The Wee Free Men
reviewed by Jerry Wright
The Wee Free Men|
Author: Terry Pratchett
Hardback: April, 2003
What do I say about Terry Pratchett that hasn't already been said? The fellow is a master stylist and fabulist, and is well deserving of the recognition, and even awards, that he has been given. He received the Carnegie Medal for Maurice And His Educated Rats, a fascinating take on the "Pied Piper" legend, only set in Discworld, and now he continues his writings for young readers with The Wee Free Men, and its sequel A Hat Full Of Sky, which I haven't read yet, but will shortly.
The Wee Free Men won the "The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Award" for 2003, so it too is an award-winning book. So much for that. What of the story?
Tiffany Aching is 9 years old, from a family of shepherds living on "the Chalk" and dreaming about being a witch like her grandmother probably was. Tiffany's mom, right from the beginning, must be a bit strange, for she named her 6th daughter Tiffany and her little brother is named Wentworth. And she is not quite sure if she will be able to grown into aname like Tiffany.
Anyway, shortly after we meet Tiffany, we meet the Nac Mac Feegle, six inch high fairyfolk who were kicked out of fairlyland for being drunk and disorderly and who first appeared in the "Adult" Discworld book Feet Of Clay in the person of "Wee Mad Arthur". They are described as being blue, but that isn't totally true as their skin, where not covered by a kilt, is covered with tattoos and woad msking them look blue. They also have red hair and speak in a strong Scottish accent. They are pictsies (a combo of picts and pixies) and even trolls know to leave them alone.
But I ramble. This is a great story. There are lessons on responsibility, as well as not letting expectations of others be a limiting factor. Oh theres lots of meat in the broth that is The Wee Free Men. The books stands on its own easily, but for those who have read other Discworld books, the various asides dealing with characters and places we know just increase the enjoyment. I'm looking forward the next Terry Pratchett book, and in the meantime, have Hatful of Sky on order. Ahhhh Terry.
Copyright © 2004, Jerry Wright and Bewildering Stories