NyI mean funny ish Funny is so incredibly hard to do in books Or maybe it is just hard to make a book that I will think is actually funny instead of just clearly trying to be funny I almost never laugh when I read Other reviews of this book mention hearty belly aching guffaws streaming tears books uncontrollably flung into the air in spastic fits of mirthful glee Whereas I would ncounter one of Pratchett s many many puns or subtle off color jokes I would uote one but the book is already back at the library but they are well placed and will surely go right over a kid s head and my brain would go Hey that is clever That s funny Ha ha But meanwhile my face would look like this I don t know what is wrong with me I want to be one of those people who giggle snorts while reading on the subway I do laugh when I read funny blog posts or Goodreads reviews so I don t know what is going on The last time I remember laughing really hard at a book it was one small part of The Kid What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant by Dan Savage Terry Pratchett deserves a better reader than me because this is a funny book Tiffany Aching is the kind of girl you want your daughter to read about And your son he can read books with girls in them too In the course of discovering she is a witch and with the help of the titular Wee Free Men who are like drunken filthy mouthed Smurfs saving her little brother Labyrinth style she learns she is a strong and capable girl with her own identity and a link to past generations of powerful women This is clearly why the back of the book mentions Buffy the Vampire SlayerI said this was YA but aside from being light and asy to read it is also well considered and thoughtful and yes funny Probably Pictsies not PixiesWhile Terry Pratchett s 2003 Discworld STORY signifying that it is young adult book introduces the spunky and likable nine year old protagonist Tiffany Aching spawning four books the true heroes of this very njoyable adventure are the Nac Mac FeegleStanding six inches tall ginger bearded and blue tattooed the Wee Free Men are fearless profane in a YA approved package and like stealing drinking and fighting They are as hilarious as minions kick ass and have names like Rob Anybody Daft Wullie Big Aggie Wee Jock and No as big as Medium Sized Jock but bigger than Wee Jock JockRealizing that she sees the world differently than others Tiffany befriends the little people and gets sideways of the Elf ueen who has kidnapped her little brotherPratchett s humor and imagination mainstays of the Discworld The Lady in Pink experience are on full display and this is a great story to bootAnd it has wee pictsies I plan to use this book in the future as a strategic weapon for introducing my future hypothetical daughter to the world of Terry Pratchett s imagination Yes I see it as a gateway drug to fuel addiction to Sir Terry s writing And that s the addiction I m happy to perpetuateAfter all this book introduces Tiffany Aching whom I love to pieces and want to adopt to be my level headed and practical little sister Yes I m me I am careful and logical and I look up things I don t understand When I hear people use the wrong words I getdgy I am good with cheese I read books fast I think And I always have a piece of string That s the kind of person I am This book is written to be accessible to kids and adults alike since Pratchett does not stoop to the condescending and patronizing attitude that can Eyes easily plague the story written for ahem younger members of society No you see Pratchett seems to believe that intelligent young characters as well as intelligent young readers obviously are perfectly capable of following stories with several layers of complexity in them Zoologyh That s a big word isn t itNo actually it isn t said Tiffany Patronizing is a big word Zoology is really uite shortThis book is also uite accessible to those who are just starting their journey into the superficially magical but actually very firmly grounded in reality and not afraid to deal with uncomfortable issues and ask uncomfortable uestions world that Pratchett created And please don t be fooled that the action takes place on a flat planet traveling through space on the back of four lephants standing on a back of a giant space turtle the issues he writes about are uite applicable to the lives of people on a giant blue green ball hurtling through space while circling along the hot yellow SunIn The Wee Free Men nine year old Tiffany Aching a budding witch in a country that does not take kindly to witchcraft has her first ncounters with the supernatural world of Discworld Intelligent and reasonable and practical she takes it uite in stride and so when her world is threatened by the invasion of monsters from the not so nice fairy tales she firmly stands her ground armed with little but a frying pan analytical reasoning common sense and Third Thoughts And Tiffany thought No that was a Third Thought I m thinking about how I think about what I m thinking At least I think so and supported by a rowdy clan of the Mac Nag Feegle the titular Wee Free Men a race of blue skinned six inch tall pesky warriors who speak in vaguely Scottish dialect and are terrified of the Sinner's Heart evil also known as Lawyers Another world is colliding with this one said the toad There Happy now That s what Miss Tick thinks But it s happening faster than shexpected All the monsters are coming back Why There s no one to stop them There was silence for a moment There s me said Tiffany In this book Pratchett creates ually memorable settings that are polar opposites of ach other On one hand we have The Chalk a land of green hills that are suited for shepherding and populated by sturdy rural folk that do not take kindly to things like witchcrafting Ordinary fortune tellers tell you what you want to happen witches tell you what s going to happen whether you want it to or not Strangely Spirit of the Wolf enough witches tend to be accurate but less popular In fact they d prefer to burn witches for little less than the suspicion of being one You see most people there unlike Tiffany do not stop to think about what they re doing and why they re doing it But Tiffany is not the one to go along with the crowd thinking without stopping to think for herself and uestion her motives and reasonsOn the other side of Tiffany s reality there is the Fairie a surreal dream like place and when I say dream like I m referring not to the warm fluffy place of children s book but the dreams from which you wake up screaming and covered in sweat This is a dream after all Tiffany told herself It doesn t have to make sense or be nice It s a dream not a daydream People who say things like May all your dreams come true should try living in one for five minutes But nothing in this fantastical and yet horrifying world isver prepared for Tiffany with her logical mind and common sense and fierce desire to protect anything that is hers Yes I m me I am careful and logical and I look up things I don t understand Inst 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 wieldi.
Usually I m at a loss when it comes to Christmas gifts I don t like to give articles of clothing and gift cards feel too impersonal I get by with the occasional bottle of perfume compilation album or with some silly toy but this year I think I ve stumbled on a real gem I bought The Wee Free Men because it is by Pratchett and because it says on the back cover the heroine is nine year s old Turns out is is one of the very best in the whole Discworld catalogue one of the funniest but also one of sir Terry s most serious and heart warming offerings Like the best of Pixar movies it should appeal to youngsters and grown ups A Vineyard Christmas eually And I have to buy a second copy for a gift in order to keep the one I read for myselfAnother bonus is that readers unfamiliar with the Discworld setting should have no problems starting right here The uality of the writing is much improved compared to some of thearly books in the series the location is new The Chalk is an isolated corner of the flat world concerned almost xclusively with sheep farming and the lead character Tiffany Aching makes her debut here I believe the pictsies they re NOt the same thing as pixies also show up here for the first time although they may have had a walk in guest appearance in some arlier storyThe book is about witches friends in need family dreams It is also about self awareness self determination and courage regardless of the size or age of the protagonist Last but not least because we re talking about Terry Pratchett here it is also about the humorous subversion of popular myths and concepts like the cute sparkly and benevolent fairies and about thinking outside the boxCrivens I should probably cut the generalities and be specific Young sheepfarmer daughter Tiffany comes from a very old family in the Chalk a place that seemes almost frozen in time unchanging in its traditions and occupations since times immemorial She helps around the farm reads dictionaries from start to finish nobody told her she s not supposed to babysits her sticky I Want Candy younger brother Wentworth and likes to tickle trout in the nearby stream in her leisure time Problems arise when another world touches on the real one opening magical portals and letting various monsters and horrors pass through Tiffany deals with the first ones summarily Remember Tangled and the iron frying pan but things get really serious when her brother Wenthworth goes missing To rescue him Tiffany must go into the magical world beyond the gate where the ueen of Fairyland rules through the power of dreams Luckily for her some unexpected allies with a talent for breaking ntering where they re not supposed to show up They are the Nac Mac Feegles Also known as pictsies They call themselves the Wee Free Men There were hundreds They rose up from behind buckets They lowered themselves on string from the ceiling beams They sidled sheepishly from behind the cheese racks They crept from under the sink They came out of places where you d think a man with hair like an orange nova couldn t possibly hideThey were all about six inches tall and mostly colored blue although it was hard to know if that was the actual color of their skins or just the dye from their tattoos which covered very inch that wasn t covered with red hair They wore short kilts and some wore other bits of clothing too like skinny vests A few of them wore rabbit or rat skulls on their heads as a sort of helmet And very single one of them carried slung across his back a sword nearly as big as he was They like stealing drinking and fighting and use their heads only as battering rams on their adversaries They speak a delightful variant of Scottish brogue We is no strangers to the piscatorial an nautical arts ye ken and have twee little names like Rob Anything or Not as big as Medium Sized Jock but bigger than Wee Jock Jock The pictsies may be an unruly undependable amoral drunken mob with volatile tempers but they are good to have by your side in a fight Here are some xamples of their warrior cries They can tak oour lives but they canna tak oour troousersYe ll tak the high road an I ll tak yer walletThere can be only one t ousandAch stick it up yer trakkansNae King Nae uin Nae Laird Nae master We wilna be fooled again My favorite of the bunch is Daft Wullie who never thinks before he opens his mouth and whose candor about the illegal activities of the pictsies provided many laughs along the journey In contrast to Daft Wullie Tiffany has some abilities that make her a very special young girl She thinks carefully before comitting herself to speak she cares about her flock and her people she s good with her hands Most of all she is inuisitive the best kind of kids one of those that are forever asking uestions and are curious about the surrounding world Apparently these are all the necessary ualifications to become a witch only nobody can tell her where to apply to go to witch school All she can do is stare hard at people at the world around her at the problems facing her Tiffany s Second Thoughts said Hang on was that a First ThoughtAnd Tiffany thought No that was a Third Thought I m thinking about how I think about what I m thinking At least I think soHer Second Thoughts said Let s all calm down please because this is uite a small head I almost forgot about another magical helper that the girl receives from a visiting older witch Miss Tick namely a sarcastic talking toad cursed by an angry fairy godmother for injuries undisclosed at the start of the novel view spoiler he s a lawyer hide spoiler Tiffany Aching aged nine is the only member of her large family with a jot of curiosity about the outside world For generations without counting the Achings also spelled Aikens Archens or Akins have tended sheep in the Discworld backwater known as the Chalk Nothing interesting has happened in the Chalk for all of recorded history But that s about to change A parasitic fae world made of selfish magic and dream fragments is connecting to the Chalk Monsters not seen in centuries are dropping up in fields and rivers Tiffany is the only human aware of them and thus the only defense against themSo when Tiffany s perpetually sticky candy obsessed toddler brother Wentworth is left unattended for a few minutes and abducted by the cruel and selfish Faerie ueen pronounced uin by most of our cast only Tiffany can save him She finds allies in the Nac Mac Feegle a cheerfully violent tribe of six inch high blue skinned brigands with thick Scottish burrs and a talking toad view spoilerwho was once a human lawyer hide spoiler This was my first Terry Pratchett book If you a looking for a way into his Discworld series which is at last count 1 million books long you could do worse It s a totally separate story arc It s the first of a shorter sub series giving you someplace to go if you like it It s YA so it goes down asy It stars a creative capable heroine and is in no way about her love of boys which is always refreshing still still this is refreshing And it s fun. A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side of realityArmed with only a frying pan and her common sense young witch to be Tiffany Aching must defend her home aga.
Hen I hear people use the wrong words I get dgy I am good with cheese I read books fast I think And I always have a piece of string That s the kind of person I amThe best thing about Tiffany Aching a budding witch in the country that does not approve of witchcraft is her propensity to uestion things and information that others take for granted She bases her conclusions on Math Basics 6 evidence and is able to think and reason intelligently Not too many young literary heroines have actually shown this abilityven though some of them claim they have For this alone I want to give her a huge bear hug and invite her to sleepovers with my future hypothetical daughter And all the stories had somewhere the witch The wicked old witchAnd Tiffany had thought Where s the Voyage to the Underworld (Star Wars Missions, evidenceThe stories never said why she was wicked It wasnough to be an old woman The First Ghost enough to be all alonenough to look strange because you had no teeth It was nough to be called a witchIf it came to that the book never gave you the vidence of anything It talked about a handsome prince was he really or was it just because he was a prince that people called him handsome As for a girl who was as beautiful as the day was long well which day In midwinter it hardly Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!: 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential ever got light The stories didn t want you to think they just wanted you to believe what you were toldAnyway she preferred the witches to the smug handsome princes andspecially to the stupid smirking princesses who didn t have the sense of a beetle She couldn t be the prince and she d never be a princess and she didn t want to be a woodcutter so she d be the witch and know things Yes this is my favorite thing about Tiffany she wants to be a witch because she wants to know things Just think about it how awesome is it Isn t it the opposite of what popular culture tries to teach young girls to be pretty princesses just waiting for the Prince Charming Open your yes and then open your yes again The thing about witchcraft said Mistress Weatherwax is that it s not like school at all First you get the test and then afterward you spend years findin out how you passed it It s a bit like life in that respect Tiffany has a highly logical and practical mind She stops to think about things She is reasonable and level headed She is fiercely protective of the things she loves And she is awesome She is the role model Humanism every young girl should have She is what I hope to be on a daily basis and unfortunately I keep miserably failing at that Oh and did I mention that she is wickedly smart She d read the dictionary all the way through No one told her you weren t supposed to and has a strong sense of justice and fairness After all her worldview was influenced by her legendary shepherdess grandmother perhaps a bit a a witch herself who I think could be a soul sister of Granny Weatherwax and Tiffany has internalized her grandmother s philosophy uite well Them as can do has to do for them as can t And someone has to speak up for them as has no voicesFrom her first action of smacking the supernatural invader with a frying pan after carefully and thoroughly planning out her defense of course to her final act of saving her little corner of the universe Tiffany manages to be an awesome role model for girlsverywhere sharp intelligent critically thinking resourceful and never in the need of saving as well as remaining a very believable nine year old girl both selfish and selfless at the same time both brave and frightened sweet and prickly and curious determined and fiercely protective of what s hers And she can stretch the definition of HERS pretty far the knack that her world should be thankful for All witches are selfish the ueen had said But Tiffany s Third Thoughts said Then turn selfishness into a weapon Make all things yours Make other lives and dreams and hopes yours Protect them Save them Bring them into the sheepfold Walk the gale for them Keep away the wolf My dreams My brother My family My land My world How dare you try to take these things because they are mineAt the Smokin' Hot end of her adventure Tiffany does something that not that many heroines of books aimed at younger people do she genuinely grows up gains some maturity that is amazing and yet sad at the same time sad because it s always a part of themotions I feel when realizing that someone is slowly losing their childhood innocence bit by bit changing from a child to someone with responsibility and your age really has little bearing on whether you are an adult after all She no longer is just a little girl she is a girl armed with knowledge and power with which of course apparently comes great responsibility and she takes it on with the same uiet resignation and determination as she does anything Placing Memory else I ll never be like this again she thought as she saw the terror in the ueen s face I ll never again feel as tall as the sky and as old as the hills and as strong as the sea I ve been given something for a while and the price of it is that I have to give it backAnd the reward is giving it back too No human could live like this You could spend a day looking at a flower to see how wonderful it is and that wouldn t get the milking done No wonder we dream our way through our lives To be awake and see it all as it really isno one could stand that for long Wonderful Tiffany art by Iberghol and JazzySatinDoll The secret is not to dream she whispered The secret is to wake up Waking up is harder I have woken up and I am real I know where I come from and I know where I m going You cannot fool me any Or touch me Or anything that is mine This book is anasy 5 star read I adore it and will definitely sneak it onto the future hypothetical to read pile for my future hypothetical daughter She d never really liked the book It seemed to her that it tried to tell her what to do and what to think Don t stray from the path don t open that door but hate the wicked witch because she is wicked Oh and believe that shoe size is a good way of choosing a wife A lot of the stories were highly suspicious in her opinion There was the one that nded when the two good children pushed the wicked witch into her own oven Tiffany had worried about that after all that trouble with Mrs Snapperly Stories like this stopped people thinking properly she was sure She d read that one and thought Excuse me No one has an oven big nough to get a whole person in and what made the children think they could just walk around ating people s houses in any case And why does some boy too stupid to know a cow is worth a lot than five beans have the right to murder a giant and steal all his gold Not to mention commit an act of cological vandalism And some girl who can t tell the difference between a wolf and her grandmother must Wanton Nights either have been as dense as teak or come from anxtremely ugly family The stories weren t real But Mrs Snapperly had died because of stories My While My Soldier Serves everxpanding collection of Pratchett s Discworld reviews Guards Guards Men at Arms Thud Lords and Ladies The Wee Free Men Hogfather Monstrous Regiment. Ng six inch high blue menTogether they must face headless horsemen ferocious grimhounds terrifying dreams come true and ultimately the sinister ueen of the Elves hersel.
Born Terence David John Pratchett Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen which earned him enough money to buy a second hand typewriter His first novel a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels i