Monday, February 11, 2008

Small in size, but not in spirit

Nine-year-old Tiffany, a farm girl who is a whiz at making cheese, is minding her own business one day when she sees some extremly tiny blue men in a little boat-basket on the river. They give her some sort of warning that something bad is coming, and off they run. Then a creature with long sharp teeth, a thin face and enormous eyes briefly emerges from the river, and Tiffany feels she must do something about it. She runs home, consults a book of fairytales, and returns to the river with a large iron skillet. Using her sticky little brother as bait (she's resented the whiny little guy since he was born, and she figures she'll save him from danger anyway), she lures the creature from the river, whacks it with the pan, and sends it running.

From then on the little blue men seem to pop up everywhere, and for some reason they appear to hold her in awe - although she can't figure out why they keep calling her a hag. Tiffany decides to barter some vegetables and go to "school," a place with a collection of tents where people of varying degrees of knowledge swap lessons for food. There she meets Miss Tick, a witch who tells her a little bit about what is going on - but not nearly enough. Before Tiffany can learn much at all about being a witch, her little brother disappears. Tiffany discovers that her little stunt with the river monster brought him to the attention of the Queen of Faerie, and when he is kidnapped, Tiffany must pool all her slim resources to bring her sticky baby brother back. Luckily, she has a little help from a mischievous group of rabble-rousing, alcohol-swilling little blue men.

I think it's safe to say that any book by Terry Pratchett is worth reading, and this one is no exception. I enjoyed Tiffany's stubborness and resourcefulness (but I couldn't help but marvel at her mature self-possession and cunning - she appeared a bit young to speak and act the way she did), and the Mac Nac Feegle (little blue men) were a hoot. There is humor, but there is also warmth and emotion, and I rooted for Tiffany the whole way through. This one is definitely to be recommended.

Wee Free Men is in film production now, due to be released in 2010. That should be a lot of fun!

The Tiffany Aching series (part of the larger Discworld series):

  1. The Wee Free Men
  2. A Hat Full of Sky
  3. Wintersmith
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (HarperTrophy, 2003)

Other blog reviews:
Adventures in Reading
Bella Reviews
Hot Books for Teens and Tweens
A Wasteless Chase of Time

6 comments:

  1. This is one of my favourite of Terry's books, and you know how much I love Terry. I'm glad you enjoyed it too :)

    Tiffany really is wise beyond her years, but in the next books in the series you really see her acting like a pre-teen, which provides a nice balance.

    I didn't know when the movie was coming, all I'd heard about it were rumours. I'll be looking forward to it!

    I LOVE that cover, btw. Normally I prefer the UK covers of his books, but that one is just great!

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  2. I can't belive I haven't read this one yet! Must get to it. I just loved his Bromeliad trilogy.

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  3. Lol! I love the title! I bet it will make a cute movie :o)

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  4. Nymeth - It was a small quibble, really, about Tiffany's age - I found myself imagining her to be twelve or so, and it wasn't until the end of the book that her age was mentioned again, and it surprised me a bit. I'm very much looking foward to the next book, which will be my first official book for the Mythopoeic challenge (thanks for mentioning that it was the sequel to this one!). I like this cover, too - mine had a different one, but I picked this instead because I liked it more!

    Nicola - I haven't read the Bromeliad trilogy yet - he's written so many books that it's hard to get to them all! It's nice, though, just knowing that they're out there, waiting, isn't it?

    Ladytink - I think you'd get a kick out of this - it was a great vacation read. I'm definitely looking foward to the movie - I hope they manage to keep the same feeling as the book.

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  5. I am really looking forward to reading this later this year and your review has helped bump it up the list a little thanks!

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  6. Rhinoa - it was a very fun read - and I just picked up the sequel, A Hat Full of Sky, so I can read more about Tiffany's adventures and those hilarious little blue men. I'll be looking forward to your review when you get to it!

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