In 1925, while on vacation with his family on the Yorkshire coast, four-year-old Michael Tolkien lost his favorite toy, a little lead dog he was reluctant to put down even to dig in the sand. To console and distract him, his father, J. R. R. Tolkien, improvised a story - the story of Rover, a real dog magically transformed into a toy, who, after many fantastic adventures in search of the wizard who wronged him, at last wins back his life. This charming tale, peopled by a wise old whale and a terrible dragon, by the king of the sea and the Man-in-the-Moon, was a Tolkien family favorite, going through several typewritten drafts over many years. In 1936, Tolkien submitted it to his British publishers as a possible follow-up to The Hobbit. What his publishers really wanted, however, was another story about Middle-earth, and so he set aside this little book to begin his masterwork, The Lord of the Rings.