The Hobbit has been a favourite of mine ever since I first read it as a kid ages ago. I remembered bits and pieces with great fondness (Trolls! Dragons! Riddles in the dark!), and reading Lord of the Rings as a teenager only served to firmly place Tolkien on the number one spot among my favourite authors. I've been meaning to re-read the Hobbit for years. And now I finally have.
It is a very well written book, full of adventure and Tolkien's trademark mythology. But it is a book for children, a fact that somehow escaped my nostalgic reminiscing and regret that they don't make books like that any more; unlike Lord of the Rings, with its dark themes and complex writing, the Hobbit is a fairytale.
Of course, even a fairytale is a majestic thing when written by Tolkien. But you can never go back. Knowing the story that follows the events in this book, I nitpicked about how Gandalf was portrayed, wondered about some things that seemed to be inconsistent with LotR, wanted more...seriousness in the book. I am an adult now, and the days I could curl up with a book like the Hobbit and enjoy it like a child are long gone. But, if I had any children of my own, you bet I'd be reading this book to them every night before they went to sleep until they hit puberty. After all, they don't make children's books like that any more.