Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End.
But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon-
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Research the life of J.R.R. Tolkien and write a biography about him.
- Imagine that you could interview J.R.R. Tolkien. What questions would you like to ask him? How might he have responded to your questions if he were still alive?
- What genre would you classify this book as? Can you think of any similar books?
- The story starts with the words, ‘In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.’ Could you use this as the starting point for your own story?
- Bilbo gets lots of unexpected visitors at the beginning of the book. Make an invitation to a gathering of friends that he was expecting.
- Make up a rhyming song about an adventure like the dwarves do in the book. Try to include lots of descriptions about the scenery and dangers that you might encounter.
- The dwarves and Gandolf manage to escape the goblins in the Misty Mountains. Write a description of how they escaped.
- Bilbo has to escape Gollum by thinking of some clever riddles. Can you write some riddles of your own about everyday objects? Challenge your friends to solve them!
- In the first edition of the book, Gollum was happy to bet the magic ring on the outcome of the riddle game, and he and Bilbo parted as friends. However, this was changed in the second edition. Tolkien made Gollum more aggressive towards Bilbo and distraught at losing the ring. Can you write a second edition of one of your own stories, or of another popular book, in which a key plot point is changed?
- Imagine that you had a magic ring. What would its power be and how would you use it?
- Write a diary entry from Bilbo based on one of the key events in the book. Use descriptive language and try to imagine how Bilbo and the people around him felt.
- Summarise the story from the point of view of a different character (e.g. Gandalf or Smaug). What do they think about the different things that happened?
- Imagine that you had the ring and it allowed to you become invisible. What would you do? Write a story about an adventure that you might have.
- When Thorin and others are kidnapped by goblins, they sing a song that includes examples of onomatopoeia. Could you make your own onomatopoeic song?
- Can you write some messages using the runes used in the book (see Resources below)?
- Do you think there is a moral to this story? What did you learn by reading it?
- Plan the food and drink that Bilbo might need for his unexpected visitors. How much of each item will he need? How much might this cost? Can you make up some word problems using this information?
- Make a fact file about the different characters that are introduced in each chapter. Who are they? Where do they live? Are they friendly / dangerous? What are their strengths / weaknesses?
- Make an animation of a firework display that Gandalf would enjoy.
- Design a computer game based on one / some of the events in the story.
- Watch the trailer from the movie. Could you plan / storyboard / film your own trailer for a film version of the book?
- Could you make an animation of a scene in the book? Look at this example for inspiration:
- Can you design a board game based on the book in which the characters have to complete a similar quest?
- There are a number of Lego sets based on scenes from The Hobbit. Can you create your own scenes using different construction toys / materials?
- Draw a picture of one of the characters based on the description in the book. Compare your picture with those found in illustrations and movies. How are they similar / different?
- Gandalf is famous for his fireworks displays. Use different materials to create a picture of a firework display that he would enjoy.
- Design a new character / creature that might appear in an additional chapter of the book. How might they fit into the story?
- Listen to the soundtrack from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Could you compose a theme tune for the book or a song linked to one of the scenes in the story?
- Draw a map that shows the places visited in the story. Add lots of detail so that the characters could use it to find their way around.
- Make a labelled map to show the events that happened in each location in the book.
- Design your own treasure map. What dangers might you encounter?
- The book was first published in 1937. What was life like then? How was it similar / different to life today?
- The story has been translated into more than 40 languages. Can you choose some words / sentences from the book and translate them into a language that you know?