Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Wee Free Men

Terry Pratchett
Harper Trophy, 2004

Nine-year-old Tiffany doesn't care a fig for her baby brother. She resents the fact that he usurped her place as youngest child, resents having to watch over him all the time. So when she notices a strange creature lurking in the stream near her home, she doesn't hesitate to use her baby brother to lure the monster out so she can give it a good whack with a frying pan (before it gets anywhere near baby brother, of course).

Tiffany's bravado impresses a band of small, blue-skinned rouges that go by the name of Nac Mac Feegles, otherwise known as the Wee Free Men. When Tiffany's baby brother goes missing a few days later, they tip her off that he's been stolen by the queen of a nightmare fairyland that's invading Tiffany's world.

Armed with her frying pan and accompanied by a mob of tiny rebels, Tiffany marches into fairyland. It isn't so much that she cares about her baby brother. It's that the queen stole something from her, and Tiffany means to get it back. But in order to do so, she has to discover another weapon--the magic inside herself.

This book is Terry Pratchett at his best.  Lively humor from the antics of the Feegles, cunning word play, delicious satire, deep beauty, and ancient wisdom all play together to create this delightful coming-of-age story about a young witch-in-training named Tiffany. Recommended for ages nine and up.