The Wee Free Men Library Binding – Jun 1 2004
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When you have an author as good as Terry Pratchett writing for children, you expect that the result will be a novel of great invention, assured comic timing and a generally all-round highly readable fantasy tour de force. Readers of The Wee Free Men will not be disappointed. After winning the prestigious Carnegie Medal award for his previous story of Discworld for younger readers, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, Pratchett has followed up with another irresistibly entertaining adventure.
Miss Perspicacia Tick, a witch of some renown, is worried about a ripple in the walls of the universe--probably another world making contact. Which is not good. This errant activity is centred on some chalk country--where traditionally good witches simply do not grow well. Fortunately, Miss Tiffany Aching of Home Farm on The Chalk, nine years old, misunderstood and yearning for excitement, wants to be a witch and has just proved herself to be of great potential by whacking a big Green Monster from the river with a huge frying pan while using her annoying younger brother as bait. Miss Tick is impressed. So, after travelling to the chalky downs at once and dispensing some stop gap advice to Tiffany about holding the fort until she gets back with more help, Miss Tick is off.
Any hesitation Tiffany may have had about the seriousness of the situation expires when the Queen of the fairies kidnaps her younger brother. With the help of a talking frog, loaned by Miss Tick, and an army of thieving, warmongering, nippy, boozy wee free men called the Nac Mac Feegle (who used to work for the Queen but rebelled), Tiffany sets off rescue her kin.
There's humour at every turn, and the situations that follow are both wonderfully dramatic and preposterously unreal. Pratchett really is the master of his genre and it's difficult to imagine a more entertaining read. (Age 10 and over) --John McLay --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-7-Tiffany, an extremely competent nine-year-old, takes care of her irritating brother, makes good cheese on her father's farm, and knows how to keep secrets. When monsters from Fairyland invade her world and her brother disappears, Tiffany, armed only with her courage, clear-sightedness, a manual of sheep diseases, and an iron frying pan, goes off to find him. Her search leads her to a showdown with the Fairy Queen. It is clear from the beginning that Tiffany is a witch, and a mighty powerful one. The book is full of witty dialogue and a wacky cast of characters, including a toad (formerly a lawyer). Much of the humor is supplied by the alcohol-swilling, sheep-stealing pictsies, the Wee Free Men of the title, who are six-inches high and speak in a broad Scottish brogue. (The fact that readers will not understand some of the dialect won't matter, as Tiffany doesn't understand either, and it is all part of the joke.) These terrors of the fairy world are Tiffany's allies, and she becomes their temporary leader as they help her search for the Fairy Queen. Once the story moves into Fairyland it becomes more complex, with different levels of dream states (or, rather, nightmares) and reality interweaving. Tiffany's witchcraft eschews the flamboyant tricks of wizards; it is quiet, inconspicuous magic, grounded in the earth and tempered with compassion, wisdom, and justice for common folk. Not as outrageous and perhaps not as inventive as The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (HarperCollins, 2001), The Wee Free Men has a deeper, more human interest and is likely to have wider appeal. All in all, this is a funny and thought-provoking fantasy, with powerfully visual scenes and characters that remain with readers. A glorious read.
Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
A nine-year-old girl on a quest is vulnerable. Tiffany, however, doesn't lack allies and support. The first is inexplicable, the second is indefinable. Her allies are a horde of small, blue-tattooed warriors - the Pictsies, the Nac Mac Feegle. Their traditions run to brawling, sheep-stealing and taking a "wee nip" when opportunity presents itself. They're expressive - in Pratchett's hands that means hilarious bits of dialogue, reasoning, philosophy and common sense. Above all, is their insistence on freedom. They've known a monarch, and they detest her. They also fear the power of the written word and lawyers. They're not alone in that.
Tiffany's support is in the memory of her gran. Granny Aching lived alone on the Chalk. She was quiet, but powerful. As a shepherdess, she knew the ways of sheep and nature. She could confront powerful people, achieving success with minimal effort. No curse can match the potency of a quietly spoken expression: "There'll be a reckoning". Granny's at the edge of much of Tiffany's thinking. She instills in Tiffany a sense of value: "Speak out for those with no voice". Is her memory enough to give Tiffany strength against the Pictsies' arch enemy, the "Quin"?
As usual, Pratchett delivers more than he promises.Read more ›
Tiffany sets off on an adventure in a dream world--a world where your dreams can hurt you, and where other being's dreams can hurt you even more. The Queen is the mistress of dreams--and nightmares. In her kingdom, and increasingly in the mundane world that Tiffany comes from, nightmare monsters are loose. Even the wee free men cannot stand against them.
Author Terry Pratchett starts with a simple fairy tale--the poor shepherd girl facing the evil Queen, and dresses it with multiple layers of meaning. At the simplest level, WEE FREE MEN is an adventure that twists many of the established rules of the fairy tale (the witches are the goodguys, the beautiful Queen is evil, and the baron's son is purely incompetent). Dig deeper and every detail had weight. The Wee Men are funny with their Scottish accents and willingness to fight, but they are also a bit sad and more especially, a good example for all of us. Like us, they've been fooled before. Unlike most of us, they are willing to fight to prevent it from happening again.
Tiffany, armed with her frying pan and with instructions to open her eyes, then open them again, is unusually clever for a nine-year-old, but then she is the hero.Read more ›
Tiffany Aching, the book's heroine, is nine years old and lives on a farm in the Chalk. She has six older sisters, one younger brother (the permanently sticky Wentworth) and is very good with cheese. Throughout the book, it's clear she idolised her Granny Aching, who died when Tiffany was seven. Granny was a shepherdess, an expert on sheep, very fond of Jolly Sailor tobacco and - Tiffany suspects - a witch. Remembering how Granny always said it was important to speak up for those who have no voice, Tiffany has decided she wants to be a witch as well.
As it turns out, Tiffany is the witch Miss Tick's elbow sensed and has the gifts of First Sight and Second Thoughts. Miss Tick is also correct about two worlds colliding - Fairyland, ruled by the Queen, is running into the Discworld. Fairyland is where dreams come true, which isn't quite as pleasant as you might think - nightmares, after all, also count as dreams. Worse yet, after having "rescued" Wentworth from Jenny Green-Teeth, thanks to an expertly delivered frying-pan to the face, Wentworth is kidnapped by the Queen. Tiffany feels it's up to herto rescue him and bring him home.
The stars of the book, however, are the Wee Free Men. Also known as the Nac Mac Feegle, they were thrown out of Fairyland for being drunk, disorderly and rebelloius.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I've read this book previously. This time I bought it to read to my kids, and they really enjoy it.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Gorgeous collectible and rare illustrated Terry Pratchett book. If you have the chance to buy it don't hesitate it is so worth it. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sarah Amy Jaima
I love this one so much i'v all ready read 18 books of this series of disc world it such great humor i can't wait to own more of these series.Published 14 months ago by Tania
This is the first Pratchett book I ever read, and I enjoyed it so much that I proceeded to read all of his other Discworld books. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2012 by Amazon Customer
this was a very good book and a very good and smart purchase on my part. i liked it alot and i would recommend it. good shipping and customer service as wellPublished on Nov. 8 2011 by Zannate21
Terry Pratchett has created a world of magic, humor, and characters that are engaging and down to earth. I love the mac nac feegles, otherwise know as wee free men. Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2010 by elizabeth reads
Disc World, little blue men, a girl named Tiffany Aching who makes cheeses,good ones too. What more can you want in a Terry Pratchett story? Read morePublished on April 14 2009 by William A. Stonier
My three kids, husband and I loved it. The narration was superb and the story a fun trip. We laughed throughout the CD and have recommended it to anyone who stood still. Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2005
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