Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Wee Free Men

Title:               The Wee Free Men
Category:       Fantasy
Grade:            10-14
Author:          Terry Pratchett
Publisher:       HarperCollins
Place:              New York
Date:               2003
Pages:             263

Nine-year-old Tiffany’s family has lived in the hills of Chalk country for as long as they can remember.  For as long as she can remember, she’s wanted to be a witch.  Unknown to Tiffany, she is a witch, and will soon be called upon to use all her powers to rescue her sticky little brother from the Queen of the Elves.  Fortunately, she is not alone, as the wee free men, the Nac Mac Feegle, have befriended her and are ready to come to her aid… when they can stop drinking, fighting and looting, that is.  Armed with her frying pan, her friends, and the wisdom of her Granny Aching, Tiffany ventures through the gate into the Queen’s world, discovering creatures straight out of her nightmares, and also creatures that could put her into new nightmares.  As the tricks of the Queen grow more devious, Tiffany rescues another missing boy, Roland, but fails to save her brother.  Ultimately, she must face the Queen alone on the border of the real and the magical to bring her brother home. 

The book is told in high fantasy style, although far more readable than most high fantasy; however, its landscape and language can be jarring for non-fantasy readers, who will not care for it.  The story is told in an offbeat, humorous tone that makes it accessible for younger teens, tweens and even upper elementary students, and of course, the child hero uses her common sense, her bond with her family and her own powers of observation to save the day.

Discworld is a bit confusing to me, as I had understood this series to be sometimes classified as adult fantasy, yet have a hard time even classing it fully as teen literature.  Wee Free Men was a decent book, and fortunately, no prior knowledge of Discworld was required to read this story and enjoy it; it is capable of standing alone.  I would not exactly classify this as a children’s book, but many teens may be put off by the extreme youth of the heroine and the simple, magical plot elements.  It does not contain a lot for contemporary teens to relate to, either in plot, characterization, or theme, and the extreme fantasy setting will be off-putting to teens who do not love the genre.  Nevertheless, for teens who do truly enjoy fantasy, this book is a decent addition, easy to read, and putting it down does result in the “I wonder what happens; I guess I’ll keep reading” feeling. 


Post a Comment


A Weaving of Words Blog Layout is designed by productive dreams Bloggerized by Blogger Template © 2009