The Lowdown

Mixed Media

It Begins: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of Peter Jackson’s three-part film version of the popular Tolkien novel, hits theaters December 14. (Warner Bros.)

Mother Mary: Lee Bennett Hopkins’s picture book Mary’s Song gives children a look at the Christmas story from the loving mother’s point of view. (Eerdmans)

More Music: Christmas albums are popping up everywhere—you might like Christmas: God with Us by Jeremy Camp (EMI), JOY by Steven Curtis Chapman (Provident), or Christmas by Francesca Battistelli (Fervent).

Fish Tales: The Lure is William J. Vande Kopple’s second collection of stories centered on “families, fishing, and faith.” (Eerdmans)