Smith of Wootton Major is a delightful light fantasy tale. A master cook resides in the village of Wootton Major—a town slightly larger than the nearby Wootton Minor. He bakes a great cake for the Feast of Good Children every 24 years.
Only 24 children are invited, and most of the pieces of cake contain small trinkets and toys for the children to enjoy. One year, a faerie star is baked into the cake, and a young boy named Smith is the lucky recipient of the piece containing the star.
The rest of the story is mostly filled with the many magical adventures of Smith in the land of the fae. Tolkien does a masterful job weaving the tale using imaginative and creative wording. I would have loved to have had this story read to me as a child. It reminds me a lot of other stories I read and had read to me back in those days of the distant past.
Derek Jacobi—excellent as Nicodemus in The Secret of NIMH animated film from Don Bluth, and as the Master in Series 3 of the new Doctor Who—gave an awesome performance as the narrator. I could listen to his narration all day long. Each character had a nuanced and distinct voice, and the words of Tolkien flowed smoothly as Jacobi took the listener on an exciting ride through the faerie world.
For those new to audiobooks, this is an awesome way to become familiar with them. The story was well written, and Jacobi’s performance made the story come to life. The short length and low price also allow anyone to purchase this easily, without worrying about committing to a lengthy time for listening. At only just over an hour, it would work well on a short trip. I highly recommend this audiobook.
Original Release Date: November 9, 1967 (UK)
Audiobook Release Date: July 28, 2016 (US)
Narrator(s): Derek Jacobi