In 1925, the Tolkien family took a vacation at the beach, where four-year-old Michael lost his favorite object, a tiny toy dog. So to console him, father J.R.R. improvised the tale of a dog magically transformed into a toy. The story was rejected by Tolkien's publisher in 1937 and has lain neglected ever since. With good reason. It tells of young and impolite puppy Rover, who bites the wizard Artaxerxes's trousers; as a punishment, the wizard transforms him into a toy. Deposited in a toyshop, Rover is bought by a boy named Two, who loses the dog on a beach; but soon Rover meets Psamathos the sand-sorcerer. Psamathos sends Rover off on the back of Mew the gull to visit the Man-in-the-Moon. But the Man-in- the-Moon already has a moon-dog named Rover, so our Rover becomes Roverandom. Yessir, this is real edge-of-the-seat stuff. After various cutesy doings, Roverandom learns that Artaxerxes has taken a job under the sea, so he rides inside Uin the Right Whale to plead with Artaxerxes to change him back into a real dog. Which, after more fluffy bits--yes, there's a mer-dog named Rover--the wizard does, and Roverandom returns to Two. Even for Tolkien scholars, these are awfully thin bones to pick over.