Review by Booklist Review
Gr. 6^-10. Pratchett turns the bogeymen of fairy tales and nightmares into reality in the latest book in his popular, comedic Discworld series. Young Tiffany Aching, incipient witch armed with a large iron frying pan, goes after the Elf Queen, who has taken Tiffany's little brother into Fairyland and who plans to use humans' dreams to conquer their world. Tiffany's companions on her quest are a talking toad, who used to be a human, and a band of fierce Wee Free Men, who are six inches tall, talk with a Scottish brogue, and are famous for "stealin' an' drinkin' an' fightin'!" The action is both manic and a little scary as the queen confronts her pursuers with a headless horseman, dreams that trap dreamers inside them, and more. In the end, Tiffany must face the Queen alone while attempting to sort out reality from nightmare. Both the humor and the danger will appeal to fans of Discworld; they will also draw readers who like J. K. Rowling's Harry, Hermione, and Ron. --Sally Estes
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
This tale set in Discworld stars a plucky young witch-in-training who, according to PW's starred review, "will win over not only readers but the title characters, (somewhat) lovable imps who exude a certain charm despite their innate and unrepentant kleptomania." Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-7-Tiffany, an extremely competent nine-year-old, takes care of her irritating brother, makes good cheese on her father's farm, and knows how to keep secrets. When monsters from Fairyland invade her world and her brother disappears, Tiffany, armed only with her courage, clear-sightedness, a manual of sheep diseases, and an iron frying pan, goes off to find him. Her search leads her to a showdown with the Fairy Queen. It is clear from the beginning that Tiffany is a witch, and a mighty powerful one. The book is full of witty dialogue and a wacky cast of characters, including a toad (formerly a lawyer). Much of the humor is supplied by the alcohol-swilling, sheep-stealing pictsies, the Wee Free Men of the title, who are six-inches high and speak in a broad Scottish brogue. (The fact that readers will not understand some of the dialect won't matter, as Tiffany doesn't understand either, and it is all part of the joke.) These terrors of the fairy world are Tiffany's allies, and she becomes their temporary leader as they help her search for the Fairy Queen. Once the story moves into Fairyland it becomes more complex, with different levels of dream states (or, rather, nightmares) and reality interweaving. Tiffany's witchcraft eschews the flamboyant tricks of wizards; it is quiet, inconspicuous magic, grounded in the earth and tempered with compassion, wisdom, and justice for common folk. Not as outrageous and perhaps not as inventive as The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (HarperCollins, 2001), The Wee Free Men has a deeper, more human interest and is likely to have wider appeal. All in all, this is a funny and thought-provoking fantasy, with powerfully visual scenes and characters that remain with readers. A glorious read.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
(Middle School) Tiffany Aching is a very practical-minded girl, and when nightmarish monsters from the fairy world begin showing up at her home on the Chalk, Tiffany doesn't wait for help to arrive, but instead sets out to stop them herself. The Chalk had formerly been under the protection of Granny Aching, who knew more about sheep than anyone living; now that Granny is gone, Tiffany has inherited both the Chalk and, it seems, Granny's witchcraft. In addition to exporting monsters, the fairy world's Queen is also kidnapping people into her realm--the Baron's son Roland, for one, and Tiffany's little brother Wentworth. Being the sort of person she is, Tiffany takes this quite personally and determines to bring Wentworth back. She is joined in her endeavor by a troupe of tiny, red-bearded, blue-tattooed men called the Nac Mac Feegle, or Wee Free Men, whose thick Scottish speech, berserker attitudes, and lack of social graces lend the book much of its comic charm. (One of the book's funniest set-pieces is the awkward scene in which nine-year-old Tiffany, as the new kelda, or leader, of the Nac Mac Feegle, is expected to select a husband from among the six-inch-high men.) Pratchett's touch is light but assured as he steers the tale easily between magical adventure and the just-as-interesting ordinary life on the Chalk, with comedic interludes, hair-raising danger, and flashbacks to Granny Aching's shepherding wisdom mingling in perfect proportions. The Wee Free Men, nearly indestructible and a bit daft, make a delightful foil to Tiffany's unsurprised steadiness. The slow but tantalizing pacing is superb, the matter-of-fact tone spot on--just the package to appeal to those who admire not just a brave heart but a quick comeback as well. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
There will be upheavals in the human and fantasy worlds of elves and witches, with drastic consequences, and Tiffany, with only a frying pan for a weapon, is caught in the middle. In an effort to rescue her spoiled, candy-loving baby brother whom the Elf Queen has stolen with the temptation of endless sweets, Tiffany enlists the aid of the Wee Free Men. The baby's rescue is accomplished with unrelenting drama, large servings of Pratchett's ironic humor, and a unique cast of characters. This includes an imperfect heroine who has inherited "First Sight and Second Thoughts" and who feels guilty because she did not truly love her whiney brother. The Wee Free Men are six-inch-tall blue men with a robust enthusiasm for stealing, fighting, and drinking. Set in a chillingly unrecognizable "fairyland," this ingenious mÉlange of fantasy, action, humor, and sly bits of social commentary contains complex underlying themes of the nature of love, reality, and dreams. The Carnegie Medal-winner's fans will not be disappointed. (Fantasy. 12+) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.