In the 3rd grade, my teacher Mrs. Noble encouraged us to read. A small chunk of each day was devoted to digging through books in the classroom, which ranged from novels to encyclopedias (with the occasional dirty-word-lookup in a dictionary).
I stumbled upon “The Hobbit” and was immediately hooked on the story. It didn’t hurt that we had televisions in each classroom, and on occasion we would watch the Rankin/Bass adaptation every so often.
In the 4th grade, reading became less fun when we had to actually write about it for class. We were each assigned to compose a book report. For my subject, I chose “The Hobbit.” Since I didn’t bother to re-read it, I instead wrote my report from memory of the previous year’s reading. A+.
The 5th grade came around. We were once again assigned a book report. I once again chose “The Hobbit.” I dusted off my year-old report, did some minor revisions, and submitted it. A+. I got away with it.
And for each year until the 12th grade, whenever I had a book report to deliver, I chose “The Hobbit” and built upon the previous year’s report. Again, A+. By my senior year, it ended up being quite lengthy, with footnotes, reinforcements around the notebook paper holes, a UV cover, and a drawing on the front cover.
Never underestimate the UV cover.
Photo Credit: The Hobbit (1977)