I have been thinking about the reasons I liked the hobbit when I was a child. One reason is the very cool maps of Middle Earth. I enjoyed following the character's travels along these maps while reading the story. I remember doing this with Lord of the Rings also.
The other thing that I really liked as a kid were hidden things that could only be discovered by being in the right place at the right time. An example is the Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indiana had to take a staff with some sort of crystal attached to the top of it to a certain place at a certain time. Light from sun passed through the crystal and pointed the way to the ark. For some reason, I love that stuff!
"Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's day will shine upon the keyhole."
Bilbo figures this one out when he sees a bird (thrush) knocking a small shell onto a rock. The light from the sun then illuminates a keyhole on the rock face. The key to open the door actually came with the map from the beginning of our story so the whole thing comes full circle.