(Discworld Novel 30) (Discworld series) - The Wee Free Men

By Terry Pratchett

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Wonderfully rich writing, so hilarious, and wonderful insights.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joel gayton
I was strictly a Vimes fan until this book now i know Every Pratchett book is better than the last
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
danielle katzner
Great book. Good pictures. Lousy sticker.

The book came with an the store barcode sticker on it, covering up the ISBN barcode. This would've been OK if it were a quality sticker, like Borders uses at retail; but it was a cheap sticker, which has left nasty crud behind. If I ever see one of these stickers on a book I buy from the store again, I will return it as defective, and go buy the book at retail.
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents - (Discworld Novel 28) (Discworld series) :: (Discworld Novel 35) (Discworld series) :: (Discworld Novel 24) (Discworld series) - The Fifth Elephant :: Monster (German Edition) :: (Discworld Novel 32) (Discworld series) - A Hat Full of Sky
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
the first and best of the Tiffany Aching seris. I give a copy to every parent of a young girl that I know.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Terry Pratchett is once again on top form. Although aimed at younger readers there is plenty here for older readers to also enjoy
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
paula davis
Great stories.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarah keeton
Terry Pratchett is such an excellent writer, this audio book was very entertaining and the sense of humor is just fabulous....I would recommend the whole Tiffany Aching series !
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
regis boisvert
This is the second time I've read this book. The first time was to my older boys. All three boys loved it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nicole sze
THis was a nice light story to amuse and entertain the reader. It was well paced and with sufficient development that you could relate with the characters. It gave a nice twist to the idea that magic is often just knowing what the other person doesn't know. I look forward to more stories involving these characters because although the story is is complete, the saga of these characters is no way completely told.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lil mike
Great book, I am very pleased with the paper and print quality. The words and the pictures are fused in a way that it makes this book an art peace.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tim lock
This book is one of the most funny things I have read. Right up there with Jhon dies at the end
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jane yu
Absolutely love this story and the story line. This book is great for teenagers and adults alike! Can't wait to read the last 2 books in the series.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kayla finley
The story is great. just buy it from someone who will sell you a hardback, ( if that's your preference), not a paperback with hard covers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alexandra kaae
HeeHee! Probably Terry Pratchett's funniest book, and fun to read and re-read. Go Tiffany!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I loved it. Great with Hat full of Sky and I will ware midnight.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andrea carpenter
Brilliantly written as common to Pratchett, entertaining, funny, very easy to read hard to put down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
molli b
I found this book to be very entertaining. I've read a lot of Pratchett books, and I've liked almost all of them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Pratchett is always a good read.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
bokul bhowmick
I always got a laugh out of reading Terry Pratchett's book, but sadly not this one. To be fair it did bring a smile to my face in a couple of places, but nothing like any of his other books.

Must be just an 'off' book as the other Tiffany Aching book I've read, Wintersmith was much more amusing. This one just seemed to be childish and half-arsed.

A disappointment, but that will not stop me reading more.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ken christensen
Yay for Tiffany!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kari ruport
Nice that it's 2 books in one!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
heather hoffman
Because of the title, I thought this was a prequel to the Tiffany Aching series. Imagine my surprise when I found it was a paperback edition of The Wee Free Men and Hatful of Sky. I love both of these books, but must admit I don't need additional copies. Just thought others may want to know.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Since the store wouldn't post my negative review of this book, I guess I'll just have to give it a positive review.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
I also didn't notice that this is a compilation of two previously-published Tiffany Aching works. I was so excited to see what I thought was a "new" book - looked like a pre-quel to the series - that I pre-ordered without reading the description carefully. I will keep the new volume to give as a gift, since I already own the individual books and they are wonderful stories, definitely worth sharing. And keep waiting not-so-patiently for "I Shall Wear Midnight."
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
akd dupont

Like every other reviewer, I thought this was a NEW book. I am VERY DISAPPOINTED to find it is a re-issue/re-packaging of the first two books of a trilogy. (Where's the logic in THAT?!?)

However, if a reader hasn't read Wee Free Men or A Hat Full of Sky, the book would be okay. The stories are great, hence the two stars instead of one. Of course, said reader would then have to search out the last book of the triology (Wintersmith). Be careful though, the book looks like it was printed on recycled paper and will probably fall apart very soon. This is probably the deciding factor in why two books instead of all three.

I will try to gift it to someone.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
This was certainly no Harry Potter. It was a cute little story, mind you, but I don't think it was as fabulous as the reviews lead you to believe.

I was very excited when I got it. I love fairy tales, and the idea that this one centered on a female witch was refreshing. But, unfortunately, the plot was oversimplified. Brother is stolen. Take a trip to get brother back. There were no subplots, and I went through the majority of the book just waiting for Tiffany to actually Get somewhere. Don't get me wrong. The characters are great (though the dialogue of the Wee Free men was sometimes difficult to figure out) and the ideas were great. I just don't think the whole thing was very well executed. A good, solid fairy tale for kids, but not as enthralling for adults.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
running target
Interesting book
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
This was assigned by my young nieces's teacher, and my sister was alarmed that Wee Men helping the young girl will drink, curse, and smoke. Just know this up front. Perhaps a bit much for second grader!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
arya prabawa
One more unhappy Terry Pratchett fan... I'm disappointed with the publisher (Harper Collins) for creating and marketing this compilation without adequate disclosure, and with the store for not being more diligent in their copy editing. I pre-ordered this book last May, and like others I took the description to be of a prequel to "The Wee Free Men". I'm tempted to send it back to the store - unless I find someone to gift it to... the Terry Pratchett section of my bookshelf is already crowded, without including redundant copies!!!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
My 12 year old son reads at least 2-3 books per week and could not get into this book. He refused to finish it.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
sharon morice mitchell
Although fantasy is not my favorite genre, I have enjoyed a number of novels in this classification. In this novel there were some bits of homey wisdom about life that I underlined and enjoyed. I laughed out loud a couple of times. However, on the whole I found the novel boring at times, and muddled at others. It was a bit of a hodge-podge of fantasy going here and there and nowhere. I wouldn't really recommend it to others, unless they have read other novels by this author, and like the way she writes.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I loved the 2 original books about the Wee Free Men, "The Wee Free Men" and "A Hat Full of Sky" and really thought this was a prequel to those. Needless to say it isn't a prequel, it's just the two original books bundled together. This was a great disppointment and I feel that I've been scammed and decieved...there is nothing easily discernable or obvious on the the store site warning customers of this...you have to really spend alot of time searching the site to find anything that would even give a slight hint of the fact that it's a compendium of 2 previously published books.
Shame on you the store
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
kristin novak
I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan, so naturally when I saw that he had a new book out I ordered it. It arrived, and I was hugely disappointed to discover that it is NOT new. It is a compilation of two previously-published novels. Very disappointing!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Like the others I too bought this book thinking it was a prequel .... I am bitterly disappointed - I received the author alert that there was a new book and obviously being a fan I just went ahead and purchased it without reviewing its content, why would I? I love his work and would always give new titles a go!! So lesson learned... buyer beware!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stacey sykes
Terry Pratchett strikes again. Wait, that didn’t sound right.

In this two-part book, Mr. Pratchett gives us one of his funniest creations: the Wee Free Men, aka the Nac Mac Feegle. A bunch of rowdy, red-headed, crazy, drunken, thieving, violence-loving pictsies, they bow to no man or woman. However, when they spy a nine-year-old girl kill a vicious nixie with only a frying pan, they discover the one bigjob (human) they fear. Enter Tiffany Aching, a girl who wants to be a witch.

Tiffany has an inquisitive, knowing and probing mind. This makes her both a girl you’d want to know and an annoying know-it-all. She’s not always a good person but she is a fascinating one, questioning everything and not allowing people to get away with anything (especially bad spelling).

Mr. Pratchett makes her journey into witchery perilous, funny and frustrating. Tiffany is discovering that not everything is what you read in books, especially the silly fairy tales that are dished out to the unsuspecting. Why would any woman in her right mind marry a prince she meets at a ball simply because he’s a good dancer who retrieves a lost shoe? How could any girl mistake a hairy wolf for her grandmother unless the girl was utterly daft? Who writes this nonsense, anyway?

Along with Tiffany, we get a plethora of weird and wondering creatures. The Wee Free Men become individuals, not just a blue horde of butt-kicking loudmouths. Her relationship with the Nac Mac Feegle is hilarious but with an underlying sweetness. Negotiating with their tendencies to fight and steal isn’t easy but Tiffany takes them as they are not as what she’d wish them to be.

Tiffany meets up with witches as unique and special as she is and they all have valuable lessons to teach, even if their level of magic varies. The hardest thing for Tiffany isn’t learning magic; it’s learning not to use it.

The entirety of witchery is a slow learning process for Tiffany, filled with tests of courage, honor and competence. Magic isn’t something you wield; it’s something you give. True witches shy away from grasping for power for the end of that road is loneliness, madness and living in houses made from candy and trapping unsuspecting children.

Humor with a sobering message beneath it is a Terry Pratchett trademark. But don’t worry. He doesn’t go in for cheap moralizing. So come lift your glass with the Wee Free Men. They may be bad at washing dishes but their loyalty can’t be questioned.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
doc opp
Like many others, I believed this was a new work due to its title and product description. However, it is simply a reissue of The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky. While I love both these books, I don't need extra copies. I believe a more accurate product description would have prevented this issue. Mine is currently being shipped to me and now I have to return it. Blah. Hope this helps others avoid the same issue.

That being said, for Terry Pratchett fans I Shall Wear Midnight is a NEW work and currently available for ordering.
I Shall Wear Midnight
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
misty moesser
I thought it was a prequel- like lots of other people on the store.

But no- it is a reissue of the first two books in the series with a new copyright date! What is up with that???!!!

Obviously I like the series if I would buy the prequel- but this was a total bummer.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
stephanie wilga
Although this book was very deceptively posted as if it was a new BOOK that was going to give some backstory and "prequel" type material it is actually just a marketing trick. This NEW BOOK...Wee Free Men The beginnings is only a reissue in one volume of the first two books of the Tiffany Acking story arch. I am very disappointed in how this was marketed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This is the first book in the Tiffany Aching series, which is a prequel to the rest of the Discworld series. It was a well written story and I enjoyed a lot of the characters.

Tiffany is a strangely brave and smart girl who ends up finding out that she is a witch. When her brother is stolen by the Fairy Queen she ends up enlisting the aid of the Wee Free Men to help win him back. Her journey takes her on perilous adventures where we meet many strange characters.

Pratchett is a great storyteller and this book is full of the humor and quirkiness his Discworld books are known for. I enjoyed Tiffany as a character and liked the other quirky characters we met throughout.

My only (and biggest) complaint about this book is how Pratchett wrote the way the Wee Free Men talk; he writes their speech phonetically. This makes the book hard to read and at times you almost have to say the words out loud to understand them. I really hate it when authors do this. It would be just as effective to say “they spoke with a Scottish accent” and then leave it at that. Or sometimes mention that a word sounded like another word because of the accent. You don’t need to make your readers stumble through awkwardly hyphenated dialogue. This is the main reason I won’t be reading any more Tiffany Aching books.

Overall this is a well crafted and entertaining story. It is a bit more accessible than the other Discworld novels and should appeal to younger readers as well. I enjoyed the characters and the story both. However, the phonetic speech of the Wee Free Men really bugged me, so I won’t be reading the rest of this series.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I'll join the Chorus of folks who feel bamboozled.
Is this another of Granny Weatherwax's tests?
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
britt m
BEWARE--THIS IS NOT A NEW TERRY PRATCHETT BOOK! Despite the title which cons the unwary into thinking that this a new Terry Pratchett masterpiece (what could be more exciting)---THIS IS NOT A PREQUEL TO THE WEE FREE MEN. This simply "The Wee Free Men" and "A Hat Full Of Sky" published as one. If you ALREADY OWN those two books in hard-cover--you are going to be really MAD if you buy this!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
willow croft
Grown-ups, don’t be fooled like I was, and avoid “The Wee Free Men” because it is labeled YA (young adult). This book has got one of Discworld’s greatest heroines AND some old favorites like the Nac Mac Feegle (the sheep-stealing, kilt-wearing little blue men), Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg.

Pratchett brings his usual weird energy to the story of Tiffany Aching, a nine-year-old sheep-herder’s daughter, who might also be a witch. This Discworld fantasy starts off with a clang when Tiffany baits a trap with her own sticky young brother (brilliant!), then wallops the slobbering Jenny Green-Teeth with her iron frying pan, when the monster goes for her bait.

There is something else in the river—two little blue men in kilts, in a boat the size of a coconut shell who had tried to warn her about the water creature:

“Crivens! Gang awa’ oot o’here, ye daft wee hinny! ‘Ware the green heid!’”

Other than the above encounter with the Nac Mac Feegle and Jenny Green-Teeth, Tiffany seems like an ordinary farm girl with a talent for making butter and cheese. Whenever a band of gypsy teachers travels to her small village on the Chalk, Tiffany walks into town and swaps some of her dairy products for a few hours of education. One afternoon, she trades an egg for some learning from an old woman with a toad on her hat.

The toad talks, and the hat looks like an ordinary black hat with paper flowers, but it is spring-operated:

“’I like operating the spring,’ said the toad, crawling around to the back of the hat. There was a click, and a slow ‘thwap-thwap’ noise, and the center of the hat rose slowly and jerkily up out of the paper flowers, which fell away.”

Pointy black hats mean witches on the Chalk, and these magical hags are not well-treated. Miss Tick, the traveling teacher is really a witch-in-disguise.

Tiffany wants to be a witch, too but Miss Tick (‘mystic’ get it?) thinks chalk country is too soft to grow a good witch.

Teacher and pupil temporarily part ways, but the sticky little brother (“I wanna go-a toy-lut!”) is kidnapped by the Queen of Faerie, and Tiffany must call upon witches, the clan of little blue men, and her own Granny Aching’s special sheep liniment to get him back again.

“The Wee Free Men” is the first book in a trilogy starring Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle. Read their continuing adventures in “A Hat Full of Sky” and “Wintersmith.” I can truly say these books changed me forever—at least, they changed my vocabulary—“Ach, crivens, ye daft loonies, don’t just sit there and watch yer life gae doon the cludgie. Read these books!”
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
zohra star
Like most other reviewers I ordered this thinking it was a prequel. But I don't think it was my carelessnes; I read everything I could find to understand what I was ordering. It's going back with complaints.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
This review is specifically about the e-book version of The Wee Free Men. I love this story, but am very displeased with the Kindle version for two reasons. First, the e-book is incomplete. It lacks an image of the book cover. Worse yet, all of those amusing footnotes found in Terry Pratchett novels are missing. I can see where they would have been, but they are not included in the e-book version. Since many of Pratchett's best jokes can be found in the footnotes, this is a shocking omission. Second, I am frustrated that in spite of the deficiencies of the e-book version, Harper Collins Pub. has the audacity to charge the same price as the paperback book. I adore Terry Pratchett's work, but plan to ask the store for a refund and refrain from buying any more Harper Collins e-books.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Very disappointed to find that I have purchased a re-print of two books I already own.

Terry Prachett is one of my favorite authors, but I hate it when writers/publishers do this.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
corrina lawson
Terry Prachett is a great writer, unfortunately, his ethical standard is far below his writing standard. This is nothing more or less than two of his novels bound together (rather poorly bound at that) "Wee Free Men" and "Hat Full of Stars". If you haven't read these books, then this an inexpensive way to get them, if you have read these books - surprise this is the type of rip-off that Prachett lampoons in his writing.

People who bought this product also bought "Massengill Intimate Wash" because they were raped.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joe ziegenfuss
Serendipity. Do you want to know how lucky/blessed I am? Well, I'm going to tell you right here in this review as I can't separate my life from my reading diet.

A week ago I had been invited to go on a potential road trip to see my foster daughter. There were so many things that could happen to prevent said trip. So I was calling it the 'iffy trip'. But things didn't go wrong. Somehow everything went right and I got to go. I hadn't been in Oregon since I was in junior high. And I hadn't seen my foster daughter for at least a decade. And who knows, that iffy trip may have me moving up to Oregon very soon! How cool is that?

My friend brought this book, The Wee Free Men, narrated by Stephen Briggs. What a great road trip read! My friend and I were enthralled! We were laughing so hard at the late Terry Pratchett's writing for most of the trip north and then most of the trip south. And, yes, the writing is the basis of this experience. But Mr. Briggs's acting skills were truly fantastic. He had all the accents and voices for everyone and kept the story going.

Often while listening to this I pictured getting into Mr. Prachett's head while he was writing this story. He must have laughed to himself often with the puns that seem to rolls from his fingers into the pages. Then I wished I could watch Stephen Briggs do his part in front of the mic doing his performance. There had to be quite a few faces for each of the characters that seem to jump out of his mouth.

Needless to say, I have this book on my Kindle and Audible wishlists. I want to read it over and over. It is easily as great as Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz. It would be a great family read. SO fun!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
christina kingsley
Any Terry Pratchett aficionado who has not read the first of the Wee Free Men series set in Discworld and featuring a teen-age witch should lose no time in adding it to his/her library.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
farouk ahmed tackie
It seems to me that the store purposely misled customers . The product description is take straight from the back cover of the book. The next line is, "Contains the complete texts of The Wee Free Men & A Hat Full of Sky." I'm returning my copy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jordana williams
Miss Tick is surprised when her homemade witch-sensing device detects a witch in the direction of the Chalk because the ground there is too soft for growing good witches (“You need good hard rock”). Thus begins the series of adventures featuring nine-year-old potential witch Tiffany Aching. She and her brother Wentworth, who is interested only in sweets, live on a farm with their parents. Tiffany is clever, resourceful, and unstoppable: “She’d read the dictionary all the way through. No one told her you weren’t supposed to.” A tiny red-haired man warns Tiffany about a green monster, which suddenly appears in the creek. Unfazed, she identifies the monster in "The Goode Childe’s Booke of Faerie Tales," goes back to the creek, and dispatches it with a frying pan. Tiffany embarks on a series of adventures, aided along the way by Miss Tick and her toad (who can’t remember for sure whether he was once human and has been enchanted or has always been a toad) and the tiny red-haired Nac Mac Feegles or pictsies (the Wee Free Men), a rowdy bunch who watch over her. One of Pratchett’s funniest, with lots of odd creatures and laughs at every turn.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andre du plessis
To be perfectly honest this was purely a cover/back blurb buy for me! That cover is amazing, and the back blurb says, ” What’s not to love about a girl who takes on vicious monsters armed with only a frying pan?” -Publishers Weekly. I mean seriously that just sucked me in and made me want to read this story so badly. Not to mention I have heard really good things about Terry Pratchett. I am just immensely glad I picked up this book, because it had me flipping the pages like nobodies business!

Needless to say I loved this story! It was so weird and not really something I had ever read before but something I enjoyed oh so much. This book follows Tiffany a young girl (you really don’t learn her age until like the last chapter of this book) who wants to be a witch despite the fact that the Baron of the land hates witches. Tiffany’s adventure begins when her brother gets kidnapped by the Queen of Fairyland. Which is not the Fairyland you would imagine as a child nor want to visit. It’s really dark and twisted and you can get trapped in dreams and die in them. Overall very creepy, but I loved the creep factor. Although as creepy as that sounds the narrator was so brave that you really didn’t mind the creepyness of the book. It went a bit up and down, which was different from most books, it started out slow, and then there was some action, and then it calmed down, and then there was more action. Not that it bothered me it was just a fun read and the characters were such an amazing array of characters. The Wee Free Men cracked me up. They were so fierce and protective of their Kelda and I just loved reading about them and their rambunctious ways!

Now Tiffany was amazing. She was funny and smart and witty and sassy and brave. Just all out brave. I mean she wasn’t afraid to run head first in to danger for her little brother. Nor was she afraid of the Wee Free Men, she actually got them to behave for a little while at least. She is definitely a favorite character of mine. She just has that quality that makes you like her. She wasn’t annoying in any way and I actually felt quite connected to her as a character (I for sure wanted to be a witch when I was a kid… Maybe even a bit as an adult). She just was such a refreshing character in a world of the same cookie-cutter YA heroines.

There are about 5 books total in the Tiffany Aching series and I really want to get my hands on them. They are such quick, fun reads. They’re those type of books that just has a little something for everyone. This is definitely a book I recommend to pretty much everyone. Seriously if you ever take any of my suggestions go read this book (and maybe Six of Crows). It really is a great story. I do know this is part of a bigger series called the Discworld series. Which has like 30+ books to it, but if any of them are like The Wee Free Men, then I am definitely going to be picking them up. And if you have read this one already, let me know what you thought!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jessi davis
Tiffany Aching is a 9-year-old growing up on the land of Chalk. She is out tickling fish in the river with her perpetually-sticky brother Wentworth when she is warned “the green heid’s coming!” by a small boat full of even smaller blue men. Not soon after, her brother, Wentworth, is stolen by the Queen, and taken to another world. Tiffany decides she is the only one who can rescue him and bring him back home. Thus the adventure begins.

The intro to Tiffany and the little blue men made me laugh but was not enough for me to immediately be invested in the story. Not until Tiffany made friends with the blue Wee Free Men, and fully started to trust them and herself in this journey, did I decide to sit in on the adventure. The book reminded me a tad of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe when Tiffany walked between her own real world and the snowy, not-real world of the Queen. Tiffany’s story is full of questioning, self-realization, and then confidence in that realization. It is told through dry wit, deep thoughts and quirky characters. I was struck at how many times I thought, “right, that is a good point” when Tiffany spoke.

I’m rating The Wee Free Men three stars. As an adult, I found it hard to relate to Tiffany, as fun and fantastical as her adventure was. Three stars or not, I am holding onto this book in anticipation of the day I read it with my daughters so I can see it through their eyes. I look forward to that day.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kathy mertens
Grown-ups, don't be fooled like I was, and avoid "The Wee Free Men" because it is labeled YA (young adult). This book has got one of Discworld's greatest heroines AND some old favorites like the Nac Mac Feegle (the sheep-stealing, kilt-wearing little blue men), Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg.

Pratchett brings his usual weird energy to the story of Tiffany Aching, a nine-year-old sheep-herder's daughter, who might also be a witch. This Discworld fantasy starts off with a clang when Tiffany baits a trap with her own sticky young brother (brilliant!), then wallops the slobbering Jenny Green-Teeth with her iron frying pan, when the monster goes for her bait.

There is something else in the river--two little blue men in kilts, in a boat the size of a coconut shell who had tried to warn her about the water creature:

"Crivens! Gang awa' oot o'here, ye daft wee hinny! `Ware the green heid!'"

Other than the above encounter with the Nac Mac Feegle and Jenny Green-Teeth, Tiffany seems like an ordinary farm girl with a talent for making butter and cheese. Whenever a band of gypsy teachers travels to her small village on the Chalk, Tiffany walks into town and swaps some of her dairy products for a few hours of education. One afternoon, she trades an egg for some learning from an old woman with a toad on her hat.

The toad talks, and the hat looks like an ordinary black hat with paper flowers, but it is spring-operated:

"'I like operating the spring,' said the toad, crawling around to the back of the hat. There was a click, and a slow `thwap-thwap' noise, and the center of the hat rose slowly and jerkily up out of the paper flowers, which fell away."

Pointy black hats mean witches on the Chalk, and these magical hags are not well-treated. Miss Tick, the traveling teacher is really a witch-in-disguise.

Tiffany wants to be a witch, too but Miss Tick (`mystic' get it?) thinks chalk country is too soft to grow a good witch.

Teacher and pupil temporarily part ways, but the sticky little brother ("I wanna go-a toy-lut!") is kidnapped by the Queen of Faerie, and Tiffany must call upon witches, the clan of little blue men, and her own Granny Aching's special sheep liniment to get him back again.

"The Wee Free Men" is the first book in a tetralogy starring Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle. Read their continuing adventures in "A Hat Full of Sky," "Wintersmith," and "I Shall Wear Midnight." I can truly say these books changed me forever--at least, they changed my vocabulary--"Ach, crivens, ye daft loonies, don't just sit there and watch yer life gae doon the cludgie. Read these books!"
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This book is too much fun. It's also the first real Terry Pratchett but I didn't need to know a thing about his previous books to read this. My favorite part is the setting -- a small town in... Scotland? Northern England? Made-upland? Not sure. But it's cool, because it's about a daughter and her relationship with her grandmother, the town "might-be-a-witch-not-sure-I'm-not-gonna-ask", one of the many shepherds. I love everything Pratchett says about shepherding, like burying one with a piece of wool to let God know that this was a shepherd and maybe didn't go to church every Sunday because when sheep give birth, you gotta be there for that.

And the funny thing is the titular "wee free men" are only in about half the book (but scattered throughout). And they're hilarious too. They speak in thick Scottish accents and love drinkin', fightin', and stealin'. And they swear fealty to a little girl who's a smart cookie due to trading vegetables for lessons at the local bazaar.

My only beef is the last part, where the final battle with Generic Queen Witch drags on for quite a few chapters. It bobbles back and forth between "is it a dream or isn't?" and repeats the same tension. Not to mention that the bad queen has no strong beef with the protagonist, so the dramatic conflict has nothing invested in it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sara liebert
Thirtieth in the Discworld fantasy series for kids. Adults will get a kick out of this too!

My Take
Oh. My. God. This is too much of a treat! I am so glad Mindi pushed me into reading this! Pratchett has too much fun, poking fun at everything and everyone, and I can't wait to go back and start with the first in the series, The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1). It will be an amusing adventure!

He certainly has fun with a number of stereotypes: the big-sister/pain-in-the-butt little brother who always has to be watched and wants to tag along; the truth about those flippin' fairytales; Picts and pixies, and the invincibility of the small(!); lawyers; and, our idea of magic. I did appreciate the major point Pratchett pushed throughout the series: to learn to see with your own mind and not accept what others say as fact. I do hope that other lesson sticks to me... Then there are the dreams: the truth of their reality, their power.

The Wee Free language was a crack-up! Crivens, I did enjoy it! Oh, and the teachers! Omigod, omigod, yep, I allus wanted ta larn jograffy. Then there's the lesson the pictsies provide Ratbag in not going after the wee burdies. LMAO. There's a thought-provoking paragraph or four I enjoyed about the different sounds light would make, depending upon what it reflected off.

The Printers knew their readership and printed the Alamanack on soft, thin paper".

Oh, too sad, and a rather nice resolution to the problem of Miss Infant Female Robinson. It does take a village.

Hmmm, an interesting lesson for Roland at the end. Our Tiffany's larnin'.

Ah well, I'm offski for now...

The Story
It's just a day in the life of your average almost-youngest child, her work in the dairy making cheese, and, oh yes, watching out for her disgusting baby brother.

And Jenny Green-Teeth is only the first of the monsters to show...!

The Characters
Tiffany Aching is the second youngest in the Aching family--Oh, lordy, the pun Pratchett has with that last name!--who has lived on this land for generations, and she has the First Sight and the Second Thoughts. Wentworth is her little brother, and he's a bit of a tick himself. Fastidia and Hannah are two of her sisters. Ratbag is the family cat.

Sarah "Granny" Aching was the local...um...talent, who looked out for the sheep. The Baron doesn't allow witches to live...eek... Thunder and Lightning are her sheepdogs.

Nac Mac Feegles, a.k.a., pictsies, are the Wee Free Men and never shall they be "be fooled again!" Aye, they may be thieves, but they have standards. "They're the most feared of all the fairy races," although there is one species on this earth and any other plane of existence whom they fear--the lawyers! The kelda is their ruler. Fion is the kelda's daughter. Rob Anybody is their leader; Big Yan; Daft Wullie, who keeps opening his mouth when he shouldn't; William is the Feegle's bagpiper, poet/historian, and the kelda's brother; Not-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock-Jock is an aspiring bagpiper/bard; One-Eyed Archie; Big Angus; Wee Angus; Not-as-big-as-Big-Angus; and, on and on... Oh, I mustn't forget Hamish and the help Tiffany provides him in exchange for his reconnaissance flights.

Miss Perspicacia Tick is a witch. A very practical-minded witch who is a bit perspicacious and not above taking the mickey out of ya. A talking toad is her familiar. His crime is eventually revealed...snicker... Mistress Weatherwax, a most famous witch, and Mrs. Ogg, who can't move for cake, is another witch.

The Baron owns the Aching farm and many others. He can be reasonable. Roland is the Baron's twelve-year-old son who went missing.

The Quin, er, I mean Queen, wants to take over our world using her grimhounds and the dream-spinning Dromes.

The Cover
The cover is a colorful woodcut style with an angry-looking bunch of wee free men clambering over a rather smug-looking sheep.

The title stands for the most interesting group of people, The Wee Free Men...you'll adore them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nichole mcmahan
Terry Pratchett weaves stories with so many threads and layers of thought-provoking meaning I can't begin to unravel them here. About a young girI's coming of age, coming into her own, taking responsibility for the ills of her family, community and world. She gains strength from her connection to the land and finds her compass in the wisdom and example of her shepherd grandmother. I have read and listened to the Wee Free Men on audio book many times, and always find something new to delight the mind and heart. The whole Tiffany Aching series is great, this is the first story, I think. Not sure why it's listed as "Book 2" here. Some rather adult references in the humor (the comedic, little, blue, kilt-wearing Pict-sies are into drinkin', fightin', and stealin', etc.) but harmless and funny as all get out, and with great messages, like Granny Aching's "We must speak for them that has no voice."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(This is a review of the audio version of WFM.)

Actually, this was the first Terry Pratchett work I've ever tried. Somehow, the cover copy on the many novels he has written never appealed to me. But this was a gift from a family member to help my wife and I pass the hours on a long road trip, so I figured "What the Hell" and popped it in the CD player after we got started.

After the first 30 minutes or so, we were utterly smitten with Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feagle and with Pratchett. And this book was meant to be read aloud, and the narrator is superb - reminded me (in a good way) of the narrator in the radio version of "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy".

Pratchett can go from satirical, to lyrical, to pastoral, to creepy, to bone chilling, to side-splittingly funny in the course of a few pages, and he repeats this again and again throughout the story. I was under the impression that in his earlier works, Pratchett mostly just poked fun at fantasy tropes...but here his style has matured to something much more involving - he uses fantasy and humor to poke fun at the human conditions, and "magic" becomes a metaphor for something much deeper and ineffable.

Absolutely loved the final climactic showdown between Tiffany and the Queen - the hair stood up on the back of my neck.

Kudos all around. More, please.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mike welch
Terry Pratchett should need no introduction. He is a knighted author of Fantasy, most famous for his Discworld series, which has inspired everything from cartoons, BBC movies, figurines, t-shirts, postage stamps, street names in a Somerset city, their own convention, and even a line of beer. The Wee Free Men: The Beginning is a collection of two of his young adult novels, The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky. These two novels follow the young protagonist, Tiffany Aching, through her adventures and lessons in becoming a witch.

In The Wee Free Men, Tiffany is nine-years-old, and works on her parents farm on The Chalk, making cheese, watching her younger brother, and helping take care of the livestock, mostly sheep. One day, she and her brother are attacked by a river goblin named Jenny Greenteeth, which Tiffany soundly defeats using a frying pan. Such actions do not go unnoticed, and under the tutelage of an experienced witch named Miss Tick and her talking toad, Tiffany learns that she has all the makings of a witch. When her brother is stolen by the Queen of the Fairies, Tiffany takes it upon herself to rescue him, armed only with a dictionary, a frying pan, and the help of the Nac Mac Feegle, tiny blue kilted pictsies with a penchant for drinking Special Sheep Linament and more than willing "to give any scunner a full of heid, ye kennit," even if that means fighting themselves, which they often do.

A Hat Full of Sky features Tiffany two years later, when she is apprenticed to Miss Level, a witch with one mind and two bodies. She learns that being a witch involves very little Queen of the Fairy fighting, and mostly taking care of those too old, too young, too sick or just ignorant to take care of themselves. Tiffany also finds herself battling with a hiver, a disembodied spirit that takes over the bodies of powerful beings in the same way a hermit crab takes over a shell, using them to their full potential until they are completely spent, then moving on once they die. Tiffany also finds herself pitted against a pack of the vilest, cunning and dangerous creatures know to man-- teenage girls. Led by a fellow apprentice named Annagramma, who spells magic with a `k' and believes she is above all menial tasks Tiffany and Miss Levels perform. Through it all, Tiffany is once again defended and aided by the Nac Mac Feegle, who adopt Tiffany as their hag, and who are placed under a geas (a very important obligation, not a large bird) to save at any cost.

Both books have Pratchett's trademark comedy and satire imbued in them, as well as allusions that would make any adult reader chuckle along with the young ones. Through this humor, Pratchett offers readers young and old alike lessons and morals about life. For example, Miss Tick's lesson to Tiffany: "If you trust in yourself... and believe in your dreams... and follow your star... you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Pratchett clearly aims to take the traditional fantasy novel or Disney princess movie and flip it on its head, creating a very intriguing protagonist who readers of any age will enjoy.

Reviewed by Shroud's Joshua Gage
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sean whelan
Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching wants to be a witch when she grows up, and as things have turned out she's going to get a chance to practice her witchery a bit early, because adventure has come to her. When her little brother is stolen away by the fairy queen, Tiffany resolves to get him back, by sheer force of personality and some budding magic and the help of the Nac Mac Feegle, or Wee Free Men, who are six-inch tall blue-skinned men who are handy with a sword and love (and live) to fight. Tiffany leads the way into the fairy world to face down the queen and encounters grimhounds, dream-inducing dromes, aggressive pixies and other denizens of the fairy world who seek to prevent her from getting her brother back. The story takes a number of scary twists and turns, with sometimes Tiffany taking the lead and sometimes the Nac Mac Feegle on point. But ultimately it's Tiffany who has to save her little brother by defeating the queen of the fairies and then returning to her own world. Along the way they make new friends, rescue a lost noble's son and get into a lot of scrapes, which they get out of sometimes by intelligence and sometimes by belligerence. At the end of the book there is an appearance by Granny Weatherwax, a familiar Discworld character, and her friend Nanny Ogg, who help tie up the loose ends and cement Tiffany in her new role as witch of The Chalk lands, where Tiffany lives. This book is for children but is a fun read for adults as well and never condescends as it tells its tale.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
maria ryan
Picked this up for some light reading and was pleasantly surprised at how engaging it turned out to be. This is my first Pratchett fiction and I am looking forward to reading more.

Tiffany is an excellent character: self-aware (or learning how to be), smart, willing to think differently, but not always willing to accept things without deeper consideration first. She is a great role model character for young readers - regardless of gender.

In facing off against the Queen of Fairyland, she shows strength and weakness, empathy and pity, and a breadth of other moments that show how a person - young or old - can develop real character.

Really enjoyed this book and would not hesitate to recommend it to readers of any age. Perhaps even better to read aloud!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
In my general pack-rat type way, I picked up The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. I really needed something lighter that the collection of novellas I'd been reading before and this looked like it would fit the part quite nicely.

Centering around Tiffany, a member of a sheep herding family whose grandmother was the village wise woman (read: witch), she runs across the Nac Mac Feegle also known as pictsies or the wee free men. They're blue, six inches tall, almost indestructible and can knock out horses with their face. They like Tiffany and volunteer to help when the Queen of Fairyland steals Tiffany's baby brother Wentworth off into a land where dreams are real.

I really liked this book. Tiffany starts out a little bland but eventually stops making excuses and does what has to be done. She has some swings back and forth between slightly annoying and whiny to remarkably competent before eventually coming out on the side of competent and willing to speak up for those who cannot. I found it interesting how she thought of her baby brother as something of a parasite, but went to save him anyway and commenced to puzzle over "Why would I do this if I didn't love him on some level?" I appreciated the nod that love is not nearly so simple as it is sometimes made out to be, particularly in books geared towards younger readers. I also found myself enjoying the way she thought of her grandmother and what she did for the village and how Tiffany slowly came to realize the particulars of her Granny Aching's job. Tiffany's flashbacks were also rather interesting to read in that they managed to make the mundane seem a little mysterious and magical in a way that the rest of the book didn't do so much. I thought it a good contrast between Tiffany's country girl practicality and her dreaming world.

The Nac Mac Feegle are overall a shot of much needed humor. They manage to function as a running gag, an exposition device and teacher all at once. As soon as they show up, the plot gets interesting and someone will have something silly to say and break up a gloomy mood. since they have utterly no concept of size or fear, they end up being the voice of optimism throughout the story. After all, if someone who is six inches tall and as blue as a robin's egg isn't afraid, why should someone who's bigger think that there isn't a solution somewhere? I also thought that they way their society was arranged kind of neat.

I also have to say that I appreciated the attention to why the Queen kept stealing children. I love it when someone takes the time to set up and explain the antagonist's motives! I also liked the mention of "dad jokes." My dad makes those too.

The only grumbles I can think of is that some might not like the pacing towards the beginning. It does take a while to get really moving, but I thought it more of a nice walking pace to get to know the characters and the setting a bit. The other thing that was a little irksome was Miss Tick. I simply found her manner slightly annoying. Also, It would have been nice to see more of The Aching's family life. I also didn't like how Tiffany regarded the farmhouse cat, but that's probably because I like cats.

Overall, I thought it an excellent read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cynthia smith
Consider yourself to have been grabbed by the lapels, shaken like a rag doll, and to have had me scream up your nasal passages, "YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!"

The book's heroine, Tiffany Aching, is flat out the smartest character I have ever run across in fiction. She is so smart, I didn't even realize this is supposed to be a children's book until I found the sequel in the children's section at the library. It is worth the price of this book just to see Tiffany's mind working, never mind about the story. Or, if you're interested in the story, it goes something like this:

The Discworld and the Land of Dreams are colliding. The Queen of the Faeries has crossed over and stolen Tiffany's baby brother, taking him back to the Land of Dreams. On the face of it, this doesn't sound so bad until you realize that it's not those kind of dreams; it's the other kind. (Oh.) So, Tiffany picks up a frying pan, grabs an enchanted toad and sets out to rescue him by enlisting the aid of the Nac Mac Feegle, a.k.a. Wee Free Men a.k.a. pixies...er, picties. But they won't go because rescues aren't exactly in the playbook of these hand-sized, blue, kilt-wearing rascals. They stick to the five things they do the best: (1) stealing, (2) drinking, (3) fighting, (4) drinking and fighting, and (5) stealing and drinking and fighting. So Tiffany asks them to help her steal back her baby brother. "Aye! Now yer talkin'!"

There's a magic portal she needs to find, and then monsters to overcome and the siren-lure of dreams and illusions to avoid. The Queen will commit any atrocity in order to stop her, from conjuring magical snow storms to slowing time to bringing in a team of lawyers. And the tale is told in Terry Prachett's celebrated whimsical fashion. Be prepare to laugh out loud, time and time again.

And if you're wondering about the best children's book, ever, that would be the sequel: Hat Full of Sky.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rashmi bhattachan
I think this is one of Pratchett's best. Although I am not sure if it really is a YA novel as advertised or one of those books that are really for adults but disguised as YA (Alice in Wonderland is the best known example). In any case Pratchett's usual good humor and word play are on display here. Plenty of other reviewers have talked about the plot so I'll let that go. My only reservation is the "pictsies". See, they are not pixies, they are pict-sies (ho-ho). They are very funny characters. However, I am not sure how many youngsters will get the joke. This is important because much of the humor is based on expansion of that idea. Also a superficial knowledge of Scottish history will help but is not required.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jade dewyn
It's almost impossible to read "The Wee Free Men" without William Allingham's famous poem "The Fairies" coming to mind. The book itself was once named after a line of the poem, which begins:

Up the airy mountain
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting,
For fear of little men

But don't go making the mistake of calling the Wee Free Men "fairies", because nothing upsets the small, woad blue, tattooed warriors more, except maybe some scunner making off with their last drop of Special Sheep Liniment. These fierce warriors pride themselves on their thieving abilities, and if something happens to be nailed down - well they'd just make off with the nails as well. They are incredibly strong, extremely fast, and can get in and out of any place, except a pub, where they have an ingrained inability to escape once they've gotten in.

This book introduces Tiffany Aching, granddaughter of Sara Aching, who was a shepherd considered by all to be a powerful witch, and who just happened to be a friend of the aforementioned Wee Free Men, also known as the Nac Mac Feegle. Tiffany starts coming into her powers at age nine, when she fends off an attack by a river monster using her intuition, a frying pan, and her baby brother as bait. This sets off warning signals that there's a new hag in town, and soon she has to venture into the alternate world of the Queen of the Elves on a double rescue mission. She is assisted by the Feegle, who have sworn to protect her at all costs, but even they need rescuing sometimes.

Pratchett's stories are a combination of fantasy and humor, and his brilliantly witty bits will have you laughing out loud as you read. Written for children as a part of the Discworld series, "The Wee Free Men" is followed up by "A Hat Full of Sky" and "Wintersmith".

Amanda Richards, April 6, 2007
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kimberlee thompson
I've decided he's too good and too prolific for me to write a brand new review every single time I read one of his books. Discworld currently has 34 titles and every one of them will probably knock your socks off. His mind bubbles and flashes like a boiling pot of electric eels, and I simply can't get enough of his writing.

A reviewer has compared him to Geoffrey Chaucer. He reminds me more of Douglas Adams, or perhaps S Morgenstern. Great company, isn't it? He's an extremely skillful and imaginative writer, damn funny, clever and observant to boot. He's also very easy to read. A master of characterization, and if there's anything else you like about reading that I didn't mention here, assume I simply forgot. He's awesome.

Another reviewer mentioned Jonathan Swift and PG Wodehouse. Why such hallowed company? Because Pratchett belongs there! Truly, I'm enjoying my quest to read every book in the series. You should do the same, and begin your quest at the library because he's got to be there. He's awesome!

Yet another reviewer said Jerome K Jerome meets Lord of the Rings. Yeah, that works too.

Why do we, as reviewers, compare authors to other authors? Because it's easier than thinking. In the case of Terry Pratchett, it's probably because we'd otherwise wind up quoting the guy. He's so unique that we just don't know how else to cope with his greatness. Even this paragraph sounds like foamy drool raving, doesn't it? That's how all readers react to Pratchett. Reviewers simply don't have the good sense to keep it to themselves.

I could call his writing fantasy, but I could likewise call what Douglas Adams wrote science fiction. In both cases, I wouldn't be wrong, but I'd be neglecting so much and just totally missing the point. A rare few authors transcend a genre to such a degree that you know they're shouting out, loud and proud, a big fat "Bite me!"

I love Terry Pratchett's writing, and I completely understand why some folks refer to him as their favorite author. Or favourite, I should say, since we're being British. He's one of those authors that makes you want to grab whoever's in hearing range and start reading passages aloud. I'm simply thrilled that there's such an extremely talented and prolific author who's been working for years without me being aware of him. Now I have much catching up to do, and I will love it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
a m faisal
As a Pratchett fan, I knew that it was only going to be a matter of time before I eventually picked up the Tiffany Aching books. I put it off for a while because I've heard both good & negative things about the books, most of the negative remarks being about how it tends to be slightly different in tone than Pratchett's other books, we shich is true- the book is written slightly differently than his main Discworld series. (Not that most of the Discworld books couldn't be enjoyed by children- there's not that much objectionable material in those books.)

Tiffany's story begins as she has her first glimpse of small blue-ish men who cry out a warning about a river monster. Moving just in time to save her little brother, Tiffany then decides to set about getting rid of said monster. (She does so after using same brother for bait.) Unbeknownst to her, her actions were watched by someone else- a witch who recognizes Tiffany's potential & hopes to educate her about witches & magic. Unfortunately Tiffany is about to get a real crash course in magic, witchcraft (the two aren't necessary the same in the story) & herself as her bratty brother gets snatched away by a magical being with powers beyond Tiffany's comprehension.

While this isn't my favorite of Pratchett's work, it's not bad. I like the character of Tiffany, although she isn't the most compassionate of characters at times. The true gem of the books is the introduction of the titular wee free men, characters that remind me of Smurfs with attitude. This book won't knock 'The Truth' off of it's spot as my #1 favorite Pratchett work, but it will be something that I recommend to young readers. I like that Tiffany uses her head to get through her bad situations & that she eventually takes charge of herself. At the end of the book Tiffany is definitely a much more mature young lady. I do have to say that those readers who more prefer the more adult stylings of Pratchett may not be as enchanted with this book as I was.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
alyssa lee
In terms of this particular Discworld-derivative idea, I haven't been overly fanatical about Terry's decision to "youthanize." Please don't read anything overtly negative into that little pun: The Aching books are superb.

However, I always felt that Terry's Discworld is such an excellent and timeless literary creation that it never needed to be cross-marketed or tailored for any one set of readers over another. Discworld is always so well-delineated and conceived that it's capable of bringing youthful devotees up-to-speed and jaded old poops like myself into a purely giddy, almost childlike state of devilish euphoria, at the same time.

Basically, Discworld has always been versatile *just* as it's been written. Deliberately making a kiddie-version of that world seemed (to me) redundant, but then again...I am no longer a kid! I write this review mainly for those adult fans of Pratchett who may expect to enjoy the Aching books as much as they enjoy the adult Discworld novels. After all, grown-ups can and do get very excited about Young Adult books from time to time--look at the Rowling phenomenon as it continues to play-out among some adults (a particular enthusiasm I have never shared or thought remotely convincing).

Adult fans can unquestionably enjoy these YA books by Pratchett, just don't expect them to be the same as his adult novels. Apples and oranges, as they say. That's my point.

In any case, Terry certainly can write for the young adult crowd; there's no doubt. best of all, Terry's narrative voice does not "talk down" to young adults, as others sometimes do, in the sense that he sacrifices the delicious wisdom that is part-and-parcel of the overarching Pratchett craftsmanship.

Though I believe Terry Pratchett (as a writer) is always light-years more stocked in the Talent Department than someone like J.K. Rowling, for example, I don't think 'Wee Free Men' is quite as good as 'Hat Full of Stars' or 'Wintersmith'. The plotting of 'Wee Free Men' seemed a tad aimless and lazy when compared with the other two Tiffany Aching books, even with my "kid head" screwed-on. Young adults can pick-up on these things, but it's a minor quibble, I assure you.

Pratchett could fall out of bed and still be better than 90 percent of the people writing similar Young Adult material these days. If you're a parent looking to interest your 11-16 year-old in superb material and get a kid ready for the joyful wealth of "adult" Discworld in the future, Tiffany Aching is your girl.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gaurav murade
I've been slowly working my way through the Discworld series and I haven't been going in any kind of order. Several people have told me that I NEEDED to read the Tiffany Aching books and low and behold it was one of the ones I picked up at a second hand store months ago. Reading Terry Pratchett books I've previously thought that he and Neil Gaiman have a similar style. This story really confirmed that for me. The "Quin" as the Nac Mac Feegle makes me think of Coraline's other mother. She's mysterious and scary and powerful yet powerless all at the same time. The Nac Mac Feegles......oh my. I don't think I've enjoyed a group of characters like them at all. I'm excited to read the rest of Tiffany's books because I think she is a strong character and it will be interesting to see how she grows. I highly recommend this book.....seriously what are you waiting for???
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rod dunsmore
Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching lives on a farm on the downs, surrounded by sheep instead of trees, and she's really good at cheese. But what she really wants is to become a witch, even though witches aren't much tolerated in their world. Her late grandmother was the soul of the chalk hills and may have been a sort of witch (even though she didn't wear the pointy hat), and Tiffany feels a call to take her place. But first she has to deal with the encroachment of Faerie into her world, and the theft of her toddler brother, armed with her trusty iron frying pan. (Well, it worked against Jennie Greenteeth.) She succeeds partly because she doesn't realize how frightened she ought to be, and partly because she has deep talents she's only beginning to discover and exploit. And partly because she has the enthusiastic assistance of the Nac Mac Feegle, six-inch-high redheaded, blue-tattooed "Pict-sies" who wear kilts, speak in a brogue, and delight in fighting, drinking, and stealing. But Tiffany has temporary become the clan's kelda (leader) and what she says goes. While this first volume of a trilogy is technically a Discworld novel, it's in a semi-independent subseries and there's a distinct lack of the sort of freewheeling lunacy that so hilariously infects most of his work. I noticed this, too, in the award-winning _Amazing Maurice_; perhaps Pratchett is unsure of the humorous sophistication of his younger readers. But he shouldn't be. As he piles up the books, though, his command of the language and his descriptive skills only get better and better. Sentences like "From up here the flocks of sheep, moving slowly, drift over the short turf like clouds on a green sky. Here and there sheepdogs speed over the grass like shooting stars." Lovely stuff. There's a reason this book appeared on everyone's "Best of the Year" list.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Grown-ups, don't be fooled like I was, and avoid "The Wee Free Men" because it is labeled YA (young adult). This book has got one of Discworld's greatest heroines AND some old favorites like the Nac Mac Feegle (the sheep-stealing, kilt-wearing little blue men), Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg.

Pratchett brings his usual weird energy to the story of Tiffany Aching, a nine-year-old sheep-herder's daughter, who might also be a witch. This Discworld fantasy starts off with a clang when Tiffany baits a trap with her own sticky young brother (brilliant!), then wallops the slobbering Jenny Green-Teeth with her iron frying pan, when the monster goes for her bait.

There is something else in the river--two little blue men in kilts, in a boat the size of a coconut shell who had tried to warn her about the water creature:

"Crivens! Gang awa' oot o'here, ye daft wee hinny! `Ware the green heid!'"

Other than the above encounter with the Nac Mac Feegle and Jenny Green-Teeth, Tiffany seems like an ordinary farm girl with a talent for making butter and cheese. Whenever a band of gypsy teachers travels to her small village on the Chalk, Tiffany walks into town and swaps some of her dairy products for a few hours of education. One afternoon, she trades an egg for some learning from an old woman with a toad on her hat.

The toad talks, and the hat looks like an ordinary black hat with paper flowers, but it is spring-operated:

"'I like operating the spring,' said the toad, crawling around to the back of the hat. There was a click, and a slow `thwap-thwap' noise, and the center of the hat rose slowly and jerkily up out of the paper flowers, which fell away."

Pointy black hats mean witches on the Chalk, and these magical hags are not well-treated. Miss Tick, the traveling teacher is really a witch-in-disguise.

Tiffany wants to be a witch, too but Miss Tick (`mystic' get it?) thinks chalk country is too soft to grow a good witch.

Teacher and pupil temporarily part ways, but the sticky little brother ("I wanna go-a toy-lut!") is kidnapped by the Queen of Faerie, and Tiffany must call upon witches, the clan of little blue men, and her own Granny Aching's special sheep liniment to get him back again.

"The Wee Free Men" is the first book in a trilogy starring Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle. Read their continuing adventures in "A Hat Full of Sky" and "Wintersmith." I can truly say these books changed me forever--at least, they changed my vocabulary--"Ach, crivens, ye daft loonies, don't just sit there and watch yer life gae doon the cludgie. Read these books!"
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Wee Free Men are scared--the lines between the world are getting thin and the Queen that they once served is ready to break through. Only a witch can help--but the only witch available is nine-year-old Tiffany. Tiffany Aching doesn't know magic and she doesn't have a pointed hat, but she's decided she will be a witch some day. With the arrival of the Queen and the kidnapping of Tiffany's brother, some day arrives more quickly than Tiffany had anticipated.
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. With the example of her grandmother behind her, there is little that Tiffany cannot do if she can keep her mind on it--and keep from being swept up in other people's dreams.
I might be making WEE GREEN MEN sound like some sort of philosophy text and nothing could be farther from the truth. It's filled with Pratchett humor and insights, an exciting adventure, and emotional complexities. One small word of warning--although the Nac Mac Feegle (the wee men) appear in Discworld stories, Tiffany's world resembles our own a lot more than it does the Discworld of Ankh Morpork and the Great God Om.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
clinton king
Of all Terry Pratchett's wonderful, whimsical books, his witch books (Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, Weird Sisters) are my favorites, and of all his witch books, this is absolutely the best.

Nine-year-old Tiffany's introduction to witchhood - as I said, Pratchett-style witchhood - is just one amazement followed by another. Pratchett's witches are wonderfully practical creatures, with First Sight and Second Thoughts (never mind that "second sight" silliness). Under the impetus of her own sense of rightness, and the knowledge that she is the only one who can do it, Tiffany sets out to save not only her sticky and annoying little brother, but her entire world, from an invasion of the Fairy.

Along the way, she has several revelations about the nature of a true witch, the lack of glamour associated with this most responsible position (a witch takes care of her people), and the satisfaction of making things right.

Tiffany also has several revelations about the nature of the Nac Mac Feegle, a small bright blue barbarian-like gang of anarchists ("No King, no Quin, we shall never be fooled again!") that just love stealing, fighting, and drinking, but mostly fighting. But somehow, the little terrors have managed to learn respect for witches - and lawyers - and supply this nine-year-old with bright blue nearly invisible muscle.

Additionally, the story of Tiffany is tied into the story of her Granny, who, despite her humble life as a rough-n-tough shepherdess, clearly was the witch who cared for Tiffany's people before her. So, along with its madcap air of adventure, and the gales of laughter, the book has a gentle whiff of nostalgia, and an undercurrent of deep respect for the past. The blend comes out just right, producing a balanced book that manages to end with a profound sense of just-rightness, without ever losing the ability to surprize the reader every time a page is turned. It is perfect.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
maria menozzi
I loved the Nac Mac Feegles when they appeared in Carpe Jugulum. Though they were a little tough to understand then. They're better in this, though not laughing while reading this book in public is a problem. They are certainly a gung-ho lot.

But of course, this book (bar a few scenes in the beginning) is from the viewpoint of Tiffany Aching. I sort of see her as how Granny Weatherwax would've been as a young girl, Tiffany certainly has the same determinedness as she sets off to rescue her baby brother (à la the film Labyrinth). Of course, it's the Quin - I mean, Quee - who has him and that means fairyland with all the monsters and the dreams and the nightmares. All of which the Nac Mac Feegles face head on, literally.

I quite liked the ending to this, a nice rounded conclusion that speaks of more to come. I'll be looking forward to it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kasey wilson
This is SUCH a good book. It combines the magic of Narnia (without the endless trudging), the quest to recover the stolen baby brother ("Labyrinth"), the cohesion of the Harry Potter world, the horror of Stephen King's inexplicably changing reality ("It"), and the wit of Monty Python - all in an original, fast-paced fantasy novel that will appeal to witches, poets, lawyers, and anyone who likes to laugh out loud as they read.

Yes, the criticisms are valid. The dialect would be hard for the YA audience to follow, and sometimes the pace is unrelenting. Oh well.

Tiffany is a 9-year-old dairymaid and aspiring witch who, as the 20th grandchild of the late Granny Aching, shares a special affinity with her clear-sighted grandmother. She is forced to defend her world against a dream-manipulating ice queen, with the help of a band of tiny blue rascals with Scottish accents. As the story unfolds, the philosophy does as well. After a battle in which the Nac Mac Feegle - aka the Wee Free Men - lose several comrades, their philosophy about their common world is revealed. They don't mourn, because:

"Oh, they've gone back to the land o' the livin'," said Rob Anybody cheerfully. "It's nae as good as this one, but they'll bide fine and come back before too long. No sense in grievin'."

Tiffany says, "You mean this is like heaven??"

"Aye! Just as advertised!" said Rob Anybody. "Lovely sunshine, good huntin', nice pretty flowers, and wee burdies goin' cheep."

"Aye, and then there's the fightin'," said another Feegle. And then they all joined in.

"An' the stealin'!"

"An' the drinkin' and fightin'!"

"But there's bad things here!" said Tiffany. ""There's monsters!"

"Aye," said Rob, beaming happily. "Grand, isn't it? Everythin' you could ever ask for, even things to fight!"

I got this book out of the library for myself, but my husband instantly appropriated it and, when he was finished, demanded that I read it. He was SO right. OK, so this is our first experience with Terry Pratchett. I've read nothing else like it. Fifteen stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christine kurniawan
Miss Perspicacia Tick is a full-time witch with a Gold Swimming Certificate from the Quirm College for Young Ladies. As the book opens, she has just discovered a ripple in the walls of the world - this, she suspects,is being caused by another world making contact. The point of contact appears to be in an area called the Chalk - she thinks she should go and investigate, but her elbow (which is rarely wrong) tells her there is already a witch living there.

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. A Pictsie race, they are covered in tattoos, have blue skin and red hair and wear little other than kilts and swords. Extremely strong and fast, they enjoy stealing, fighting and drinking - Granny Aching's Special Sheep Linament is a particular favourite. They don't like telling anyone their names, think writing is magical and are frightened only of lawyers. Luckily for Tiffany, they join her raid on Fairyland. Rob Anybody Feegle, the Big Man O' The Clan, is especially brave, while Not-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock-Jock is notable for his willingness to use poetry in tight situations. The Toad (Miss Tick's familiar) - who is reasonably sure he was once human - also offers Tiffany a great deal of advice on her travels. His current condition is the result of having crossed a Fairy Godmother.

"The Wee Free Men", a "Story of Discworld" rather than a "Discworld Novel", won the Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel in 2004. If you've enjoyed anything from the ordinary Discworld series, you'll certainly enjoy this !
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Some interesting facts before I start my review. First of all, I'm a big fan of reading children's books from the library but it takes a great deal of effort on my part to actually go out and BUY any books. Why bother? Most are perfectly good, but it's the rare book indeed that forces me to remove my wallet from my pocket and give away my well earned dollars and cents. I read "The Wee Free Men" in my local library, expecting something light and interesting. After finishing the book I immediately purchased this book from my local independent bookseller and never regretted my decision.
"The Wee Free Men" is the story of Tiffany Aching, nine years old and determined to become a witch someday. She's not entirely certain how to do so, but there's a no-nonsense spunk to Tiffany that's going to figure it out somehow. Unfortunately, her little brother Wentworth is stolen by the Queen of the Elves (ala "The Snow Queen") and it's up to Tiffany to grab her frying pan and rescue him (ala "Labyrinth"). Along her way she's joined by a clan of six-inch-high blue fairies, The Wee Free Men, who aid Tiffany along her way.
Nothing I've written here is going to necessarily make you want to buy or even read this book. So please read the following selection from the book. In this scene Tiffany has crossed over into the Queen of the Elves' land where dreams become reality. She finds herself in a posh party with the Wee Free Men (known amongst themselves as the Nac Mac Feegle), all dressed in tiny tuxes. They decide to interrogate the guests.
Even in a dream, even at a posh ball, the Nac Mac Feegle knew how to behave. You charge in madly, and you screamed . . . politely.
"Lovely weather for the time o' year, is it not, ye wee scunner!"
"Hey, jimmy, ha'ye no got a pommes frites for an ol' pal?"
"The band is playin' divinely, I dinna think!"
"Make my caviar deep fried, wilya?"
I love that scene. I love this book. For those of you who read Terry Pratchett's Discworld series relentlessly, this book will not disappoint. For those of you who have never read a single Terry Pratchett book and have had no desire to do so until now, this book stands on its own as a worthy story in its own right. Prior to reading it I had never read a single Discworld book. I recommend this book with all my recommending strength.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching's main job in life in her corner of Discworld is to watch after her sticky little brother, Wentworth, and churn butter. This is generally not a taxing chore, since Wentworth is only two and she can outrun him. His frequent tantrums are easily resolved by gratifying his appetite for sweets, which explains the stickiness. She likes to churn butter because it allows her to think about other things, like fairy tales.

Tiffany is daydreaming on the bank of a stream one afternoon, musing on her recent decision to become a witch, while Wentworth puddles about on a nearby beach. She suddenly spies a tiny, six-inch-high blue man in a kilt with an untidy shock of red hair and a beard floating by in a bucket. He shouts, "Gang awa' oot o'here, ya daft wee hinny! 'Ware the green heid!" and then floats out of sight around a bend. Suddenly a strange, bubbling tide spills over the bank, containing something with long green hair and very sharp teeth. Tiffany calmly snatches Wentworth from harm's way as the tide extends watery arms to reach for the boy. Oddly, she feels anger, not fear.

This causes a ripple in Discworld's magical atmosphere. Miss Tick, a witch of high power, notices and remarks, "That little creature in the boat was a Nac Mac Feegle!" she said. "The most feared of all the fairy races! Even trolls run away from the Wee Free Men! And one of them warned her!"

"She's the witch, then, isn't she?" said a voice. Miss Tick finds this hard to believe. A nine-year-old girl with no one to teach her, in a part of Discworld never before known to hold a witch had ever... "This child needs watching," she said.

Thus begins the tale of Tiffany, apprentice girl witch, and her battle with the Quin (queen) of the Elves. The Quin snatches small children, enticing them with their heart's desires and keeping them locked away, forever young. When Wentworth goes missing, it naturally befalls Tiffany to strike out in search of her loathsome little brother, armed only with an iron frying pan, a book of fairy tales from her late Grandmother's house, and a piece of string. She is accompanied into fairyland by a large band of the Nac Mac Feegles who have attached themselves like fleas on a sheep to her crusade. They see her as their next kelda, or queen, and they are determined to lay down their lives to keep her safe.

Terry Pratchett has devised a tale for the younger set in THE WEE FREE MEN that befits his reputation for fantastical humor. Tiffany's adventures with the Nac Mac Feegle will introduce young readers to Pratchett's strange planet of Discworld. His avid adult fans will recognize the boozing, brawling Wee Free Men from LORDS AND LADIES and CARPE JUGULARUM. We suspect that Mr. Pratchett is craftily conjuring up his own magic with children, enticing them to join his legions of fans when they grow up and become book buyers. He will let them do that.

--- Reviewed by Roz Shea
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Pratchett has created Tiffany in Dreamland - a Discworld version of the girl on a quest. Could this turn out to become a new timeless classic like Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass? Why ever not. Alice's adventures have infiltrated everyday English culture and language with their images and proverbial sayings. So might the Nac Mac Feegle, the Wee Free Men, enrich our mind's eye and add to our vocabulary with expressions like "Crivens "! Whatever its long-term influence, this wonderful story is highly entertaining for everybody. Its expressive ironic humour as well as its underlying wisdom reach far beyond the Discworld fans.
Tiffany Aching, the heroine of the story, inquisitive and mature for her nine years, views herself as an apprentice witch. She has the tools: a cast-iron frying pan, a piece of string, an unusual book of recipes, and, above all, the memory of her very special granny. To rescue her brother, Tiffany has to enter a fairyland, full of strange and dangerous creatures, all controlled by an evil "Quin". Fortunately, she has inherited "first sights and second thoughts" - a powerful combination for a budding witch. These are essential talents for her to distinguish between reality and dreams: "to see what is really there" and what is imagination created within a dream. "Follow your dream", Miss Tick's advice to Tiffany, builds up to a real challenge when Tiffany, after fighting wild animals and dream-creating dromes finally confronts the Queen. She has to peel off layer after layer of their dreams to escape from being taken over by them, then use her own dreaming power to find a way back to her own reality.
Tiffany's quest wouldn't have a chance at being successful - and would be a lot less funny -without the Nac Mac Feegle. What a hilarious bunch of little guys in kilts (only one girl and the ageing kelda) they are: full of mischief, fighting spirit and a wonderful version of Scottish. Wouldn't you like those around to do the chores around the house! But you would need some witching power - otherwise they would go back to their nasty tricks, like stealing eggs or making the sheep disappear. Their language and vivid expressions are a treat in themselves. Turning up in a black suit with a bow tie, one of them explains sheepishly: "The dream wouldnae let us in unless we wuz properly dressed..."
Pratchett has created a real gem of a Discworld story here - fast moving, imaginative and highly entertaining for young and old. It would not be Pratchett if he did not find a way to weave in some educational messages and real-life round-world wisdoms. [Friederike Knabe, Ottawa Canada]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
s wong
Tiffany Aching, wise beyond her nine years, sets out to find her missing brother, Wentworth. Like all older siblings, she feels displaced by the younger boy. She feels resentment for his presence, his demands, his constantly runny nose. She's already defended Wentworth against a mysterious attacker who rose from the local river to snatch him away. Still, he mysteriously disappears and Tiffany sets off on a self-assigned quest to bring him home. He is, for all his faults, hers.
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 confronted 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. This is sold as a "children's book", but memories of The Who's great song will be running through adults' heads as they read the Nac Mac Feegle's fervent chant. Like any Pratchett book, The Wee, Free Men contains many strata of ideas beckoning your further inquiry. The first time you read this book, it will be for the adventure, the novelty and the fun. The second time will be to delve more deeply into Pictsish. See how deftly Pratchett confronts us with "real world" issues seeking resolution. Pratchett is almost unique in his incorporating science in his stories, and is unmatched in this ability. His depiction of the origins of chalk is a wondrous read. Not limited to physical science, he cogently probes human questions. Buy this for your children, but when they've put it aside for the first time [and they will return to it later], steal away with it to a quiet corner. You'll discover both a place to escape and a rigorous reality confronting you. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rick hockman
The Wee Free Men is the thirtieth novel in the Discworld series. However, this volume doesn't feature Rincewind and the Luggage, the Watch or even Anhk-Morpork. It does have witches, though.
In this novel, Tiffany Aching is a nine year old daughter of shepherds who thinks that she would like to be a witch, but isn't sure that her name is appropriate; of course, she could always change it when she grows up. Presently, she is attending her younger brother, Wentworth, the sticky one, who always demands sweets and wants to go to the toilet whenever he is frustrated. Then comes a susurrus (Tiffany has read the dictionary from front to back) and the everyday sounds around her dwindle, two tiny blue men with red hair leave the area rapidly, and a mass of bubbles comes down the stream toward them. She steps back and the green monster with large eyes and teeth misses as it tries to grab her.
Meanwhile, Miss Perspicacia Tick, a wandering witch, notices something strange in the environment and determines that another worldline is about to collide with the discworld universe. She wants to attend to the problem, but her left elbow indicates that a witch is already present in the Chalk Country where the wall between the worlds is thinning. However, her scrying tells her that the witch is rather undertrained and Perspicacia decides to remedy that deficiency.
After taking care of the Jenny Green-Teeth with the largest frying pan, Tiffany feels that there are some things she needs to know. When she goes to town to acquire some knowledge from the pack of perambulating pedagogues, she finds Miss Tick waiting for her and, for only one egg and a few carrots, tells her what she needs to know at that time.
Miss Tick goes off to gather a coven to deal with the problem, but leaves her toad behind. Tiffany finds the toad useful at times, particularly as a translator, but he is subject to spates of legalisms. Moreover, the cold of fairy land drives him into semi-hibernation.
This novel is about witchery, grandmothers, chalk, pictsies, lawyers, fairy queens, mispronunciationed words, and other assorted profundities. According to the product page, this book is for ages 9-12. Hogwash, that is merely the lower limit! Even people in their seventh decade can enjoy this book.
The author was born in Chalk Country, lives in Chalk Country, and "says it is amazing how much of this books he didn't have to invent". It is another romp through the creations of a strange genius (is that an oxymoron?) who never fails to leave you satisfied.
Highly recommended to all Pratchett fans and anyone else who enjoys subtle humor with a sardonic, yet common, touch.

-Arthur W. Jordin
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joey rizzolo
Tiffany Aching, wise beyond her nine years, sets out to find her missing brother, Wentworth. Like all older siblings, she feels displaced by the younger boy. She feels resentment for his presence, his demands, his constantly runny nose. She's already defended Wentworth against a mysterious attacker who rose from the local river to snatch him away. Still, he mysteriously disappears and Tiffany sets off on a self-assigned quest to bring him home. He is, for all his faults, hers.
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. This is sold as a "children's book", but memories of The Who's great song will be running through adults' heads as they read the Nac Mac Feegle's fervent chant. Like any Pratchett book, The Wee, Free Men contains many strata of ideas beckoning your further inquiry. The first time you read this book, it will be for the adventure, the novelty and the fun. The second time will be to delve more deeply into Pictsish. See how deftly Pratchett confronts us with "real world" issues seeking resolution. Pratchett is almost unique in his incorporating science in his stories, and is unmatched in this ability. His depiction of the origins of chalk is a wondrous read. Not limited to physical science, he probes cogent human questions. Buy this for your children, but when they've put it aside for the first time [and they will return to it later], steal away with it to a quiet corner. You'll discover both a place to escape and a rigorous reality confronting you. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa]
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett is teen fantasy which I read for a change of pace and enjoyed. I normally do not read fantasy books but the teaser I saw for this one got my attention. It looked like it would be a funny book and it is. I was not at all disappointed. It's a story about a little girl who wanted to be witch. When her little brother is missing, she goes after him into Fairyland to get him back from the Queen. It is sort of a combination of "The Wizard of Oz" and "Alice in Wonderland" and does not make much sense. The Wee Free men (Nac Mac Feegle) were blue with red hair and about six inches tall, noted for stealing, fighting and drinking. They were very fast, strong and helped Tiffany get her brother back. I liked them especially but it wasn't always easy to understand them.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to escape reality for awhile and just be entertained. Oh, it's such a crazy book that the printing is upside down so you actually read it backwards! It's hilarious--a fun read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is my 10 & 12 year old son & daughter's review:
The Wee Free men is a funny amazing adventure story involving Tiffany, a 9-year old girl with special talents. Her brother is kidnapped by the Queen of Fairyland, and Tiffany has to go and save him with the help of the Wee Free men who are 6 inch tall blue men. The funniest parts are with the Wee Free men who always want to fight, drink, steal and they say the funniest things.... (crivens! & waily waily!) We enjoyed listening to the narrator, he was excellent at expressing different characters in his voice. Guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. A must read/ listen for boys and girls of all ages.

Vocabulary words you may want to go over with your kids before you read the book: Incursion, Gazanda (potty under bed), Heron, Bramble, Ram (sheep), Airborne, Haughty, Spawn, Liniment , Artificial , Fling, Precipice, Bonnet, Bower, Destitute, Punctuality, Canapé, Halitosis, Bairn.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
megan thurman
...but can easily be called a Discworld novel, a children's book, or both, because it happens in Discworld and has a young protagonist solving the problems that adults fail to notice.
Tiffany Aching is the second-youngest in a long line of Aching shepherds and farmers who have "the land in their bones" because they've been there so long and are as much a part of the land, called The Chalk (or the Wold, by the old) because of what lies inches below the dense grass that has survived centuries of sheep.
The first youngest Aching person is her little brother Wentworth, a perpetually sticky child who's turned potty-training into a form of extortion. Maybe it's his stickyness, or some sense of cosmic justice, but fairytales - real faerie-tales with the Queen and pixies and things made out of dreams in keeping with faerie-lore traditions from outside Discworld - are out to get him.
The suprising thing is that Tiffany, who thinks he's sticky and noisy and useless, is out to get him back, with the aid of a big iron frying pan and some very small blue people with kilts and swords. The little blue men are rebels against anyone and everything, and call themselves the Wee Free Men. They know the rules of fairytales that Tiffany has been pondering, the way to get Wentworth back, and how to give anything and everything a good fierce kicking.
If you're a fan of Discworld, you'll enjoy this book because it explores folklore the way "Lords and Ladies" and "Hogfather" do and magic/spirituality the way just about anything with the Lancre Coven or the Unseen University staff does. If you like fairytales and folklore, you'll enjoy this book because it explores what happens when the tales and the people they're told to interact directly. If you like children's books that regard children as intelligent beings trying to make sense out of the world and doing a fairly good job of it, you'll like this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lauren bishop
Adding yet another review to try and raise the overall rating of this book, in order to counter what is an incorrect rating for two wonderful books. Yes, this is a re-print. It actually saves shelf space, allows the publisher to keep both books in print for a lower overall cost, and probably saves the life of a kitten (not entirely sure about that last...LOL). Most people who pay any attention to what they're buying would notice that it clearly tells you what it is on the inside. If you're buying on the store, this is a risk where a traditional bookstore has the advantage. Learn from the mistake, look it up on Google and/or re-gift it to someone that would enjoy it.

As a regular consumer of books, I typically know when a favorite author has a new book versus a new edition of an old book/s. Seeing as this particular series has proven to be quite exceptional, anyone who doesnt own the first two books should definitely buy this compilation. Its a wonderful exploration of a young witch's maturation and journey toward adulthood. It also introduces one of the most interesting "faerie" creatures I've ever read about. The Nac Mac Feegles offer some of the greatest comedy in any of the Discworld books.

As for those who are so vindictive to actually try and punish the publisher by rating a book, they admittedly like, with a lower score, you could have looked a bit closer. Let The Buyer Beware! You're NOT helping anyone who may actually enjoy these stories by rating it lower. Additionally, how are they ever going to properly find the original editions when those are no longer in print? Give these two beautiful books (in one) a chance.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lin manning
This books is about a very serious nine-year who thinks she want to be a witch, the Wee Free Men (red haired, blue skinned folk), the Fairy Queen and the adventures there of. It is also a very funny and entertaining book that has the added bonus of teaching good lessons.

The book is set in the Chalk Country---visualize 19th century rural England---and Tiffany Aching is nine years old, but going on fifty (sorta like my daughter). She is a pragmatic little girl, who isn't above using her brother as bait. But at heart, she is a little girl who knows she is different from everyone else and wants to know why.

In the course of the book, she does find out why. And she finds out about a whole lot of other things-----including the Wee Free Men---the heart and soul of the story. When he is writing about the Wee Free Men, Mr. Prachet is at his best. You will find yourself laughing out loud (and at length) about some of things the Wee Free Men say and do. They alone are worth the price of the book.

The best thing about this book is the lessons that it teaches about self-reliance, trusting yourself and relying on others. There is no Harry Potter-type magic, just the kind magic that comes from the Chalk and from people's minds. It is a great children's book (which means it is perfect for adults) and is well worth reading. You and your children will certainly enjoy it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
susan h
"The Wee Free Men" is Terry Pratchett's second foray into Discworld-for-Young-Adults coming a year and a half after "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents" and six months after his last 'regular' Discworld book, "Night Watch". It revisits ground from "Lords and Ladies" and "Carpe Jugulum", which is fine, because with usual Pratchett flair, he tosses in enough wry satire, strange humor and generally good storytelling that you don't always notice when he goes back to some of his older material.
While the Nac Mac Feegle (the Wee Free Men last seen in "Carpe Jugulum"), little woad-tattooed Pictsies, do feature in a large chunk of the book, the heroine is Tiffany, a nine-year-old witch's granddaughter and budding witch herself who must be the singularly most sensible (but still likeable) character I've ever read in a book directed at an audience less than 18 years old. She struggles to cope with the death of a grandmother who, even though she died more than a year ago, has still had a huge impact on her life. She also struggles with making sense of the world - both as a young girl and as a human being, and she struggles with the Queen of the Elves/Fairies (last seen in "Lords and Ladies") in what becomes a metaphor for maturity and clarity in a large, scary world. Pratchett's moral is that just because you're not yet officially an adult, it doesn't mean that you can't understand the world any less well. This is a theme he's played with before, but it's always appropriate no matter how many times he brings it out.
As a huge Discworld fan, I really enjoyed this book - possibly even more than "The Amazing Maurice...", although it's probably not at quite the same level of literary excellence as his previous work. Fans of Pratchett in general will undoubtedly appreciate his jabs at academia, fairy tales and the Harry Potter series (which future books about Tiffany may someday parody more explicitly). For fans of Discworld, not only are Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle two of his more interesting creations (which is saying something), but the cameo by Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg at the end is delightful. Missing, though, is the obligatory cameo by Death - possibly for the first time ever in a Discworld book.
Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone regardless of age or knowledge of Discworld. As with "The Amazing Maurice..." the Discworld cosmology is relatively light, so if you're not familiar with the Disc, it won't get in the way of enjoying the book. If you are, though, his subtle touches and revisitations throughout the book make it a more integrated work than his last foray into Discworld-Young-Adult. Either way, though, it's a great book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kate ferris
Most of the negative reviews are from folks who thought this was a new title and are disappointed that it is just a new collection of the first 2 books of the Tiffany Aching series. You should beware that if you already have The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky, you won't be getting anything new here.

That being said, both books, and the Tiffany Aching series in general, are excellent comedic adventure tales set in Pratchett's Discworld. Background knowledge of the Discworld is helpful, but not necessary, as events in the other Discworld novels tend not to heavily impact the Tiffany Aching series, which is geared toward younger readers.

Although geared towards younger readers, there is plenty in there for adults to enjoy as well. Pratchett, like J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman, writes for children in a manner that doesn't insult their intelligence. The result is quality fiction that anyone can enjoy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The book is great, and the illustrations are so perfectly done. I own the non-illustrated version but had to get this version from the library to read it to my daughter. The images add a lot, for example the pictures from the Goode Childe's story book and the cutaway diagrams showing the spring activating inside the pointy hat. I love the little Feegles in the text, stealing letters and generally wreaking havoc. Unfortunately this version is out of print and I haven't been able to find a reasonably priced copy, oh waily waily!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
[For context's sake, I have been reading the Discworld books in publication order, though I'd read this one before any of the rest of the books. The Wee Free Men is #30. This review comes from my rereading.]

The introduction of Tiffany Aching and the Chalk area of the Ramtops is masterfully done. There's a depth to the area, a culture, and a pride that somehow goes beyond the short words allotted to its development. The idea of Fairyland as a parasitic dreamworld was particularly interesting, and the ties to Lords and Ladies was obviously missed on my first go-round, but were intriguing this time through (especially since Lords and Ladies is one of my favorite Discworld books). I loved the cameos by Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, though since I know them now, I wish their appearances had been a bit more prolonged.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
retta ritchie holbrook
Tiffany Aching, wannabe witch, is armed with a large cast iron frying pan. It must be cast iron as it make a very loud GONNGGG when she strikes something with it. She is from the Chalk country of the Discworld...and yes, this is the newest tale of that incredible flat world that is carried on the back of four very large elephants, which are carried through the universe on the back of A'Tuin, star turtle.
Fairyland has mounted an attack against Discworld using the Chalk country as its intended beachhead for placing monsters of every horrible and imaginable sort to overwhelm and dispatch the humans of Discworld.
Tiffany encounters a real witch, Miss Tick, and receives witchly tutoring from the overage witch. Discovering that her brother has been kidnapped, she allies herself with the Chalk's Nac Mac Feegle aka the Wee Free Men who are blue, six inches tall with red hair and are fiercely funny, funnily fierce or just fierce and funny all at the same time. The final encounter with the leader of Fairyland - the Queen of the Elves - has to be read to be totally enjoyed.
What ensues is Pratchett at his best! As in the previous Discworld tales, logic is illogically consistent and continuously funny.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
barry james
This is the story of Tiffany Aching, a 9-year-old farmers' daughter, living in a green, hilly, full-of-sheep countryside named the Chalk (DW). One day when she's walking by the river with her capricious baby brother Wentworth, she's attacked by Jenny Green-Teeth, a monster with long teeth and eyes as wide as eight-inch soup plates. Nightmares are invading the land.
Not long after, Wentworth is kidnapped by the Queen of FairyLand. Following the advice of Miss Tick, a witch she met at the village fair, and her talking toad, and with the help of the Nac Mac Feegles, the blue-skinned little pictsies with the strong Scottish accent, she arms herself with a frying pan and her Granny's book on Diseases of the Sheep, and sets off in searched of her brother.
Beside being extremely funny and packed with action, The Wee Free Men is also a really sweet book, full of Tiffany's fond memories of Granny Aching, who was a famous shepherd of the Chalk, and a kind of witch in her own way. It's a story both for adults and children, telling you to look at the World around you, and teaching you, in a light way, the respect of Nature or other moral values. This might well be my favourite Discworld book, I absolutely loved it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Terry Pratchett is one of the funniest writers alive. Who else could leave their readers laughing so hard that their guts are spilling out of their sides over the actions of a piece of luggage? (Earlier Discworld novel.)

It's been many years since I've read a Discworld novel, and I'm disappointed that I allowed so much time to elapse. I thought that Pratchett, like Piers Anthony, would have lost the freshness of his work. Boy was I wrong. NEVER make assumptions. As he did many years ago, Pratchett has told an engaging, interesting story, and filled it with sensational humor.

The story, centers around nine year old Tiffany, a "witch-to-be". Another world is colliding with hers, and all of the monsters are coming back. A witch from yet a different world is concerned that Tiffany can't handle the defense herself, and leaves to get help. But Tiffany is headstrong (a good quality for a witch) and insists on defending HER world on HER terms.

She also has the help of the Nac Mac Feegle - otherwise known as The Wee Free Men, blue skinned leprechaun-like fairy creatures whose priorities are stealing, drinking, and fighting - not necessarily in that order, and they're more than happy to have a good row to determine the order. They stand roughly six inches tall, but are so strong that trolls (we assume here that a troll is much, much larger than a Nac Mac Feegle) run away from them. There is only one thing they fear: lawyers.

As usual, Pratchett is a satirist here, and he spoofs what are becoming clichés in the post Harry Potter world. His observations on that account are both funny and enlightening, without being insulting.

The ending seems to be a "homage-montage" of sorts, offering nods to Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Amber, and other works. Tiffany finds herself beset with challenges that the brute strength of the Nac Mac Feegle can't solve, so she must struggle and face them with what she possesses most: common sense.

I have only one problem with this novel, and it is that there isn't a nine year old girl alive that's capable of what Tiffany is capable of - and that's no insult to nine year old girls, believe me! I wonder if, perhaps, Pratchett should have assigned her age at thirteen or fourteen - but even then I'm hard pressed to accept her remarkable resiliency and maturity under pressure.

But that's the only problem. It's an ingenious book, from beginning to end, and will entertain several different lobes of your brain at once - something most of Pratchett's books do quite well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michaela ainsworth
THE WEE FREE MEN is Pratchett clicking on all keys. It's absolutely superb -- better than MAURICE/RODENTS and right up there with GUARDS! GUARDS!, CARPE JUGULUM, REAPER MAN, THE FIFTH ELEPHANT and all the really top-notch Discworld novels that I adore (i.e., all the ones without Rincewind). The difference is that this tale will appeal to youngsters as well as to old-timers like me. It has the wit, intricate plot, fast pace, wordplay, gentle ethnic satire, sturdy young person with wisdom far beyond her years, scary scenes and magically vivid descriptions we've come to expect from our Terry. In other words, it's just about perfect.
I came away actually liking the Nac Mac Feegle, who have been for the most part caricatures in previous books. And, like a light-bulb flashing on, I now understand that on Discworld sorcerers are mostly flummerers (except for a couple of likeable experimenters) but witches -- THEY are the Discworld scientists!
Very seldom do I buy a hardbook book. You wouldn't either if you had arthritic fingers as painful as mine. But this one I couldn't resist, and I can hardly wait till September 30th for the long-desired paperback release of Pratchett's THE NIGHT WATCH!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
colin brown
This book was recommended to me by a friend- and I'm very glad I listened to him. :) The story was very interesting, and kept me enthralled until the very last page. The book was hilarious, and very well written.
I would recommend this book to anyone- provided that they're old enough to follow the story, and keep up with the vocabulary (I think 11/12+ is a nice age, though- every reader is different.).
This story made me laugh, it made me question my existence (... Alright, perhaps that was a bit of an overstatement.), and then it made me laugh some more. The world created in this story is the kind of fictional world that you're not-so-sure is fictional. If you like fantasy, you'll most likely enjoy this book very much. The book was clean, great for all ages, and I enjoyed it immensely. :)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I was hesitant to being the Tiffany Aching Adventure series by Terry Pratchett. I love his adult Discworld books so much, I was afraid his attempts at young adult fiction would be subpar and spoil his genius for me. After reading The Wee Free Men, I'm now just disappointed that I waited so long to read it.

While the familiar Discworld characters are absent, Pratchett's fabulous writing is not. The new characters rank right up there with the Discworld characters and the plot is not watered down for younger readers. If anything, perhaps it's not sufficiently different to account for younger readers.

The Wee Free Men are wonderful characters, complete with Scottish accents. Tiffany is also a wonderful new addition and has the makings of a wonderful, matter-of-fact, witch. Political and current events satire is missing, but the references to our own world is alive and strong and readers will enjoy making the connections.

Overall, another great book by Pratchett, in which he flaunts his writing range and mastery with ease.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Although this particular Discworld novel is considered a children's book, it was still a surprisingly enjoyable read.
The Wee Free Men follows the exploits of Tiffany, a nine-year-old girl who also happens to be a witch, though she doesn't yet know it. She is forced into battle against "The Queen", a miserable other-dimensional ruler who is kidnapping children from our world so that they can entertain The Queen in her world. Aiding Tiffany are the Nac Mac Feegle (the Wee Free Men) who offer up a strong offense against the Queen minions, as well as a great deal of comic relief for the reader. For those who read the series, this would technically fall into the "Witches" subseries of books, but they really only appear towards the end.
This one started off slow, but once the Nac Mac Feegle came onto the scene it kept me entertained the rest of the way. The Feegle are pint-sized Scottish parodies that fight, steal, make rude gestures, and have an uncanny fear of lawyers. Tiffany's no-nonsense approach in dealing with them works beautifully and you finish the book hoping that she becomes a regular in the Discworld universe. Classic Pratchett all the way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I was a little dubious about this book at first, but it turned out to be really good!

The characters were all really convincing, which made the book seem real. I really felt like the book came to life and I got really caught up in the adventures of the little blue men and of Tiffany. Their journey into Fairyland was really different. In most fairy books, it is a wonderful place that is lots better than mortal realms. In this book, though, fairyland was really frightening and eerie; a welcome change.

There were a few confusing parts, though. For instance, there are a few chapters in Fairyland that really don't make much sense, no matter how many times you reread them. BUt that just adds to the image that the author wishes to portray. The other part that can be confusing is the speech of the Wee Free Men. They have some kind of Scottish accent, so it is sometimes difficult to see what they are saying. Again, this helps create their characters.

ALl inall, this was good book. This was the first book by Terry Pratchett that I read, but I am sure that I will read more. Seems like a really good author
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matt gilligan
If you're already a Terry Pratchett fan (I certainly am), you don't need a reviewer to tell you that you'll like this book. I'd like to address this review to the many many readers who are looking for something really GREAT for younger readers.
Tiffany, a 9-year-old witch must save the world with the assistance of a herd of drunken angry red-headed six-inch-tall kilt-wearing Scottish fairies, who bear names like "Slightly Bigger Than Wee Jock But Not So Big as Middle-Sized Jock Jock" and "Rob Anybody."
The book is hysterically, laugh-out-loud funny for both younger and adult readers (my family looked at me funny as I was giggling the whole time I was reading it.) Although a girl is the hero, the rambunctious troublemaking Feegles will make the book highly appealing for boys (of all ages) as well.
It's actually serious in intent, though, with themes reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time or The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe series (the villain is a Queen who distorts people's consciousnesses and leaves a trail of frozen weather everywhere she goes). Tiffany saves the world through strength of character and common sense (and hooray for those!) rather than with magic alone.
As much as we liked Harry Potter around our house, I think that Wee Free Men is the equal of any of the Potter books. The best "kid" fiction of the year (or longer).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jim demicco
Nobody writes fantasy witches like Terry Pratchett! With "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents," Terry Pratchett took his Discworld series into young adult turf (actually, these aren't too different from the adult books). Now he sprinkles more grass seed on that turf with "The Wee Free Men."
Tiffany Aching (great name) is a young witch-in-training, which is complex enough. But now her spoiled, troublesome little brother Wentworth has been kidnapped by the Queen of the Elves of Fairyland (these aren't Tolkien's fair, nice Elves -- they can be quite mean), and in true legendary tradition, Tiffany has to find him.
So Tiffany arms herself with a talking toad (courtesy of witch mentor Mrs. Tick) a frying pan, and not much else. (She hasn't quite got her magic yet...) And her new allies as the Nac Mac Feegles, also known as the Wee Free Men -- they're tiny, tattooed, and quite feisty and funny. But even with the Wee Free Men on her side, the sinister forces of the Elf Queen may not let her get Wentworth back...
Terry Pratchett has a certain talent for creating skewed and funny fantasy ideas. The Wee Free Men are a bit reminiscent of ancient Celts and Picts with their tattoos, sheep,, drinking and swords. (They are, however, six inches tall) These guys are funny additions to the ever-growing flat world and hopefully we'll see more of them.
Pratchett's dialogue is still funny and sharp His writing style is minimalist, sort of a funnier, lighter version of Robert Zelazny. But even though this book is labelled as being for the kids, there's no dumbing-down. And he peppers this story with some not-so-nice sprites, an eerie fairyland, and the sinister knife-toothed grimhounds. Nice stuff, there.
Like all of Pratchett's best heroes, Tiffany isn't the typical kind. She has "First Sight and Second Thoughts," fights evil with a frying pan, and has a lot of doubts. She is, in short, quite likable and sympathetic. (And anyone with an annoying little brother or sister will understand her thoughts about Wentworth) The Elf Queen is a fantastic villain; the talking toad serves is an excellent foil for Tiffany. But the Wee Free Men steal the show.
It's anyone's guess how Terry Pratchett can write all these amazing books so fast. Kids and adults alike will enjoy "The Wee Free Men," with its quirky Brit-humor and likable characters. A keeper!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a coming of age fantasy that young teenagers will enjoy and an out and out comedy for everyone else. The main character, a young girl named Tiffany, begins her education when two worlds merge and her little brother is kidnapped by an evil witch. Wow! That's a new twist! Of course it isn't, but it's made fresh through the combination of whimsy and humor. The characters are cleverly drawn and the dialogue articulate and intelligent; a staple in Pratchett novels. Sometimes it works, sometimes its tedious (Small Gods), but in the Wee Free Men, it hits the mark more often than not.

The Wee Free Men seep into Tiffany's world and immediately learn to exploit its resources. They are an ancient culture and love the new world that has opened up to them. They especially like sheep. Indeed, they are a hardy, warring race and able allies in time of need. They are honorable to a fault and are often squashed, smushed or killed out of sheer adherence to tradition. It's honorable and pathetic (yet amusing) the way they throw themselves into their duty.

Tiffany finally decides to go into the evil witch's dream world with the Wee Free Men to save her annoying little brother. The witch's world is reminiscent of a dark, foreboding, Alice in Wonderland, Philip K. Dick dream. The inhabitants are many and varied, queer and untrustworthy. Yes, this is a very weird, fantastitillating place.

In addition to the Nac Mac Feegle (the little blue guys), Tiffany has another ally who helps her when things get troublesome; when she needs strength and guile. When Tiffany was a child, her grandmother frightened her because she was old, gnarly, tough and independent. She was thought to be a witch by the townsfolk. But, in spite of these attitudes, in times of need, she was sought after for her knowledge. She would have made a good general in WWII. The life lessons of her grandmother seem to bubble from Tiffany's subconscious when she needs it most.

I liked this clash of whimsy, fantasy and real values. Values rooted firmly in the earth. Tiffany eventually realizes that her Grandmother was not scary or crazy as some said; she was a woman who lived her life in her own way. This realization is touching. It's a catalyst that allows her to reconcile with the old women, now in heaven, and move on with her own life in a constructive and thoughtful way. Her Grandmother knew this would happen. In addition to being gnarly, she was wise, too. Very fun stuff!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
charlie dee
I've read a few of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels with general enjoyment -- but they have left me wondering for the most part exactly why they are so very popular. (Doubtless in part, as I have been assured, because I haven't read the right ones.) Put simply, to me they have seemed nice comic novels with some worthwhile gentle satire -- but by no means masterpieces. Now I have read what I think is my favorite Discworld book so far -- and perhaps not surprisingly it is not part of the main sequence. This is The Wee Free Men, the first of Pratchett's Tiffany Aching sequence of nominally Young Adult Discworld books.

Tiffany is a nine year old girl living in on the Chalk. She is part of a sheepherding family. She has older siblings and a very annoying younger brother, Wentworth. One day she is playing by the river when she encounters a bunch of tiny (six inches tall or so) blue men -- and a monster. She uses Wentworth as bait for the monster -- rather shocking, that, using her little brother that way -- but quite successful as well, for she is able to send the beast packing.

She thereby attracts the attention of Miss Tick, a witch. Miss Tick cannot practice magic on the Chalk, but she decides that Tiffany must be a witch -- and perhaps one who can practice magic. This is important because another world is impinging dangerously on this one (evidently Discworld, though one of the different features of this particular Discworld book is that really it could have been set just as well in our world, looked at a bit slant). It will be up to Tiffany to deal with this impingement. Luckily, she has the help of the little men she saw -- the Nac Mac Feegle, or Wee Free Men. Luckily too she has the memories of her Granny Aching, who must also have been a witch -- mustn't she? Even if all the magic she did seems to have had a sensible explanation. ("It's still magic if you know how it's done.")

And so Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle will find their way to the realm of the Faerie Queen -- or "Quin" as the Wee Free Men would have it. And a combination of Tiffany's resourcefulness and growing understanding with the Wee Free Men's vigor and absurd bravery will (of course) save the day. I liked the book a great deal. Tiffany is a wonderful character -- so too is her Granny. The Wee Free Men are hilariously portrayed. Little bits like the most horrible menace the Queen can find to face the Wee Free Men are just plain funny. And the story is sensible and humane as well. Not moralistic but essentially moral without being a lesson. There are at least a couple more Tiffany Aching books, which I will have to scare up.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tanya christensen
Finally a book with just the right mix of heart, action, fantasy, humanity and wacky unpredictability! This was my first voyage into Pratchett land and what a journey. I'd heard about his Discworld books but never got round to actually cracking the spine of one. Honestly, I have no idea if Wee Free takes place on Discworld or not. But no matter where the story takes place, Tiffany is a great, active heroine and the Wee Free Men are an absolute riot! That said, for our own wee ones, some of the under 10 or 11 set may have trouble figuring out just what the Nac Mac Feegle are saying as Pratchett has them chatting with their Scottish brogues fully intact. Things like, "...Crivens, we dinna want tae answer..." and "The Quin'll get tired o' the wee lad after a coupla months, mebbe." After a few pages of the Free Men's dialogue, though, it does get easier to understand and by your third page of it, those crazy little blue guys in kilts will have you rolling of the floor.

Keep 'em coming Terry, you crazy old coot.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mohammed ahmed
We meet a young girl about to discover a whole lot of things about herself and the world -and the other world.
She has the blood of her Granny and it appears the later may have been a witch...
One thing for it: when necessity dictates young Tiffany Aching must rely on her own resources.
Because necessity does dictate and so begins her relationship with the Wee Free Men...
This carries on for three books (a trilogy?) that makes for a brilliant journey.

This book is good for people between aged 10 and above. It deals in the realm of the witches, and some old favourites come into the story.
You can never have read a discworld novel and launch straight into this series. It will be a memorable experience.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bruce martin
Loved this book. It's great. I've seen lots of comparisons to Harry Potter. This book is a lot different than Harry Potter. It's not a fast or as meaningful but it's a great book. It's got a lot of Fairy Tale allusions and is a modern re-twisting of Fairyland. It's a great start to a series and I'll pick up the second book. The books text is nice an big. It's a fun read. It has some pretty heady ideas that may pass by younger readers but it's a great all ages book. I can't help but think that the title is totally wrong. It's a book about a young witch that's learning she's a witch (kinda like Harry Potter). She's from the farm so she doesn't have friends and journeys to Fairyland to save her little brother, ala Narnia, from the witch. The book is full of homages (is that a word) to other famous books and stories. You'd almost have to be up on your Fairy Tales and children's stores to get the jokes. It's a great book... but it's no Harry Potter.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Terry Pratchett is the creator of the popular Discworld series. The Wee Free Men - a "young adult" novel - is my first exposure to Pratchett's work, other than his collaboration with Neil Gaiman on the excellent Good Omens. The Wee Free Men features a nine-year-old girl named Tiffany Aching who may or may not be a witch. Her younger brother gets stolen by an evil queen from a land/world known as Faerie. The land has eerie similarities to popular fairy tales. Tiffany is an engaging character and the book is very fun. The fun especially picks up and begins when the Nac Mac Feegles show up. These little blue people with red hair are the heart of this fun novel. They are the Wee Free Men, and they are hilarious.

I rate this novel a very strong 4-stars. It is the first in the Tiffany Aching/Wee Free Men series. It can be enjoyed by readers young and old.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The walls of the worlds are coming together and monster will soon walk the land. But the event is happening in a region without a witch. One witch journeys to teach a possible hopeful to hold things together while she goes for more serious help. But nine-year-old Tiffany Aching is made of better stuff than suspected.
Right from the start Tiffany shows her promise as she manages to befriend the nastiest elves around and even gets them to help with her chores. But then Tiffany's brother goes missing so she and the Mac Nac Feegle (the six-inch, blue tattooed Pictsies of Scottish relation) set off to hunt him down and steal him back.
The story is fast moving, well told and an absolute must for fans of Granny Weatherwax. This is the first book of Tiffany and the Mac Nac Feegle and I hope there will be plenty more. The Scottish allusions and brogues are done to a T. The "logic" of Pratchett's Diskworld and magic system never waver. Very well done.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tralyn l
I am so glad that my first Terry Pratchett book (it will certainly not be my last) was an audio version. The narrator's own voice and the voices that he gave the characters added immensely to my enjoyment of a "children's book" that, I would imagine, is as enjoyable by adults as it would be by kids.

The focus of the story is Tiffany Aching, a 9 year old girl, born and raised on chalk, and how she discovers herself to be uncommonly gifted and a witch. It is with great hilarity that we learn with her the secrets of Grandma Aching and her knowledge of the Nac Mac Feegle (Wee Free Men) -- a band of 6 inch, kilt wearing, blue tattooed, hard drinking, thieving, fighters who accompany and protect Tiffany on her trip to Faerie to rescue her brother whom the Queen of Faerie has kidnapped.

Funny, touching, moving. Superior in many ways to the Harry Potter series in the world of "witchcraft" and fantasy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book is targeted to younger readers, but I had a blast reading it as an adult. It's well written and well paced, with characters you like and can sometimes identify with. Good humor, and excellent atmosphere. Definitely worth a re-read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
greg northrup
Pratchett really shines in his young readers stories of Tiffany Aching. Tiffany is a 9 year old girl born and raised on the chalk, where her family tends sheep. While she tries to cope with her sorrow over the death of her grandmother (a witch who never said as much), it becomes clear that she has inherited her granny's talent for witching. This is the first book in the Tiffany Aching series, which delves into the world of the tiny Mac Nac Feegle, tattooed blue sprites with flaming red hair and tempers to match. Here the MNFeegles help Tiffany with the general business of witching, and the specific business of rescuing her sticky little brother Wentworth from the Queen of Faerie.

Like all of Pratchett's books, The Wee Free Men is laugh-out-loud funny (almost too clever for young readers), and a joyous romp through the crazy Discworld that Pratchett has created.

- C.A.Wulff
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
david connors
I've wanted to read the start of Tiffany's story for some time and I absolutely loved it! Terry Pratchett is a wonderful storyteller and he had me in hysterics. Every time I read a Pratchett story, I realise that there is so much I don't see in this world and that my eyes are closed to so much. Thank you Terry for opening my eyes and to see the world and the way it works so differently!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
robert palmer
I steered away from all these Tiffany Aching Discworld books because I read they were for young adults and besides, the name "Tiffany Aching" conjures up such a horrible teenager (I can just imagine some Valley Girl dripping with sarcasm as she says, "Oh, Tiffany ACHING") that I didn't think I could stand it. But I've read all the other Discworld books and on a recent vacation to England, discovered my MIL had all three of these books, so I read them. I was pleasantly surprised, because it's almost as coherent a story as "Night Watch," which to date (to me) makes the most sense out of all the Discworld books. Maybe it's just me but a lot of times I find Pratchett's suspension of disbelief too much to take, or, I don't understand some of what he's saying about the workings of Discworld so I just blip over it. But this one was good. I recommend!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
liz thompson
I've finally found a children's series that I love as much as Harry Potter. Tiffany Aching is magnificent. My son and I read this together and we're on book two now. I can't wait until I can read it to my daughter as well. If you are looking for something to read that is as entertaining to adults as it is to children, that drips wisdom and humor on every page, you couldn't do better than the Wee Free Men.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kristin m in durham nc
This book contains the first two Tiffany Aching stories (see my separate reviews of the 2006 edition of The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky). Tiffany, a farm girl who is an expert cheesemaker and would-be witch, is a captivating, resourceful, and brave heroine. With the aid of Miss Tick and her toad and the rowdy Nac Mac Feegles (the pictsies or wee free men) she ventures into the world of nightmares to rescue her brother and another boy and prevent the two worlds from colliding. This is one of my favorite Pratchett works, full of eccentricity and fun. In the second story, again aided by the Nac Mac Feegles, Miss Tick, and Mistress Weatherwax, Tiffany must escape from a hiver, an evil entity that wants to take over her body. She is now apprenticed to Miss Level, a kind-hearted and rather vague witch who has two bodies. Both stories are entertaining, though the first is the funniest. Tiffany’s story continues in Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight and the posthumous The Shepherd’s Crown (out soon).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
There's Terry Pratchett. And then there's... well, basically, a whole load of other people. But few of these other people can tie you to a story like Terry can.
There's Tiffany. And then, well... There's her annoying little brother. Who only wants sweets and to go a-toylut.
Of course there's education. If it wasn't there, children would have too much time to play and playing wouldn't be fun anymore. There's also Education. About how life really works (when other people think that things are just as they are, or make perfect sense, it's always interesting to actually take a look...).
And then there's Terry on Education with a story of Tiffany and how witchcraft is about what things are really about. About the sound of silence, the comfort of an informed granny and the feel of a snowflake on your pointy nose.
There is, well, nothing like it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
caitlin coe
The Wee Free Men: The Begining by Terry Pratchett

This book contains the stories The Wee Free Men and A Hatful of Sky. Tiffany Aching is a witch. A pointy hat witch with no warts but never-the-less she is a witch. She demonstrates to her peers and constituents that she is a competent witch. This book chronicles her development into a witch and her early encounters with weird things and weirder teachers.

I hate saying I was wrong. My review of I Shall Wear Midnight was not terribly flattering. Well, I'm a convert. I loved this book and I think if I had read this first I would have loved I Shall Wear Midnight as well.

Prachett is known for his wacky humor but perhaps less obvious is the wealth of positive moral or value lessons that are adroitly inserted into the humorous rendition in this book. The Wee Free Men embody the characteristics of intoxicated soccer/football fans the world over. The innate moral fiber of Tiffany is stretched when she inadvertently leaves out some of her less beloved personality facets. She rebounds nicely and is able to integrate her first, second and third thoughts.

I am now a fan, I liked the value teachings, the humor and the stories.

I highly recommend the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rebecca fraser
Wee Free Men is a children's book, but in the great tradition of British children's novels: it can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. For my money, it is Pratchett's finest children's book. In the precocious, ferociously intelligent young witch Tiffany Aching he has created one of the great child protagonists in the genre. In the drinking, thieving, fighting and cussing Nac Mac Feegles, the Pictsies, the wee free men of the title, he has one of the comic forces of nature. The combination will make you laugh out loud. Repeatedly.

This 2008 edition brings Stephen Player's illustrations to Pratchett's 2003 novel. In some ways, some of the illustrations are a little too sweet. Tiffany Aching probably isn't that pretty, and I'm completely certain that Nac Mac Feegles are not nearly that clean or cute. But in other ways the illustrations are masterful. Tiffany's "unsuitable boots" are perfect. There are four delightful fold-out pages, the flashbacks are styled as diary pages, and the text of signs are set out as signs. The monsters are monsters, just short of terrifying, especially the dromes and the nightmares. And there's even a bit of new material for those of us who have read (and re-read) the book already.

The cameos by the Discworld's most famous witches at the end are spot-on. And Player's copy of "The Fairy Fellers' Master-Stroke" is inspired, even if the Feegle is being vulgar.

Too often, illustrations added later simply float over the story. Stephen Player's drawings, to a very considerable extent, add to the pleasure of the book. When Tiffany finds the way into Faerie, the fold-out drawing hides and reveals, just as Tiffany struggles to see with First Sight.

Player has brought new and additional delight to a delightful book. Very highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I really enjoyed this book. It beats Maurice hands down as a kids book. I think the major problem with some of the reviewers is that they didn't realise that it's a children's book. How can you expect Pratchett at his all time best when he has to take into account that his readers porbably definately haven't read Oedipus Rex or don't know the socio-political status of the world and its countries. That's not to say that the book is dumbed down because it's not. It's vastly hilarious and you can't help but love the Nac Mac Feegle. It gives you great insight into Pratchett's Witches and also offer's a new light on fairytale's to kids. All in all, another great discworld book and I hope to see the wee free men and tiffany back. hopefully even in the adult series.
I have the brittish version and the cover is way better. check it out
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Illustrated Wee Free Men is a fanciful fairy tale told with an enormous amount of wit and humor. This is the newest version of Pratchett's Discworld story. The original was released as a novel geared for youth, though it is sure to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching is growing up on a sheep and dairy farm and longs for a bit of magic in her life. Unlike the wizards and witches who wave wands and chant spells, young Tiffany offers a healthy dose of common sense and practical determination combined with an unhindered view of the world that allows her to see the realm beyond the ordinary and do what must be done to save her community and her young brother from the evil faerie queen.

Tiffany teams up with the fierce pictsies, the Nac Mac Feegle, also known as the Wee Free Men. The fact that the Nac Mac Feegle are blue and only six inches tall does not lessen their status as the most feared warriors amongst all faerie races. They are ruthless fighters, hearty drinkers, and unrepentant thieves who celebrate life and death with equal abandon.

Stephen Player's illustrations lend much to the tale and make this version of Wee Free Men a potential collectible. The drawings almost dance along the pages, often inserted as background shadow images or borders along the page. At times, the text on a particular page is re-arranged to accommodate the insertion of artwork in unusual places. Player's depictions of the expressions and physical stances of both Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men exactly capture how I would picture them to be when reading the story.

Pratchett's interesting characters have the wonderful habit if popping up now and again throughout his various novels. This continues to be the case with Wee Free Men. Whether you are new to Pratchett's Discworld series, or a longtime fan, I enthusiastically recommend The Illustrated Wee Free Men as one to add to your book collection.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deb lavelle
It is difficult to find enough adjectives of praise to do justice to Terry Pratchett's Discworld books (or his other works, such as Nation). He is the most consistently witty author of his generation, and of a few other generations as well. Some of the Discworld volumes are better than others, but the Tiffany Aching books stand out because they were intended as youth or young adult literature, and while I am sure they work very well as such, they also work on an adult level. The Wee Free Men / Nac Mac Feagles / Pictsies are a fabulous foil for the young heroine, and through all three volumes the dynamic between them, Tiffany and the various witches never becomes tiring. One of a true master's finest ....
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sam mahmoudi
This book was hiliarious. Possibly the funniest book I've read in over a year. When I started reading it I actually hadn't even bothered to read a summary. I can't remember if I started it or if I had someone start reading it to me. Probably the latter, because I remember them doing the voices for the Nac Mac Feegle first off. Funny stuff. I just want to start saying, "Crivens!" now because that line made me crack up. And Ratbag and the "baby birds" has to go down as one of the only scenes in a book I've laughed at for more than a day. I even made a friend skip ahead in the book to read it to him, I was that amused. Maybe it's because I'm a cat person.

I was expecting pure fantasy but in a way got more than that. It treats magic as common sense, more than the magic we would think of as magic. There's a whole lot of blustering on Pratchett's part about politics and the working man and how the working man sometimes knows what's best, better than the lawmakers do. Most of those scenes were Tiffany's flashbacks and I thought they worked well, if not to accent the moment in the book, but to give a bit of foreshadowing into what Tiffany was going to become. It's leading there the whole time and it warms you up for it.

Unfortnately, I felt there were some drawbacks. Wentworth became more a plot device to me than Tiffany's brother. Although she doesn't claim to love him, even her proclaimations of "he's mine!" do little to ease that particular pain for me. The addition of Roland also felt a little forced, although it's obvious why Pratchett felt it necessary to do so. Tiffany was opening her eyes, much like Granny Aching had, and really seeing; she would become in time what Granny Aching was in a lot of ways, and I guess he felt the parallel between Granny Aching and the Baron was necessary, to explain away much of the fairytale aspect in a nonmagical world. Although I think he could've left Roland as out just as easily. He spoke so much about Tiffany's First Sight and Second Thoughts that I believe there could've been a conclusion just as easily without Roland. I kind of felt as if the last scene treated his readers as though they were a bit thick, and had missed his "lesson" via Granny Aching's dealings with the Baron. It didn't ruin the ending, just made it weak. It also didn't really lessen my enjoyment of the book, just made the last few pages a bit boring.

The frog was a lawyer. Now they'll be no stopping those Nac Mac Feegle. XD
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
darren cools
I listened to this while driving to and from work. That's not necessarily a good idea: in some places I was laughing so hard that it may not have been safe. It's that funny. But there's some thoughtful stuff in here too, stuff about duty and compassion and determination and intellect that make it more than just a silly romp. If I have any complaint, it's that Pratchett sometimes switches between silly and thoughtful so quickly that I'm not yet in the mood to move from one to the other. Regardless, highly recommended. Oh, and the narration and voice characterization is excellent: I love it when I can tell which character is talking just by the reader's voice. I also had to resist letting a Feegle brogue creep into my voice between the times I was listening.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nicole yaguchi
Crivens! This is the type of book you just have to put down every now and then so that you can pause and savor it. "The Wee Free Men" has belly-splitting humor, great adventure, and some beautifully written passages, all tied together with skilful magic by master storyteller Terry Pratchett. This book was a huge influence on me and my own work, and I just loved the character of Tiffany. Any girl armed with a frying pan is tops in my opinion! What makes Pratchett so wonderful is that he knows that the devil is in the details--and he has lots of them in this tale (details, not devils...well, I guess, depending on your point of view, there are a few devils too). As far I'm concerned, Harry Potter needs to move over and make room for Tiffany. This book is excellent.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
What is a fairy tale? Evil lurking around, causing havoc, just to be defeated by good; a damsel in distress saved by a knight on his steed; an underdog raised to a position of importance; and they all end with a happily ever after.

So what happens when two worlds are about to collide and evil is about to take over? Who will save the day? If you think this is your typical tale about a hero saving the world from a nightmarish fate, you are right. Someone has to save us, someone who has power, someone who has wit, someone who will overcome fear and do what must be done. A hero of course, only instead of a steed and a sword, she wields an iron skillet, she is seven, and she is aided by a horde of wee blue, rambunctious, drunken, stealing, cursing, free-men.

Tiffany Aching, the daughter of a shepherd, wears an old dress that has been taken up and down so many times no one remembers where it came from, she wears an old pair of boots too big for her, she is already in charge of making cheese and butter from sheep milk for sale. She is a hard-working, sweet, responsible, intelligent girl. She likes books, she reads the almanac, and the dictionary, and knows her fairy tales. When the teachers come to town, she's always there, eager to learn something new. And she has magic, the kind of magical power that comes from the land, your land, that kind of power few understand, and some even fear.

A clan of wee-free men know what is coming, and will come out of their burrow to go looking for the one person that can prevent evil from taking over the world. Thus ensues a hilarious adventure that will take them deep into danger.

Tiffany is not your typical girl with her head full of princesses, pretty dresses and tiaras, and a prince charming riding his white steed to take her away for a happily ever after. No, she follows her own path, she fulfills her responsibilities, she wants to forge her own future. She is a role model I would definitely like my girls to follow. If I had any.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joseph rajan
Wee Free Men is a great book. But I have another problem.
Since when did the store get rid of their "Report a problem with this book's information" link? I can't find it, and I also can't figure out how to tell the store something is wrong. That's a shame. the store, if you're listening, the problem is that the Audio link in this webpage is the Hebrew edition! Yikes!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
amy medina
OK, I liked this book. Pratchett can really write. I prefer his children's books to his books for adults. This is not my favourite however.

Here we follow a nine year old girl that has just found out that she is a witch. The story is an old one. What I really like in the book is, of course, the wee free men - thrown out of Faerie land for being drunk and disorderly. Unlikely guardians for a little girl... Some of the minor characters are also very funny. Usually Prachett includes some clever description of curious phenomena in his books. Here we read about teachers following fairs, and giving lessons by the hour and receiving their salaries in groceries.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I've read these books before and I was buying them for my niece. I'm glad that there are two books and one because I can get her good head start on the series.

I wish the title were slightly different so that it was a lot clearer that these are just the first two books repackaged, but other than that I'm glad that it has both books because my niece is a voracious reader, and I think she'll really enjoy this.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Aching sets out to find her younger brother. But she is not alone. Accompanying her is a band of pictsies, the Nac Mac Feegle, little blue men who love to drink, steal and fight. Together, they will travel to Fairyland to confront the Queen and rescue both Tiffany's brother and the son of the local Baron. Along the way Tiffany discovers that she has special insights, and comes to understand her destiny, filling the shoes of her late Granny Aching.

A fun fantasy, with a smattering of silly and amusing scenes, this book also provides a bit of social commentary, but is mostly just good entertainment.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A delightful and unexpected read. Probably good for young people, but I'm all grown up and I loved it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
seonaid lewis
this book was a great fantasy book that really brought you there to where the action was happening. the main character, a girl who is about nine years old has to rescue her brother from the queen of nightmares. the wee free men help her as she is a witch (or going to become one in the next book!) Her grandmother was nice to the wee free men as she is. they help her a lot and remain faithful to her. they speak an accented language so it is difficult to read but once you get the hang of it it is really fun. This book was a great book for any girl or boy 9 years old and up. Happy Reading!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
majid tehrani
I love the main character Tiffany, and I also like the themes about being close to the land you're living in and trusting yourself. The Wee Free men are hilarious, perhaps a bit overwritten at times- but I can forgive that for the sake of some good comedy. I also really like his ideas about how witch's magic work. His ideas are actually very spiritual, but in a fun way, not in a pretentious way. A highly enjoyable read.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
tina signorelli
Read it twice and enjoyed it but not as much as I enjoy other Terry Prachett books. I like Witch Weatherwax and she had only a cameo appearance in this story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ken lifland
I don't care what the "official" write-ups for this book say: this is not just a book for teens. Outside of the fact that the protagonist is a child and some of the behavior/situations are somewhat simplified, this is standard Discworld fare. I've marked the book down from five stars to four because of this mild "simplification," but other than that, it's wonderful. Also, the book is much more funny than the latest Discworld novels have been. This is an excellent book to read with good pacing, a good story, and, probably most importantly, a very satisfying ending. Very enjoyable. Read it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bill pitcher
This is an absolutely delightful read. I have owned the hardback since it first came out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stella fouts
I'm an enormous fan of Terry Pratchett - unlike most fantasy writers, his prose style is spare and elegant. And of course, he's incredibly funny. But there is a philosophical depth to his work which can easily be missed for all the clowning. He has important things to say about religion, war, politics, and gender stereotypes.
The Tiffany Aching stories are intended for the youth market, but to me they are deeper, more serious and more poetic than most of the other Discworld novels. Tiffany, the apprentice witch, is a rich character, (far more engaging to me than Harry Potter, or Hermione, to whom she has been compared) and the Nac Mac Feegle are hilarious. Strongly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katy goodwin
This review is for the audio version of this book. The story was delightful, witty, and very funny at times. The narrator was brilliant! I laughed out loud multiple times, especially when the Nac Mac Feegle were involved. For some reason I was not familiar with Mr. Pratchett before this book and now I can't put them down. Perfect story to unwind to on my long commute from work. Great young adult book, would probably serve very well as an introductory book if you're trying to get your pre-teen interested in reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
It helps to be familiar with the Discworld milieu, but it is possible to read this book cold with no context and still enjoy it. The story is of a young girl who tries to rescue her brother from the clutches of the Evil Queen of Bad Dreams. Of course, this is NOT a "children's story" but more of a story for adults that happens to focus on a very young girl.

Typical of Pratchett, parts of this are laugh-out-loud funny, and there's interesting social insights hidden between the chuckles.

Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
morgan simon
I had read almost all of Terry Pratchett books when The Wee Free Men was released. Even though it was called a children's book I decided to pick it up for my collection anyway, plus the grandchildren may be interested. I fell in love with the Feegle's automatically! Tell me again why they call these children's books? I'm in my fifties and far from childhood! LOL And my gk's don't get to read them except on the weekends when they are staying with me. Don't let anyone borrow my Terry Pratchett books anymore. I've bought "Mort" four times because of that. Anyway, a five star rating isn't enough for these books! Love them and all others he's written! ;)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
denise pearson
This wonderful book had me laughing and thinking at the same time. The jokes come fast and furious. And, the depth of the 9-year old girl, her insights and the wisdom of her grandmother, as she understands who she is, is very profound. I wondered mostly, what age would glean the most from this. I guess 10 and 11 year olds would enjoy some of the jokes, 12 year olds would certainly get it, and adults.. no question it's perfect for them! Laura, litkidz.com
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
As always, Terry Pratchett's work is filled with laugh-out-loud humor, incredible characters, and deeper levels of meaning. This 'children's' book is no exception. Just finished reading "The Wee Free Men" and the next two in the Tiffany Aching series, "Hat Full of Sky" A Hat Full of Sky: The Continuing Adventures of Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men and "Wintersmith" (Wintersmith (Discworld)to my 7- and 9-year-olds (boy and girl). They LOVED, LOVED, LOVED all three. The humor provides a wonderful buffer against some of the darker themes, which might have been a bit too much if the humor wasn't everywhere. Just as things are getting a bit tense, here come the Feegles, fightin' and drinkin' and stealin' (and not necessarily in that order!). The Wee Free Men is a phenomenal book for children aged 7-70.

The fourth book in the series, "I Shall Wear Midnight," was, to my taste, too dark for younger children. Probably that one should be at least 12 and up (maybe 14).

I think these books are a bit too hard for younger kids to read on their own (though my 9-year-old re-read them herself) unless the parent is reading to them or they are pretty advanced readers. Great use of language throughout.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christina riewerts
As with much of Terry Pratchett's work, the story-line in the Wee Free Men takes place on Discworld, in this case on The Chalk. It is a story of a young witch's "coming of age." Tiffany must save herself, her brother, her new-found charges the Nac Man Feegle (a tiny group of men who remind me of rabid football fans)and of course, the world. She goes from churning butter on the farm to battling the Queen of the Elves and her grimhounds. Armed only with a frying pan and her memories of Granny Aching, Tiffany sets out on a wonderfully narrated voyage of adventure and self-discovery.

Anyone who has read even one or two of Pratchett's books (I read the book before I bought the CD) marvels at the sub plots, the message, the moral -- and this book does not disappoint. Many times, I set down the book (pushed the pause button) and just contemplated what I was hearing. Marvelous.

Stephen Briggs, the narrator, does a great job doing the voices of Tiffany, the Queen, the Nac Mac Feegle. He has the ability to keep the characters separate in my mind as I listen to the CD. When he switched from narration to dialogue it did not interrupt the flow of the story. This CD was worth every cent!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The witches of Discworld are identified by their practicality and ability to manipulate people. They believe in using as little magic as possible, and Tiffany Aching is no exception. This entry in the Discworld pantheon follows Tiffany dealing with the loss of her magical Grandmother, an invasion from the realm of faerie, becoming kelda of the Nac Mac Feegle, and rescuing her little brother from the evils of the faerie.

Terry Pratchett has ever been a favorite author of mine, and I've converted many family and friends to his work. But "The Wee Free Men" has taken him too new heights of reader entertainment. The adventure of Tiffany Aching is a beautiful combination of magical machinations and practical solutions. When your main weapon against the forces of darkness is a frying pan, hilarity must ensue. Toss on the pictsies in the form of the Nac Mac Feegle, who are less pixie and more scottish Pict, (a historically implacable foe and epitome of barbaric Scotland), and the fun just keeps on rolling.

In all, I heartily recommend this book for younger readers and old alike. The common, earthy european humor of Pratchett's other novels is left out of this one, which makes it all the more kid friendly.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leigh anne
This is one of my favorite books. I'd recommend it to anyone. It's a delightful fantasy with great values. A must read book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book was recommended to me by a friend that I consider to have a similar sense of humor, but I was not prepared for how funny this book is. It takes a while to get going, sometimes it was a bit confusing at first -- probably a function of not being able to read it straight through -- but once the story pieces are in place, it rollicks right along. Not that the entire book is funny, but the parts that are stick with you. I found myself trying to explain passages to my spouse and ignoring the fact that so much of the humor is inexplicable out of context. For starters, if you don't think the fact that many of the supporting characters are "pictsies" instead of "pixies" and are dressed accordingly is at least a teeny bit funny, you may be reading the wrong book. Some of the reviewers on this site have complained about the thick Nac Mac Feegle accents, but I think that style only serves to increase the giggle factor. Especially as an Amurrican who gets a kick out of how different peoples speak to one another.

There are storytelling elements that will feel familiar. I found myself having thoughts of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe as I was reading about the evil Queen and her land of eternal winter, though that may have been a conscious nod to the classic fantasy genre on Mr. Pratchett's part.

On the whole, however, this book gets 5 stars so that other people will read it. I am a certified book junkie who has had to limit the additions to my collection because it is getting too large. This one made the cut for purchase after I finished the copy I had checked out of the public library. I like to imagine that when my kids grow up, this will be the kind of book that they too will enjoy.

It was certainly good enough for me to write my first review for the store, a site I've been using since 1997.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kim brosan
Ok, now that we've all gotten over the arguably deceptive packaging (an argument for purchasing books in person in a real store, eh what?), can we agree that this is a convenient and inexpensive way to acquire the first two volumes of the Tiffany Aching series?

They're as marvelous as they were when they were single volumes, and you now have a convenient way to get a favorite young reader started on them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Wee Free Men, or Nac Mac Feegle, distrust Bigjobs (large people like us), writing, and reading. If they knew that the first two books about them were being reissued in one volume, with no fair warning, they'd cry "Waily, waily."

That said, if you or your child haven't read the Tiffany Aching series yet, by all means start with this one, and maybe you'll be caught up by the time the fourth one comes out. They take place in Discworld, and witches like Nanny Ogg play an occasional role, but you don't need any introduction to that series to enjoy this one. Each story is a further step in a young witch's coming of age, in which she must use her wits to rescue those most important to her, such as the entire world.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amy watkins
First Discworld story I've read in a long while - it's like visiting a hereditary home when you've been gone a long time. Entertaining, thought-provoking as only stories of dreams within dreams within dreams can be. I look forward to other stories of Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegle - maybe I'll read another one soon.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I waited a long time to read this book. I love Terry Pratchett and I thought . . . "A children's book I shant like it! He'll have to simplify!" But I was wrong, silly me I should have known better. If you already like Terry Pratchett there is nothing not to like here. If you are new to Terry Pratchett and Discworld, this isn't a bad place to start. You wont be too confused and you'll get in on the fun. Plus, if you don't like the wee free men your crazy! My inner monologue has not yet recovered. Crivens!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I love Terry Pratchett. i have read all of his books. i imagine that is the situation with many people who get started in Discworld. These books (both Wee Free Men and Hat Full of Sky are in this volume) are of interest to Pratchett or Fantasy fans from ages 8 to senior citizens. Great stories, humor, fast pace, memorable, and fun. Tiffany Aching is a compelling character. Who wouldn't love tiny blue guys, witches and adventure?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
thomas fackler
Despite being an adult I enjoy reading young adult novels, especially Terry Pratchett. The Wee Free Men is the best one I've ever read, a title it usurped from Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents. I don't care what genre someone writes in when they can WRITE! Like Heinlein in SF, Rex Stout in mysteries, Georgette Heyer in Regency Romance; Terry Pratchett is the best at what he does. And there is no second place.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amanda wilner
The best of Terry Pratchett - a genuine fairy tale. Funny, silly, profound, and wise. Full of quotes you will remember forever. We're going to miss you Terry - the stars that burn brightest disappear too quickly.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michael smit
The Wee Free Men is the story of Tiffany Aching, a wannabe witch, who goes to rescue her annoying little brother from the clutches of The Queen of Fairyland. It may sound like your run of the mill childrens' story but when you consider this comes from the genius of Terry Pratchett, it is anything but. Helping Tiffany are a swarm of tiny blue pictsies who live for stealing, fighting and drinking. Much to Tiffany's dismay she learns that they were previously banished from fairyland for being drunk and disorderly. So of course mayhem ensues.
What can I say about this book other than it is totally brilliant. I received the three Tiffany books as a present last year and have read them so many times the poor books are practically falling apart. Every time I need a pick-me-up I reach for them and even though I could almost quote passages I still find myself laughing out loud at the antics of the Nac Mac Feegles.
The two following books in this series are equally exceptional. There are wonderful new characters but I'm glad to say the Nac Mac Feegles are still the stars. As a lover of snow I have to say The Wintersmith is my personal favourite but The Hat Full of Sky is not to be missed. I am looking forward to the next in the series, in fact so much so I have already ordered my copy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Exciting, thought-provoking and riotously funny--in addition to being more tightly plotted than many of Pratchett's books. Just about the perfect YA fantasy!

Tiffany Aching is a wonderful, unique protagonist, and her titular sidekicks are a hoot. Only Terry Pratchett could take a fantasy novel about an old-beyond-her-years nine-year old, add a group of six-inch-tall Scottish hooligans, and turn it into a thought-provoking exploration of the living nature of stories.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
emily truman
This is an entertaining addition to the extensive Discworld series, although not the equal of 'Jingo' or 'Nightwatch'. The story stands alone well, and can be read without any reference to the rest of the series. While nominally a young adult book, it will be enjoyed by adults as well as kids (as is true for the rest of the series).
As usual, Pratchett produces a vivid combination of outrageous humour, twisted cultural and literary references, satire and keen understanding of human nature, in a book that is both funny and thought provoking. Young Tiffany Aching sets out to rescue her brother from the dark side of fairlyland, armed with a frying pan, a copy of 'Diseases of the Sheep', and the help of the Nac Mac Feegle, three inch tall, blue skinned, red haired pictsies who will fight, drink or steal anything. The Nac Mac Feegle steal the show (as well as the sheep), causing me to laugh out loud on several occasions.
This is, in many ways, an anti-fairy tale, turning the traditional fairy tale standards (and the modern sanitising thereof) upside down, giving us something that is more pragmatic, darker, and also more magical than typical Disney fare.
At one point Tiffany reflects that everyone knows that fairy tale adventures generally happen to girls with blond hair and blue eyes, or red hair and green eyes, and that girls with brown hair and eyes are generally left to be secondary characters. This is a book that, in the spirit of Munsch's picture book 'The Paper Bag Princess', rejects the traditional role of helpless princess waiting to be rescued and gives us a story for brown haired people who would much rather be the ones doing the rescuing.
In summary, this is a good addition to the Discworld series. Although not as good as the best books of the series, it stands alone quite well, and is definitely well worth reading. (Keep in mind that the four star rating is in comparison to other Pratchett, rather than your average book).
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Love, love, LOVE the Wee Free Men, vulgar gestures and all. Pratchett's latest contains almost all I have loved in my Pratchett Favorites(including Hogfather and Carpe Jugulum): humor, wit, and cleverly-created characters. The only reason I gave it four out of five starts instead of five was because it seemed a bit too dark to be considered a younger person's novel. I would have preferred the story to be a bit lighter, but it is still a keeper nonetheless that I am sure to reread like I have all my other Pratchett novels.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
My husband bought this book because our family is always looking for a new series which we can all read & enjoy together. WE travel alot so listened to it on the iPOD first. Our sons (14 & 12) enjoyed it. The story of Tiffany Aching & her Little blue friends has plenty of adventure while still getting the point across that all your choices have consequences. It is nice to have the protagonist be a self sufficient girl & yet there is none of the male bashing that seems to be so prevalent now. Tiffany soon realizes that being a witch isn't easy, in fact it seems like a lot of everyday Hard work. Granny Aching is one of my favorite characters simply because she was such an important part of Tffany's life. However, like many of us Tiffany didn't realize this until Granny was gone. We have already purchased the next 2 books & really hope Mr. Pratchett will continue woth Tiffany's aadventures as she grows up!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Pre-teen near-witch teams up with drinkin', fightin', stealin', swearin' blue men. Oh, and they're six inches tall and live in a hive society. Together, they have to defeat an evil nightmare-controlling creature from another dimension.

There's some of the Pratchett humour, a little of the Discworld mythos, in this first-of-a-trilogy. It has little overlap with the other novels except in the witch department.

The book is riotously fun to read aloud, if ye kin doo the Pictsie voices wit' a proper Scots/Pict accent. (And if not, watch "Trainspotting" to practice...) Crivens!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alexandru constantin
This is a truly wonderful book on so many different levels. It was refreshing to find a child hero who actually thinks, looks, sees and listens and who is guided by interesting adult characters (from little blue men to talking frogs.)

I especially appreciated the laugh-out-loud humor and multi-faceted view of Magic.

A wonderful, light-filled, magical literary gift after a Summer of tediuos Harry Plotter hype. To paraphrase one of the wee little men, what's the skill in waving a stick and saying a few magic words? (Pratchett is not a fan of Rowling's work - this novel almost seems like a conscious rebuttal of the more plastic and odious aspects of her series.)

What really counts is being able to see what the rest of us ignore. To wake up from the dream of life and experience the Real.

Also, blessedly, there is no school for magic. Rather, the entire world is a "school of magic" where you first take the test and then spend the next years figuring out how you passed.

Kind of like life.

I have been dreaming of finding a novel as rich, perplexing, nuanced, fun, engaging, hysterical, deep, meaningful... I could go on and on, but I'm preventing you from ordering this book and getting down to some seriously good reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
julie cate
Meet Tiffany Aching, a nine year old with a good head on her sholders and a good frying pan in her hands. She lives on the chalk where nothing special really happens (beside granny Aching). But suddenly shes being stalked by small blue men who could out cuss a sailor, making friends with a toad, and slamming the daylights out of Jenny green teeth with a frying pan. Then when her brother, Wentworth, is kidnapped by the Queen, she naturally goes to save him.
All in all, this book has wisdom abound........if you can open your eyes then open them again. Good luck and God bless, I hope you find success.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
pedro pereira
This book was fun- but it could have been really fun, and it ended up being only sort of amusing.

The problem is that for some reason Terry Pratchett decided to stick all this nonsense about morals into a perfectly wonderful plot. Who needs personal strength and integrity dumped on them by the bucketload? Reading it, I found myself thinking: Wow, what was he feeling guilty about when he wrote it?

Also I didn't like the protagonist, Tiffany, who was self centered, spoiled, and "bookish"- that I hated most of all.

Don't take me too seriously. I like complaining. Read it- you might enjoy places. Or don't read it- you'll live.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jenny nielsen
I love this book. The story is interesting, the Feegals are Hilarious! and our heroine is very real. Every time they call her "big wee hag" I laugh. Every time! The only thing I don't like is the name Tiffany, it's way too feminine for the character. I'm on the second book "Hat full of Sky" now and that one is again hilarious. LOVE the dialog of the Feegals, even though it takes getting used to (it's worth it!)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching follows in her Granny Aching's footsteps as an unlikely witch, to rescue her baby brother who has been kidnapped by the Fairy Queen. Accompanied by a talking toad and armed with her wits and an iron frying pan, she takes on an invasion from Fairyland, and creatures like water hag Jenny Greenteeth, a headless horseman, and hounds with fiery eyes and razor teeth. She allies herself with the Nac Mac Feegle (the Wee Free Men), six inches tall and covered with blue tattoos, who have abandoned Fairyland and its treacherous Queen to live free. Famous for "stealin' and drinkin' and fightin'," they exuberantly plunge into Fairyland with Tiffany to encounter the Queen and her nightmare world with "monsters exactly as bad as you can think of."

Tiffany's clear-sighted common sense and propensity to think things through, coupled with her commitment to fight for the ones who have no voice, which she learned from her Granny, see her through. She is grounded, as a witch needs to be, in the earth where she was raised. In fighting the Queen's dreams the secret is to wake up, to know where you come from and where you are going. The plays on words and banter are also great fun, and the action and humor in this post-modern fairytale will make it a great hit with readers far beyond Pratchett's Discworld base.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Wee-Free Men remains a favorite book of our children and the hardcover illustrated version does magical justice to the fabulous story. I wish all of Pratchett's stories were illustrated by Stephen Player. I wholeheartedly encourage readers of all ages to get the illustrated version. It's beautiful!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
per arne hoff

`Are you a witch?' said Tiffany. `I don't mind if you are.'

`What a strange question to spring on someone,' said the woman, looking slightly shocked. `Your Baron bans witches in this country, you know that, and the first thing you say to me is "Are you a witch?" Why would I be a witch?'

`Well, you're wearing all black,' said Tiffany.

`Anyone can wear black,' said the woman. `That doesn't mean a thing.'

`And your wearing a straw hat with flowers in it,' Tiffany went on.

`Aha!' said the woman. `That proves it, then. Witches wear tall pointy hats. Everyone knows that, foolish child.'

`Yes, but witches are also very clever,' said Tiffany calmly. There was something about the twinkle in the woman's eyes that told her to carry on. `They sneak about. Probably they often don't look like witches. And a witch coming here would know about the Baron and so she'd wear the kind of hat everyone knows witches don't wear.'

The woman stared at her. `That was an incredible feat of reasoning,' she said at last. `You'd make a good witch-finder. You know they used to set fire to witches? Whatever kind of hat I've got on, you'd say it proves I'm a witch, yes?'

`Well, the frog sitting on your hat is a bit of a clue, too,' said Tiffany.

`I'm a toad actually,' said the creature, which had been peering at Tiffany from between the paper flowers.

`You're very yellow for a toad.'

I've been a bit ill' said the toad.

`And you talk.' Said Tiffany.

`You only have my word for it,' said the toad, disappearing into the paper flowers. `You can't prove anything.'

`You don't have matches on you, do you?' said the woman to Tiffany.


`Fine, fine. Just checking.'

Again, there was a pause while the woman gave Tiffany a long stare, as if making up her mind about something.

`My name,' she said at last, `is Miss Tick. And I am a witch. It's a good name for a witch, of course.'

The Wee Free Men is a story about Tiffany Aching, a smart nine-years-old girl who wants to be a witch. She will experience an adventure of a lifetime while trying to get her brother back, who has been stolen. With her frying pan, Granny Aching's magic book and the Nac Mac Feegle (Wee Free Men), she will take on this quest to find her brother and save her town from nightmares.

It all started out one day when Tiffany went to smack Jenny who was about to eat her brother with a frying pan. Fortunately, Miss Tick and the Wee Free Men were there to see her so they could identify that Tiffany was the witch/hag. A few days later, Wentworth (Tiffany's brother) gets lost and the whole Aching family is searching for him. Tiffany then finds out from the Wee Free Men that the "Quin" stole her brother...

As Tiffany finds the portal to the Queen's realm, she encounters some problems. These "problems" aren't your normal everyday problems. They are hard deal with. Such as battling Grimhounds and becoming the Kelda (boss) of the Nac Mac Feegle. She will also have to looking inside herself with the "first sight" to find the portal to the Queen's realm and get out.

Once inside the Queen's realm, Tiffany finds herself in trouble. Everywhere, there are dreams! These dreams are made by dromes (monsters that make dreams and lure people inside, used by the Queen for guards) and if humans eat anything from inside the dream, they will be stuck in it forever. Thanks to the Nac Mac Feegle, Tiffany was saved from an eternity of suffering in a dream. In the next dream, she finds herself face to face against the Queen. Will she triumph over the Queen and seal up her realm or perish along with all the Nac Mac Feegle?

Through this quest, she will learn the qualities of becoming a witch and a good leader. She will get to learn how to properly use her First sight and Second thoughts. First sight is seeing what is really there, second sight is what normal people have; they see what they think is there. Second thoughts are just, "second thoughts."

This book is very fast paced and it speeds through the events, but amazingly, in great detail. I had to reread some parts to understand them. I would recommend this book anybody above the age of eight and those who have an interest in adventure and fantasy. This book was fantastic!

Terry Pratchett was born on April 28, 1948, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England. Terry published his first short story at the age of 13 and was paid £14. He quit school at the age of 17 and was employed as a local newspaper journalist on the Bucks Free Press. After he joins his company, he kept moving on to bigger newspaper companies. In 1987, Terry realized that he could make a living by writing books. So began his career.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Terry Pratchett's books are always good, and this one is no exception. Perhaps a good jumping on point for new readers if his as it's most definitely Discworld but doesn't require any knowledge of how Discworld works to enjoy. The less YA themed ones don't either, but this one doesn't get as deep into the mechanics.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sharon duff
The Wee Free Men is Terry Pratchett's latest children's book and it is a superb one, I must say. It took me a while to get into it - the Feegles seem to have been simplified a little for a younger audience, and there are some similarities in the plot to Equal Rites - young witch being trained up to fight the big bad monsters. The witch is a typically independent, doesn't-run-with-the-crowd, perceptive, bright kid - reminiscent of Susan Sto-Helit. From my perspective though, Pratchett's already kind of been there, done that - the witches are starting to look (dare I say it) a little bit like a formula.
As well as those little blue guys, we get cameos from Granny doing a surprising amount of jommetry and Nanny who is surprisingly quiet, and a supporting role for the Queen of the elves. It's pretty good fare involving soem dream manipulation.
Finally, it's good, but I still crave for the witches of Carpe Jugulum, where I was admittedly scared about what was going to happen. Surprisingly enough, I think I'll just read it over again!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mohamed darwish
Terry Pratchett won a Carnegie Medal for his first children's book set in his Discworld, "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents." He has a good shot at a second award for "Wee Free Men." It's that good.
Nine year old Tiffany Aching was born on The Chalk. The Achings have lived on The Chalk and tended their sheep for centuries. Tiffany's grandmother was the matriarch of the Aching clan, and while she never called herself a witch, she never denied it, either. Tiffany is still trying to adjust to the death of her grandmother, and to the birth of her sticky little brother, Wentworth, when she is attacked by a monster out of Faerie. One thing leads to another, and before long she must rescue her brother from Faerie, be the kelda of the Nac Mac Feegle, the Wee Free Men of the title, and save the world from the terrors of Faerie. Because there is no one else.
One of Pratchett's many skills is inversion. In "Amazing Maurice," he inverted the Pied Piper of Hamlin. In "Wee Free Men," he inverts children's fairy tales in general. Instead of a magic sword, Tiffany has a plain old iron frying pan. Instead of a wise mentor, she has a toad who used to be a lawyer. Instead of an army, she has the Nac Mac Feegle. The Queen of Faerie, Tiffany's antagonist, is about as far from a noble Tolkien elf as you can get. Because the Queen of Faery has the power to steal your dreams, your worst nightmares, and trap you inside them.
And Tiffany must confront the Queen on her own ground, in the land of nightmares, where the monsters are terrifying and real. You don't have to reflect very long to understand Pratchett is working at several levels. The themes are meaningful and accessible to children without the slightest condescension.
Some of the characters - the Queen herself, the Nac Mac Feegle, and wonderful cameos at the end of the story - are familiar from other stories. But as was the case with "Amazing Maurice," you don't have to know the other Pratchett stories to relish "Wee Free Men." This is masterful story-telling, hysterically funny and very scary by turn. Pratchett is very, very good, and this story is one of his best. Highly recommended to both children and adults.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Reviews at the store are becoming increasingly useless. We have customers giving a one star review to a seller in the mistaken belief that they are leaving feedback, customers who think a thousand page novel should cost exactly the same as a 200 page novel and are so seriously pissed off that it doesn't that they start screaming about boycotts, and customers who couldn't be bothered to do even the most basic research and discover a "vast conspiracy" by either the author or the publisher or the store to screw them out of their hard earned cash by packaging older novels into an omnibus edition. Omnibus editions have been around for years.

How about this: Did you enjoy the book? How does it rank among other books by the same author? Is it better or worse than other books in the same genre?

I enjoyed both books in this case. I like the author's work in general and think that this series is some of the best writing for children in years. For those looking to save a little money or for whom shelf space is limited this omnibus edition is the way to go.

Was that so hard?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
clark landry
Full of humor, magic, and retrieving that which was stolen with help from the Wee Free Men. A full five stars!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amy karaban
A lovely YA novel that also translates well for adults, and the introduction of a new sub series within in the Discworld. Although set in the Discworld, this is very much a standalone work, with only a few of the Discworld witches making an appearance. The Wee Free Men and Tiffany make a formidable and hilarious team as they venture into the realm of the Faerie Queen to recover Tiffany's little brother. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stephanie ortiz
The book is worth reading for the beginning chapters alone, although it gets a bit bogged down by the end. Pratchett has a knack for exposing insights about this world in a fantastical setting, and this book doesn't disappoint in that respect. It mentions the rest of Discworld only in passing, so you need not have read any other Discworld book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
putri wilda kirana
Terry Pratchett does not dumb down his books for children, so they are all also great reads for adults. WFM is no exception. OK, the Nac Mac Feegle have had some of their language simplified since Carpe Jugulum but that is about as far as any dumbing down goes.
Somehow, rather than thinking of this as a children's Discworld book, I can't help feeling that it is actually just another book in the series which is based in an area of the Disc which hasn't been used before. It must be fairly close to Bad Ass and Lancre because Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax appear at the end but otherwise it is a new bit of the Disc which PTerry hasn't brought to our notice in the past.
Tiffany is suitably "witchy" and has proper family values (i.e. she doesn't like her brother but he's *her* brother!). Miss Tick is suitably out of place on the Chalk.
Great book, great story, hope the character appear again!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Not enough superlatives for his writing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mary martha johnson
These are two of my favorite humorous fantasy books. It's a shame that the ratings are dragged down by people disappointed not by the writing, but by the way the publisher packaged and titled it. So, if you haven't read The Wee Free Men or A Hat Full of Sky, do look past the ratings: this is a great place to start on some of Pratchett's best writing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Wee Free Men written by Terry Pratchett is a great book because it has a lot of adventure such as a girl fighting with fire-eyed dogs,and headless horse men attacking the girl. In this book,you get to go along on the adventure with the girl,Tiffany,trying to save her brother from an evil queen.

I think you would like this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Well, Pratchett is on everybody's mouth by now (and if he isn't something's seriously wrong) so I would consider him a must read, at least if you have a sense of humor that is. As a satire, it inspires thought, as a children's story, is filled with, well I don't know, but any kid introduced to Pratchett should become an avid reader (or burn at the stake). Don't read the review, buy the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rana mahmoud
Great book! The wee free men were funny and the little girl very relatable. Over all the relationship between them was endearing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andrea repass
This is a very very very good book! It has humor, and philosophy mixed in. The Nac Mac Feegle are beleivable, and amazingly funny. What I really like is the dialogue of the Wee Free Men, and how they talk. Tiffany is very smart, but not in any way annoying. I think the characters in it really make this book a great one. Read it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I love this book, the characters: the wee free men, Tiffany Aching, the other witches, everything! I eagerly got the second book. And since then I've read the 3rd and 4th. I can't get enough of this series. The little blue guys are so funny. What a way to look at the world!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I was a bit concerned that since this book was called a "Discworld" novel I may not understand it well, this being my first of Terry Pratchett's novels. I should not have worried, this book, which is aimed to teens, is great standing alone. It tells the story of Tiffany, a young girl, whose baby brother goes missing. With a little help from a witch, and some little (but extremly strong men) called the Wee Free Men she sets off on a quest to capture her brother from an evil Queen. I really adored Pratchett's writing style, it was very vivid. In fact, the whole book was good, except it dragged a bit in a couple of chapters near the end, and some areas I felt he skimped on details. I also loved how the Wee Free Men talked. I will be checking out his other work now!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ta tanisha
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett may not be a particularly challenging read, but it is a very fun one. The Wee Free Men is the story of a little girl, Tiffany Aching, who isn't afraid to challenge the normal way of thinking; for example, she would prefer being a witch to a princess and measures exactly how big a dinner plate is to use for future reference. Tiffany Aching soon finds herself in a world where monsters are real, as well as the Wee Free Men themselves (little blue Scottish men that enjoy drunkenness and fighting).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kirsten kotsopoulos
Pratchett's take on physics, the nature of time, lawyers, country folk, elementary education, The Scots, pop culture and many conventions of the fantasy novel amuse me to no end. This is a thinking person's book, referencing thoroughly modern theories of all of the above. These references are embedded in a fantasy quest story true to the genre - there's a resented infant sibling to be rescued, magics working against the heroine, a cast of insane helpers, inner powers as yet undiscovered, and a handful of lawyer jokes.

Brilliant, with lots to ponder once you've put the book down. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
cheryl grey
In his second Discworld novel for young adults, Pratchett takes us to "The Chalk", a rough land where sheep farmers eke out a meager existence, and six inch-tall Nac Mac Feegles fight with just about anything that moves. Onto the scenes strides Tiffany, a nine-year-old would be witch who gradually discovers a sinister plot by the Queen to unleash monsters against her home while abducting her brother Wentworth. Themewise, "The Wee Free Men" covers much of the same ground as earlier novels featuring the witches, including the strength of folk wisdom and the importance of self-reliance. The story celebrates Tiffany use of intelligence (and a well-placed frying pan) rather than magic or physical strength.

Which is what we expect from Pratchett, of course. But this novel strays from the course in some respects, in ways that are hard to put your finger on. For one, particularly towards the ending it grows sappy. Long passages abandon Pratchett's trademark razor wit and go for an emotionaly glurge in Tiffany's moments of self discovery. And the overall structure of the narrative just jumps around too much, making it hard to keep track of. We also get discussions of government, class conflict, witch hunts, academics, lawyers, and lots more. In fact, the story is almost too densely packed this time, and for whatever reason it just doesn't add up to a towering accomplishment. Try "Guards! Guards!", "Mort", or Small Gods" instead.

There are, of course, flashes of the trademark Pratchett humor. The high point, in my humble opinion, are the excerpts from a book of folk remedies for diseases of sheep. But overall "The Wee Free Men" simply isn't destined to become a classic. Great authors must take risks, and if you take risks then by definition a few of your projects must fail. This books reminds us that even the greatest living fantasy author can't be perfect on every single occasion. Better luck next time, Terry.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lauren masse
My grandmother has been trying to get me to read this series for years. I finally gave it another shot and I am so glad that I did. It is laugh out loud funny. I kept my husband awake laughing and reading excerpts aloud to him. It deserves to be read and heard aloud.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
celia christensen
I have read at least a dozen of Terry Pratchett's books and have enjoyed every one of them. I pre-ordered this and was going to pass it on to my niece who is 13 when I was finished. This was a very difficult story to read in part to the speaking and then writing of dialect of the Wee Free Men. I found that it wasn't funny and as the story progressed, they spoke even more making it even more difficult to read as an adult let alone a child. This is supposed to be a children's book isn't it? I didn't think the story to be nearly as good as "Amazing Maurice", "Soul Music", "Mort", or "Unequal Rights". Those all highlighted the wit of Pratchett as well as his different sense of humor. I found this missing throughout this book. Not a bad story but not equal to his previous efforts. Discworld is his strength, with characters such as the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick,the Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully, the Librarian, Rincewind, the Bursar, the Watch, Vertineri......He should stick to his strengths. Anyway not a bad book just not up to his other works.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michael turkell
I've always loved authors who turn all the fairy tales upside down and sideways. This is one of those wonderful books that looks at the myths of our culture and really shows the framework in a way that is both critical and hilarious. Here, Tiffany is the unlikely heroine who would never center in a fairy tale, since she's not a princess, blond or helpless. But she is also the only person with the right qualities to save her village from the encroaching fairy queen.
I think every young adult should experience books like this one. There are so many books that shaped the adult that I have become, and I would love to see the future adults shaped by this book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
benjamin yeo
Dear friends were going "offski", exclaiming "Crivens!" and such, and I had to find out what was behind it all. It's a fractured fairy tale about good witches, miniature men, and an evil queen. Narnia meets Monty Python in this funny, insightful yarn.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Refreshingly funny! Love the humor!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
First sight and second thoughts, the ability to see what's there and to watch what your thoughts are really, treacherously, getting up to without you even being aware. These are just some of the concepts that make Tiffany Aching a wonderfully unexpected bad ass hag ready to get down and dirty with the faeries. Just wait until you find out about "spill words" in later books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
danilo amaral
Extremely funny and has a great plot
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leonard pierce
I ordered this book for a middle school library on the basis of the reviews in some professional journals, and then felt the need to check it out myself, and I was SO INSTANTLY delighted with it that I had to immediately read it out loud to my brother (who was 16, by the way), complete with Scottish accent for Feegles. This was the first Terry Pratchett book I had ever read, and I soon became a Terry Pratchett fanatic. It is not only funny but clever, and the plot is interesting and deep.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
betsy the muffin
The Wee Free Men was not only funny and insane, but also serious and interesting. Luckily, I got more laughs out of it than I did frowns. The wit and cleverness was definately controlled, but not too controlled. The language the Nac Mac Feegle use is a little hard to understand so that is why I reccomend listening to it on tape or CD. I mean, you have just got to love a book about a girl with a frying pan and a bunch of little blue men with orange hair. I did. My whole family has read or listened to it and we were extatic about it. It is a fabulous book to read. Just fabulous.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A young girl whose life consist of makeing cheese and watching her sticky brother, suddenly finds where would being altered a little. With the memories of her grandmother and the help of the Nac MacFeegle (aka the Wee Free Men) she must battle the fairy queen to get her brother back.

The Feegles are little blue pixies that have been thrown out of fairy land. They are not afraid of anything because they think they are already dead and must have lived a good life to get to go to such a great place.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
claudia c
Terry Pratchett can make you laugh, worry, turn pages and sigh deep, satisfied sighs. This book seemed to me to have an extra good dose of laughing. The Wee Free Men really should not be missed!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jenn lindsay
I love the way Tiffany thinks and the way she makes me think. Using sense are magic is amazing and makes me want to be better. It is also very entertaining and I love a good witch story. Witches are always better then vampires.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This was the first Terry Pratchett book that I read and it made a fan out of me. This is the first of a series involving the "wee hag," Tiffany. I have been giving this series to others now. Well done!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Don't let the fact that this book is targeted towards children fool you. This book has all of the wit and charm that you have come to expect from Pratchett's books. Tiffany Aching is a bright young girl who is much more together than most of the adults in the story and the Nac Mac Feegles are some of Pratchett's funniest and most indearing characters to date. This book is deffinetly worth picking up no matter your age.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a really wonderful book I highly recommend
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
louise mcormond plummer
My title pretty much says it all. This is a great book for preteens to adults and is currently being sold at a killer price. I paid $25 for mine. I believe Stephen Player isn't thrilled with the quality of the printing of his pictures (the colors got a little warped) but I doubt any reader will see a problem with them.
Please Rate (Discworld Novel 30) (Discworld series) - The Wee Free Men
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