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In 1946 Scholastic started publishing Practical English as a weekly magazine for schools to use for learning proper grammar, writing, and other communication skills. They usually have a main article of a few pages and other regular columns, along with quiz materials, and lots of advertisements and short articles targeting teens - for the issues seen from the mid-1960s, the magazines read like a combination of "Seventeen" or "Ms." magazine combined with a school english textbook.

In the March 17, 1967 issue of Practical English, the four page cover article is titled "Desirers of Dragons" (written in runes), written by Julia R. Piggin and illustrated by Tom Eaton. It is followed by the poem "Bilbo's Song" (from The Fellowship of the Ring) with a full page illustration also by Eaton.

The article covers (in typical teen-magazine depth) a bit of biography, publishing history, philosophy and background for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and some background on the Tolkien Society of America and Dick Plotz in particular.

Also illustrated in the article are "The Last Homely House East of the Sea", "Treebeard, Merry, Pippin", "Sauruman of Orthanc", "The Three Ancient Elf-Towers West of the Shire", "An Orc of Mordor", [Untitled - Frodo and Sam in Mordor approaching Mount Doom], and [Untitled - Tree in front of path to mountains - paired with "Bilbo's Song"].

The April 28, 1967 issue of Practical English, in the "Say What you Please" letter column, a few corrections to the article were printed. In addition, the editors provided a description of what was illustrated on the front cover (above) of the March issue.

"About the cover: The two at right are just two elves - the man wears the signs of the House of Feänor on his tunic. Tom Eaton says he thinks of elves with very dark gray eyes. The man with Éowyn is Aragorn, and the winged helm is worn by Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth."


Tom Eaton sadly passed away in 2016. After working at Scholastic for many years, he did illustrations for the Boy Scouts magazine Boys' Life for three decades.


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