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The Wee Free Men

(Discworld #30)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  88,768 ratings  ·  4,012 reviews
"Another world is colliding with this one," said the toad. "All the monsters are coming back."

"Why?" said Tiffany.

"There's no one to stop them."

There was silence for a moment.

Then Tiffany said, "There's me."


Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk
...more
Mass Market Paperback, 375 pages
Published 2004 by HarperTrophy (first published May 1st 2003)
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Popular Answered Questions
Stacia No. But, if you read The Wee Free Men (love it!) first & want to read the other books with Tiffany Aching, those are best read in this order:
The…more
No. But, if you read The Wee Free Men (love it!) first & want to read the other books with Tiffany Aching, those are best read in this order:
The Wee Free Men
A Hat Full of Sky
Wintersmith
I Shall Wear Midnight(less)
Matthewcable 9-100. She's 9 is in the book. I was in my thirties when I read it and loved it.…more9-100. She's 9 is in the book. I was in my thirties when I read it and loved it. (less)

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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Start your review of The Wee Free Men (Discworld, #30; Tiffany Aching, #1)
Patrick
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I will never be able to write a book as good as this.

I just finished reading it again. This is probably my third or fourth time.

I love all of Pratchett's books. It's easy to do, as the best of them are utterly excellent, while the worst of them is merely great.

This, I think, might be his best. And I love it for so many reasons. It is diamond beyond price among the other brilliant (but perhaps lesser) diamonds.

Part of me wants to quote parts of it to you. But I won't. Out of context you can't
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Nataliya

I plan to use this book in the future as a strategic "weapon" for introducing my (future, hypothetical) daughter to the world of Terry Pratchett's imagination. Yes, I see it as a 'gateway drug' to fuel addiction to Sir Terry's writing. And that's the addiction I'm happy to perpetuate.
After all, this book introduces Tiffany Aching whom I love to pieces and want to adopt to be my level-headed and practical little sister.

"Yes! I'm me! I am careful and logical and I look up things I don't
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Matt
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of dangerous books for boys. I love classic boys literature, whether Dumas's 'Count of Monte Cristo', Kipling's 'Jungle Book', Burroughs 'A Princess of Mars', Tolkien's 'The Hobbit', or Heinlein's juvenile fiction. I love good stories that instruct boys in being adults. I love them for being persistently politically incorrect, not just now but then. I love them because they are stories by people who obviously know boys and know what they need. And, I love them for just being fun ...more
Lyn
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pictsies not Pixies.

While Terry Pratchetts 2003 Discworld STORY (signifying that it is young adult book) introduces the spunky and likable nine year old protagonist Tiffany Aching (spawning four more books) the true hero(es) of this very enjoyable adventure are the Nac Mac Feegle.

Standing six inches tall, ginger bearded and blue tattooed, the Wee Free Men are fearless, profane (in a YA approved package), and like stealing, drinking and fighting. They are as hilarious as minions, kick ass and
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Siria
I really, really wish that I had a younger girl cousin to pass this book onto, because I think it's a perfect antidote for some of the books that are enjoying a vogue right now (*cough* Twilight *cough*). Where the latter feature some downright disturbing gender politics, The Wee Free Men has a heroine who's sensible and smart and capable; a realistic, strong relationship between grandmother and granddaughter; a world where women are bounded by preconceptions and gender roles and fears, but a ...more
unknown
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was my first Terry Pratchett book. If you a looking for a way into his Discworld series (which is, at last count, 1 million books long), you could do worse. It's a totally separate story arc. It's the first of a shorter sub-series, giving you someplace to go if you like it. It's YA, so it goes down easy. It stars a creative, capable heroine and is in no way about her love of boys, which is always refreshing (still, still this is refreshing). And it's funny.

I mean, funny-ish. Funny is so
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Melindam
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.

Pure Pratchett, an ageless story with universal appeal to both children and adults.

This is one of the most serious stories of Discworld, as Terry Pratchett knew perfectly well that if you write to and about children, you have to be serious, otherwise it won't work.

I wish I could have been like Tiffany
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Sarah
Tiffany Aching, aged nine, is the only member of her large family with a jot of curiosity about the outside world. For generations without counting, the Achings (also spelled Aikens, Archens, or Akins) have tended sheep in the Discworld backwater known as the Chalk. Nothing interesting has happened in the Chalk for all of recorded history.

But that's about to change. A parasitic fae world, made of selfish magic and dream fragments, is connecting to the Chalk. Monsters not seen in centuries are
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Mellie Antoinette
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This lovely can teach you a lesson you wont forget in a hurry. A lesson about the Nac Mac Feegle, those dreaded Wee Free (Scottish Cutie) Men.

About the useful utility of an 8 skillet (theres a reason its exactly 8 inches...unless some poor sod has failed at his job and lets face it were all human, arent we?). About aching Achings, grumpy Grannies, witchy Tickies (they dry out quickly!).

If youre not into a good belly of humor ... well ... we might not make good friends, but Ill still recommend
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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

Usually, I'm at a loss when it comes to Christmas gifts. I don't like to give articles of clothing and gift cards feel too impersonal. I get by with the occasional bottle of perfume, compilation album or with some silly toy, but this year I think I've stumbled on a real gem: I bought The Wee Free Men because it is by Pratchett and because it says on the back cover the heroine is nine year's old. Turns out is is one of the very best in the whole Discworld catalogue, one of the funniest but also
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Joey Woolfardis
"So... Roland with the beefy face was the hero, was he? And she was just like the stupid princess who broke her ankle and fainted all the time? That was completely unfair!"

[First read: 2nd June, 2013: 3 stars.
Second read: 17th July, 2018. 4 stars.]

You know when you finish a book and it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling and makes you smile-not too wide, not a stupid grin-just a lovely little expression you give yourself, as if you're remembering a joke or something nice that happened to you once?
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Lightreads
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Young sheep farmer's daughter begins training to be the witch of the chalk hills that she loves. She has the help of a lot of six-inch fairies with drinking problems and pointy swords, which is good because there's no school for learning witchery, unless you think of the whole world as the school.

Oh, marvelous. I read the three published books straight through everywhere I went, and I know I disturbed people by standing there beaming in the elevator. There may also have been bouncing.

These
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Cphe
Sep 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, fantasy, humour, faith, 2016
This was a book club read. I hadn't read anything by Terry Pratchett before and the novel certainly wasn't a genre that I've read a lot in. I enjoyed the world building that the author introduced and the delivery of the story. It was fast paced. I felt at heart that it was an adventure, a story of the "little guy" taking on the "big bad meanie" and triumphing against overwhelming odds. It's a theme that I often look for in the novels I read. In this case it was a nine year old girl called ...more
Bradley
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, ya, 2019-shelf
This might be the best YA book I've ever read.


Need I say more?
Everyone knows how charming Terry Pratchett can be and his humor was always top notch. But what people generally overlook is the wisdom.

First Sight, Second Think.

That's the main thing about being a witch or even being a bit bright. See things as they are and never settle for your first think. Hello!

I love Tiffany. Harder than the earth, handy with string and a big pan. And she demands respect. :)
Anna
How can something be so funny, and at the same time so serious and deep? The whole story and Tiffany herself. She is so earnest, never surprised by the oddest things - wee free men popping up, witches and monsters appearing, the world needing to be savedshe takes all that in her stride. She questions things other people, even adults, take on face value, and she THINKS. About things in general, and also about her own thoughts and reactions.

Yes! I'm me! I am careful and logical and I look up
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Gavin
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-books, historical
It is a just a tiny review for this one as sadly I did not enjoy my first try of one of Terry Pratchett's books. I did not gel with the writing style. The style was actually quite similar to that of Neil Gaiman's books and so unsurprisingly I had the same issues. The story itself was too ridiculous to take seriously and I felt like the characters were just inconsequential mouthpieces for the author to crack some jokes and offer a few witty insights on society. Now admittedly I liked the general ...more
Jason Koivu
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
I'm new around here. I've only visited Discworld twice now, but I'm loving it! I was surprised, because I don't often enjoy modern fantasy with its cynicism. I mean, if I'm reading fantasy, it's because I actually want the fantasy. I want to be immersed in a different. I don't want to be reminded of this one. Isn't that the draw? Isn't it why fantasy and escapism overtakes skepticism and becomes popular again after tragic events like 9/11? Whatever the case, for whatever reason, I'm digging the ...more
Jo
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK, Im going to start this review with some maths. No! Wait, dont go. Its going to be YA style maths and, well, its me so itll be dead easy.
Though before we begin, you can leave your payment in the basket just over there. Not vegetables. I want chocolate. Not got any? No worriesIll wait until you come back from the paper shop*.
Back?
Right:

Hermione Granger + Mildred Hubble + Matilda Wormwood = Tiffany Aching.

Im almost tempted to just leave this review at that because, honestly, if youre not
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TheBookSmugglers
I will start this post with another Old School Wednesdays confession: I only ever read one Terry Pratchett novel, Good Omens ages ago and that was only because he wrote that in collaboration with Neil Gaiman.

I know what youre thinking right now: CRIVENS! I cant believe you havent read any Terry Pratchett till now, Ana.

I KNOW, right? Anyway, the real problem with this course of action was of course, WHERE to start, given as how Pratchett has over 40 novels in the Discworld series alone. I had on
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Clouds

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so Ive decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS Y-A list.

I think Ill always have a soft-spot for imaginative young-adult speculative fiction and as the good people at Locus did such a grand job with picking their Sci-Fi winners, Ill trust them to single out some special y-a books too.


A toast from
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Justine
The final pick for my kids' bookclub before they break for the summer. This is a complex and layered story that appealed to my 13 year old more than my 10 year old, although he might like it more at another time.

It isn't an easy read aloud with some of the accents (at least, not for me), but it is a pretty entertaining story.
YouKneeK
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Wee Free Men is the first book in the Tiffany Aching subseries of Discworld. Calling it young adult might be a stretch since the protagonist is nine and I thought the story seemed suitable for a younger audience. On the other hand, as with many children protagonists, she probably behaved as if she were older than a typical nine-year-old. In any case, the story was entertaining enough for an adult to enjoy and I did enjoy it quite a bit.

The story is set in a small farming community, where
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Steven Harbin
Nov 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Im presently about half way through reading this marvelous little book. People have been recommending Mr. Pratchetts work to me for years, and I must say that Im sorry I took so long to finally start one of his books. I did read Good Omens The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch a while back, which he co-authored with Neil Gaiman, and that book was excellent, but I was going through my NG phase at the time, and moved on to several of Gaimans books after reading GO. In retrospect, ...more
Lindsay
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
And now I'm at the point of stacking reviews :)

Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2019.

The below review is from an audiobook listen a few years ago. This time around I did it in print, and even though I can nearly recite it at this point, after reading the brilliant Night Watch I just had to keep going.

Interestingly this was my first time rereading after reading The Shepherd's Crown and I found the parallels fascinating. As much as this is a book about Tiffany
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Trish
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What do a frying pan, a pair of oversized boots and some cheese have in common? They are part of one of THE best adventures on the Discworld!

Meet Tiffany, a 9-year-old girl from The Chalk. Her gran was a shepherdess (not only tending to sheep) until her death a few years ago and little Tiffany has never known anything other than churning butter and watching people (and dogs) herd sheep. Oh, and her sticky little brother demanding sweets.
But one day, she is warned by some mysterious small blue
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Beverly
Mar 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Beverly by: Kim
From the review on my blog:
Pratchett takes all sorts of fairy tales and children's stories--including one of my faves, Peter Pan--and mashes them into his own tale about Tiffany, a nine-year-old witch in training. Tiffany is gutsy, smart (she's got First Sight and Second Thoughts; I need to develop both myself!), and ethical. In the same way I wanted to be Jo March when I first read Little Women, I can imagine any girl selecting Tiffany as a role model.

Pratchett never writes down to his reader;
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Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was marketed as a Discworld novel for 'younger readers,' but I
found the story and style to be no more (or less) juvenile than that
of any of Pratchett's other books. It's the 30th Discworld book, and
the first to feature the character Tiffany Aching (although i was
already familiar with her from reading 'Wintersmith' - I've never
tried to read Pratchett in order.)
Nine-year-old Tiffany's baby brother is kidnapped by the Queen of the
Elves - an antagonist who spreads winter where ever she goes.
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Carly
If you haven't read Terry Pratchett, you're missing out--he's one of the most humorous, creative, and profound fantasy writers I've come across. This book is a nice, self-contained story about a young girl, Tiffany Aching, who lives out in the countryside in Pratchett's fantasy world, the Discworld. The story itself is about faeries, but not exactly twinkly sparkly happy faeries.
Tiffany Aching is intensely curious and loves to both think and question everything around her, including the simple
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Wastrel
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Pratchett's best-written novels so far: very precisely polished for the most part, and beautiful, elegaic flashbacks.
That polish is the novel's flaw as well as its virtue: it felt too controlled, too avuncular, and too simplistic. And for someone re-reading the entire cycle, rather than using this as a starting point, it felt rather too familiar, both in general outline and in terms of the number of recycled jokes.

Having said that, it was good enough to make me want to read the other
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Minli
Yes, said a voice, and Tiffany realized that it was hers again. The anger rose up, joyfully. Yes! Im me! I am careful and logical and I look up things I dont understand! When I hear people use the wrong words, I get edgy! I am good with cheese. I read books fast! I think! And I always have a piece of string! Thats the kind of person I am!

Tiffany Aching is flipping awesome. The witches are awesome. Terry Pratchett is awesome. And cheese is awesome.

I have to say, with a world as vast as
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33,739 followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels,
...more

Other books in the series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1)
  • Mort (Death, #1; Discworld, #4)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1)

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“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.” 1436 likes
“Witches are naturally nosy,” said Miss Tick, standing up. “Well, I must go. I hope we shall meet again. I will give you some free advice, though.”
“Will it cost me anything?”
“What? I just said it was free!” said Miss Tick.
“Yes, but my father said that free advice often turns out to be expensive,” said Tiffany.
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