I was thrilled when HarperCollins sent me a review copy of Terry Pratchett’s latest book compilation, The Wee Free Men: The Beginning. This handy paperback encompasses the first two tales in the Tiffany Aching series, The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky.
This book acquaints readers with the endearing young character, Tiffany Aching, as she learns she has inherited the role and responsibility of being the local Chalk country witch. It’s a thankless duty that falls squarely on her two small shoulders, but fortunately, she is not alone. Joining Tiffany along her chosen path (whether she likes it or not) are the feisty faerie clan, the Nac Mac Feegle. Not your average faeries of romantic folklore, the favorite pastimes of these little blue men include drinking, fighting, and thieving. It is in the company of these remarkably loyal companions that their “big wee hag” Tiffany discovers the gifts that make her special.
“There was a small part of Tiffany’s brain that wasn’t too certain about the name Tiffany. She was nine years old and felt that Tiffany was going to be a hard name to live up to. Besides, she’d decided only last week that she wanted to be a witch when she grew up, and she was certain that Tiffany just wouldn’t work. People would laugh.”
Terry Pratchett’s writing intertwines fantasy and humor in a way that makes his books irresistibly pleasurable reads. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the American Library Association Notable Children’s Books award for both The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky, which are now included together in this one book. Fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson would certainly enjoy the magic realism of the Tiffany Aching series. For younger readers who may find this level of reading too advanced to tackle on their own, they may enjoy being read to from The Illustrated Wee Free Men, which features beautiful illustrations creeping throughout almost every page.
Look for my upcoming review of the most recent book in the series, I Shall Wear Midnight, which will be released in bookstores at the end of this month.
Note: This article was first published as Book Review: The Wee Free Men: The Beginning by Terry Pratchett in Blogcritics Magazine.