Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.
I don't know how many times i've read The Hobbit. maybe a dozen times? a few years ago i read a big illustrated version when i went home to my parents for a week, just because it was there. i know i have listened to the audiobook at least twice too. B and i were discussing childhood books and we both followed the same pattern: read The Hobbit and loved it, tried LOTR and couldn't understand it, then came back to LOTR a couple years later and loved it. The Hobbit is so accessible, especially to youngsters. Bilbo is small, not physically strong, who wants comfort and peace. Kids can relate to being underestimated and scared in a big bad world and seeing another small, scared person overcome makes you think maybe you can too. I love the ending. Most stories would end with the Battle of Five Armies ending, Bilbo being a hero and getting lots of treasure. Not this one though. Bilbo goes home. He returns to his journey's beginning, older and wiser, with treasures bigger than the gold in his sacks. Of course this is a 7.
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations.