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Tolkien and Dickens heirs team up for children's tale

Descendants of J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Dickens are working together to release two children's fantasy books, in a project that should be completed later this year.
Descendants of British authors J.R.R. Tolkien, left, and Charles Dickens are teaming up on a children's fantasy book project. (Associated Press)

Descendants of J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Dickens are working together to release two children's fantasy books, in a project that should be completed later this year.

Michael Tolkien, eldest grandson of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings author, first teamed up with Gerald Dickens, great-great grandson of the Oliver Twist writer, in 2010.

Actor Gerald Dickens, seen next to an image of his great-great grandfather Charles Dickens in 1999, will narrate the audiobook versions of Tolkien's stories. (Christopher Pfuhl/Associated Press)

A writer, poet and critic, Tolkien wanted to pay tribute to the children's fantasy tale The Rose-Coloured Wish, which follows two children who attempt to use an evil sorcerer's wishing stones to save their alpine home. It was published by Florence Bone in 1923.

His famed grandfather read the tale to him as a child and, in turn, he had read it to his own children. However, the story had long been neglected.

Tolkien self-published a revamped version of the original, under the title Wish, and enlisted actor Dickens to narrate the audiobook version.

"Wish is a timeless story which children will enjoy for years to come," Dickens said in a statement. "Michael Tolkien has brought it to life in narrative verse."

Thames River Press said in a statement it will publish both Wish and a second book titled Rainbow, which Tolkien has adapted from Bone's 1910 novel The Other Side of the Rainbow, later in 2012.