event with my grandson years ago. It was bedtime and he said, "tell me a story". The Hobbit popped into my mind and off we went...

  3. I want to read her The Hobbit, but I don't think she's quite there yet. Maybe I can tell her the Hobbit story in more detail soon. Right now, she's hearing all about Victoria the Snow Princess from Snowhaven Who Just Wants to Go Somewhere Warm.

  4. I've made tentative starts into the Hobbit for the boys, but they are not quite ready for something without pictures (and that long). Almost, though...

  5. I can't wait for my son to be a few years older so we can have talks like this. Not that I want to skip over the time before that (well, maybe the sleeping issues), but I am really looking forward to being able to have conversations with him.


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