Hmm, maybe you're thinking of Rayner Unwin, the son of Tolkien's publisher at the time. As a child Rayner reviewed The Hobbit, and wrote:
"Bilbo Baggins was a Hobbit who lived in his Hobbit hole and never went for adventures, at last Gandalf the wizard and his Dwarves persuaded him to go. He had a very exciting time fighting goblins and wargs. At last they get to the lonely mountain; Smaug, the dragon who guards it is killed and after a terrific battle with the goblins he returned home — rich!
This book, with the help of maps, does not need any illustrations it is good and should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9."
This was published in Tolkien's authorized biography by Humphrey Carpenter, for example. Or maybe you mean something else, but at the moment that's all I can recall.
There is this from a 13 year old Christopher Tolkien [writing to Father Christmas in 1937].
'Daddy wrote it ages ago, and read it to John, Michael, and me in our winter 'reads' after tea in the evening; but the ending chapters were roughly done, and not typed out at all; he finished it about a year ago'
That much was noted in Carpenter's biography as well. I remember letter 22 where Tolkien notes he paid Christopher to find errors in The Hobbit.
I do not have Christopher Tolkien's foreword to The Hobbit however, as my copies are too old, nor does the foreword appear in my 50th anniversary edition.
Thank you to everyone, for the warm welcome. It is appreciated.
The passage that Galin has provided sounds very much like what I remember reading. It is likely that I've confused the publisher's son with Tolkien's son, as he indicates. I love the idea of this child critic giving the metaphorical green light to The Hobbit. For some reason that really delights and resonates with me.
I will definitely look at the books you mention, Galin, and thank you very much for your help.
And thank you too Wkofang...
... as now I think I might get [yet another] edition of The Hobbit, or at least read Christopher Tolkien's foreword again while in the bookstore... I mean I think I read it already! but maybe my thinking so has kept me from actually reading it!
I hear the new pocket edition might have a version of the foreword, and I don't have a pocket edition! Yet.
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