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The Wee Free Men (Tiffany Aching) Mass Market Paperback – August 15, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Tiffany, a 9-year-old witch must save the world with the assistance of a herd of drunken angry red-headed six-inch-tall kilt-wearing Scottish fairies, who bear names like "Slightly Bigger Than Wee Jock But Not So Big as Middle-Sized Jock Jock" and "Rob Anybody."
The book is hysterically, laugh-out-loud funny for both younger and adult readers (my family looked at me funny as I was giggling the whole time I was reading it.) Although a girl is the hero, the rambunctious troublemaking Feegles will make the book highly appealing for boys (of all ages) as well.
It's actually serious in intent, though, with themes reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time or The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe series (the villain is a Queen who distorts people's consciousnesses and leaves a trail of frozen weather everywhere she goes). Tiffany saves the world through strength of character and common sense (and hooray for those!) rather than with magic alone.
As much as we liked Harry Potter around our house, I think that Wee Free Men is the equal of any of the Potter books. The best "kid" fiction of the year (or longer).
Nine year old Tiffany Aching was born on The Chalk. The Achings have lived on The Chalk and tended their sheep for centuries. Tiffany's grandmother was the matriarch of the Aching clan, and while she never called herself a witch, she never denied it, either. Tiffany is still trying to adjust to the death of her grandmother, and to the birth of her sticky little brother, Wentworth, when she is attacked by a monster out of Faerie. One thing leads to another, and before long she must rescue her brother from Faerie, be the kelda of the Nac Mac Feegle, the Wee Free Men of the title, and save the world from the terrors of Faerie. Because there is no one else.
One of Pratchett's many skills is inversion. In "Amazing Maurice," he inverted the Pied Piper of Hamlin. In "Wee Free Men," he inverts children's fairy tales in general. Instead of a magic sword, Tiffany has a plain old iron frying pan. Instead of a wise mentor, she has a toad who used to be a lawyer. Instead of an army, she has the Nac Mac Feegle. The Queen of Faerie, Tiffany's antagonist, is about as far from a noble Tolkien elf as you can get. Because the Queen of Faery has the power to steal your dreams, your worst nightmares, and trap you inside them.
And Tiffany must confront the Queen on her own ground, in the land of nightmares, where the monsters are terrifying and real. You don't have to reflect very long to understand Pratchett is working at several levels. The themes are meaningful and accessible to children without the slightest condescension.Read more ›
While the Nac Mac Feegle (the Wee Free Men last seen in "Carpe Jugulum"), little woad-tattooed Pictsies, do feature in a large chunk of the book, the heroine is Tiffany, a nine-year-old witch's granddaughter and budding witch herself who must be the singularly most sensible (but still likeable) character I've ever read in a book directed at an audience less than 18 years old. She struggles to cope with the death of a grandmother who, even though she died more than a year ago, has still had a huge impact on her life. She also struggles with making sense of the world - both as a young girl and as a human being, and she struggles with the Queen of the Elves/Fairies (last seen in "Lords and Ladies") in what becomes a metaphor for maturity and clarity in a large, scary world. Pratchett's moral is that just because you're not yet officially an adult, it doesn't mean that you can't understand the world any less well. This is a theme he's played with before, but it's always appropriate no matter how many times he brings it out.
As a huge Discworld fan, I really enjoyed this book - possibly even more than "The Amazing Maurice...", although it's probably not at quite the same level of literary excellence as his previous work.Read more ›
Anyone who has read even one or two of Pratchett's books (I read the book before I bought the CD) marvels at the sub plots, the message, the moral -- and this book does not disappoint. Many times, I set down the book (pushed the pause button) and just contemplated what I was hearing. Marvelous.
Stephen Briggs, the narrator, does a great job doing the voices of Tiffany, the Queen, the Nac Mac Feegle. He has the ability to keep the characters separate in my mind as I listen to the CD. When he switched from narration to dialogue it did not interrupt the flow of the story. This CD was worth every cent!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the first in a very long time that I've had to send back an order to Amazon. The book wasn't a hard bound in the true sense of one but a paperback that had been given a... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Mama Otter
We all have dreams. They often have some relationship with our world, but things are a little (or sometimes a lot) "off." But where do the dreams stop, and "reality" begin? Read morePublished 7 days ago by Alan Mills
The Tiffany Aching series has quickly become one of my favorite series, and one that I will read multiple times. I loved these books!Published 7 days ago by Carolyn St. Mary
Love this book! This is my favorite DiscWorld novel. It's a kid's book, but I still love it as an adult. So did my friends' nine-year old. Read morePublished 1 month ago by photodad
Fans of adventure, magic, fantasy, and heroes that solve problems by being smart and sensible will love the book.
Everybody else will probably love it, too.
I really love The Discworld books. Terry Pratchett manages to include just enough adventure and humor to make each one engrossing.Published 1 month ago by C. Simmons
I've beat reading Pratchett's novels almost since he began writing them, and have been amazed at his evolution. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eric GoBraugh