On reflection though, I think he probably got by far the most out of The Hobbit because the story is so satisfyingly child-sized. I can still recall his whoops and giggles of delight when Gandalf confounds the Trolls, Tom, Bert and William, who are most satisfyingly none too bright, by imitating their voices. They are misled by the wizard into a series of entertaining arguments about how they should prepare and cook their captive thirteen dwarves and one hobbit, but he tricks them into staying up too late, so when dawn arives they get turned to stone. From a child's perspective, the story of The Hobbit must be a highly rewarding experience. Its reluctant hero, Bilbo Baggins, is the size of a child and initially doesn't consider himself a likely candidate at all to be involved in a great adventure along with bigger folk. Yet, after a difficult journey with many set-backs, he discovers himself to be not only resourceful but also loyal and brave. Bilbo is required to apply his wits in many dangerous situations and he goes on to rescue his companions and save the day on more than one occasion.
I was surprised when I learnt that the story had been made into three films. However, I really loved The Lord of the Rings trilogy, am a big Peter Jackson fan and therefore looked forward excitedly to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. But I have to say I am one of those, and I believe there are quite a number, who were not entirely delighted with the result. I thought Martin Freeman and the cast were excellent by the way, and the film itself always looks superb. However, I don't like the way The Hobbit has been converted into a three part prequel to The Lord of the Rings. As I sat in the cinema, an expression widely sported by journalists and politicians a few years back kept springing to mind - the term is 'Sexed-up'. It's actually a phrase I didn't like then and one that I still don't like, but I have to say it seems appropriate here. If the vastly more complex three books that comprise The Lord of the Rings could be made into a satisfying trilogy, then to my mind, there is no compelling reason, artistically at least, for extending The Hobbit into three parts. It made me feel a little sad, because a small gem of children's literature has been made (at its best) into a fairly predictable Hollywood blockbuster, and at times descends into being little more than an expensive trailer for a computer game.
I guess to a movie mogul my views would be considered irrelevant and probably naive. The film version of The Hobbit is already one of the highest grossing films of 2012 and will no doubt eventually take its position as one of the most successful film trilogies ever made. I doubt they'll lose any sleep over the tickets I shan't be buying for parts two and three. But if you want to do your kids or grand-kids a big favour - read the book to them before they get to see the film - believe me, the pictures are far more various and colourful in a child's imagination.