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The Wee Free Men (Tiffany Aching) Mass Market Paperback – August 15, 2006
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“Wonderful language, genuinely scary explorations, and a young girl whose growing up is believable and exciting.” (The Chicago Tribune)
“An enthralling and rewarding read.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A glorious read.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Just the package to appeal to those who admire not just a brave heart but a quick comeback as well.” (The Horn Book (starred review))
“The Carnegie Medal winner’s fans will not be disappointed.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“The humor and the danger will appeal to Discworld fans and also readers who relish J. K. Rowling’s Harry.” (ALA Booklist)
“A lovely romp for Pratchett fans of all ages.” (Locus)
“Perfect for anyone who enjoys The Princess Bride and the works of Douglas Adams.” (starred review) (KLIATT)
From the Back Cover
A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side of reality . . .
Armed with only a frying pan and her common sense, young witch-to-be Tiffany Aching must defend her home against the monsters of Fairyland. Luckily she has some very unusual help: the local Nac Mac Feegle—aka the Wee Free Men—a clan of fierce, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men.
Together they must face headless horsemen, ferocious grimhounds, terrifying dreams come true, and ultimately the sinister Queen of the Elves herself. . . .
A Story of Discworld
- Lexile Measure : 680L
- Grade Level : 8 - 9
- Item Weight : 6.9 ounces
- Mass Market Paperback : 375 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060012382
- Product Dimensions : 6.68 x 4.34 x 1.08 inches
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060012380
- Publisher : HarperCollins (August 15, 2006)
- Reading level : 13 and up
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #411,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I’ve got to say, this was one of the best books I have read in a long time. The story is completely charming in itself, a young girl meets some little men with red hair, blue tattoos, wearing kilts, about 6 inches tall called Nac Mac Feegle or the Wee Free Men, and together they have to rescue her young brother. The characters are well developed and almost always entertaining and hilarious – for example her younger brother constantly asks for “sweeties”, the Wee Free Men speak in Scottish accents and say things like “Ah, crivens” and are generally good natured despite being thieves. The best part for me, however, were all the surprising references to other books and pop culture which I did not expect but always put a smile on my face. For example, Pratchett parodies Lord of the Rings with “See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers” and Braveheart with “They can tak’ oour lives but they canna tak’ our troousers!” There’s possibly even a Bushism from the early 2000s (this book was published in 2003, so would make sense).
The book was a very easy, very entertaining read. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the Tiffany Aching miniseries as well as perhaps starting in on the rest of the larger Discworld universe.
Tiffany Aching finds her family farm being invaded by monsters from dreams as well as a horde of little blue men, the titular Wee Free Men. Tiffany is very smart for her age and sees things as they are just like her grandmother, so when strange things pop up she uses an iron pan to beat them back. Although she later figures out that her grandmother was a witch, Tiffany has her first encounter with one in the form of Ms. Lick who tells her to be careful but not to tackle the problem on her own but when her brother is kidnapped by the Fairie Queen, Tiffany knows she’s going to need help while not sounding desperate. Tiffany’s help comes to her when the local clan of the Wee Free Men shows up looking for the new “hag ol’ the hills” because of the invasion of the Queen. Tiffany and the Wee Free Men invade ‘Fairyland’ and manage to return with her brother, a feat that Granny Weatherwax finds impressive for someone so young and untrained.
"The Wee Free Men" features Tiffany as the only point-of-view character, save from a narrator, which keeps the book fairly orderly when reading as well as being in line for a book for younger readers. The story itself is somewhat familiar for long time Discworld fans with the antagonist being the Queen of the Elves invading, but Pratchett changes things up with the use of dreams and the conflict as seen from a nine-year old. The cameo appearance of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg at the end, sets up further adventures of Tiffany and connects her subseries with the Witches subseries with the hopes of seeing favorite characters in future books.
The second young adult and first Tiffany subseries book of the Discworld canon is a fantastic book; "The Wee Free Men" gives someone new for long time fans while introducing older characters for younger new readers. While it’s intended for a younger audience, older fans will appreciate Pratchett’s humorous fantasy writing with his twists and turns.
In Wee Free Men, Pratchett starts from scratch and introduces us to a young shepherding girl named Tiffany, and takes us through her coming of age to her knowledge of exactly who she is. Along the way, he makes astute observations about the plight of humanity to live in a dream, and how Tiffany wakes up from that dream to become a power in her own right (a message we can all learn from). Pratchett's ability to insert profound wisdom into what might otherwise be just a fluffy fantasy story is one of his greatest strengths, and he accomplishes this while being entertaining and giving us a moving novel we continue to ponder after laying it down.
Wee Free Men carries a light tone throughout, though in places it can get a little dark. Regardless, the story is definitely rated for all ages as feels appropriate for young readers as well as older ones who just want a fun read.
The story itself follows a gifted 9-year-old girl who aspires to be a witch, though she knows nothing of magic. But she is wise and observant, which grants her many advantages and opportunities throughout her adventure. Aiding her are the Wee Free Men; a tribe of diminutive rough and tumble Scotsman-like fairies, who are as helpful as they are apt for causing trouble and hijinks.
Overall I found this to be a very enjoyable read with a tone and feel similar to Robert Aspirin's old Myth book series. And if you're new to the Diskworld series as I was, this is a good, clean place to jump on, despite the imposing book number this one carries.
Top reviews from other countries
In this paperback edition, the illustrations are by Laura Ellen Anderson, while the 2003 version is by Paul Kidby.
After watching "Terry Pratchett: Back in Black" (2017) film about the author, I decided I wanted to read his work.
I had never read this particular kind of literature and shame on me!
Terry Pratchett vocabulary is amazing, he plays with words, makes them musical.
Reading out loud this book was so easy and fun. Sometimes I had to stop 'cause I kept laughing.
The dialect of the Nac Mac Feegle is hilarious and you'll find yourself mimicking their way of cursing and threatening.
"Crivens! I kicked meself in ma ain heid!".
"We've got a cheap lawyer an' we're not afraid to use him!"
If you have children, read this story with them. Play with them, and fight the Queen with them.
I was searching a book with a strong girl with no frills that could be an example for our lil'woman and I'm so happy I discovered Tiffany Aching.
Tiffany has wit, resilience, humor, and likes books. She loves her grandma and that's an important bond that will help her during the entire book.
The Wee Free Men is followed by a second book "A hat full of Sky"(2004), a third "Wintersmith" (2006), a fourth "I Shall Wear Midnight" (2010) and a 5th and final book "The Shepherd's Crown".
Plenty to read and enjoy.
On a side note: The Jim Henson Company (the muppets, sesame streets, furchester hotel) has confirmed that there's a film in development. Be prepared!
This is my hands down favourite book on the whole planet. Nothing else even comes close. I have read my old hardback copy at least 20 times and it never gets old. This is the book that got me into reading and it will always be a timeless classic to me. Pratchett is a genius - if you want your kids to read just try it. It taught me innumerable life lessons as well! Who knew?
Anyway. I'm done gushing.
It's a fantastic book. I'd recommend it to anyone.