Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, & Wintersmith

We read these over Christmas and I completely forgot to mention them, but now that I have a spare moment I'm going to mention them, because they are an impressively fun read.

We have a few Terry Pratchett books, after having had them recommended to us (the first two books in the Discworld series and another called Only You Can Save Mankind), but I have to say that while I appreciated the run-on
sentences in the Discworld books (I am a big fan of the run-on, can you tell?), they were so complicated and so mature that I attempted to read them then put both back into the bookcase all in the space of about 30 minutes. And none of the kids complained. I resolved to read them later, on my own, just to see what they're like.

We read Only You Can Save Mankind, which everyone enjoyed well enough, but it certainly didn't get the same response that the Tiffany Aching series got. For one thing, the plot centers around a boy who plays a lot of video games, and reading BLAM BLAM KERPOW over and over again, not to mention the ZINGS and BEEPS, got slightly tedious for me, sad to say. Plus, it featured an old version of the Video Game (black screen anyone?) and even the Teenager had no idea what THAT was all about, so most of the significances were lost on them. It had a plot that drew us in, and lots of humour, but I was relieved when it was over.

The Tiffany Aching series (Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith) though, was so wonderful we were all unabashedly thrilled at the sight of JUST the covers each and every morning. Everyone loved these so much that I bought them one after the other. Once morning we even made a beeline to the bookstore right after finishing Hat Full of Sky, and FDPG gasped out loud when she spied it on the shelf. I even overheard her a few times whispering "The Wintersmith" to herself in the morning before I started reading. We could hardly wait to get to the next one. I pulled a rich Scots accent out, to imitate the Nac Mac Feegle (miniature blue Scots fairies who seem most enthusiastic when drinking and fighting and swearing at each other, characteristics guaranteed to convulse almost any kid), and the kids were enthralled (even the Teenager, who I thought would scorn this book, because the protagonist is a GIRL). It was particularly sweet for FDPG, being as how most of our reading seems to involve an awful lot of boys. Or men. And here we had a girl, nine years old in the first book and thirteen by the time the events in Wintersmith take place, a capable, clever and cool-in-the-face-of-most-dangers, girl. And not just any girl, but a witch-in-training.

So there you go. I won't give you more plot, but I will encourage you to try them out. Best for ages 7-14 when used as a read aloud.

1 comment:

shaunms said...

Funny you should mention these -- I've just started reading Discworld books. My DD10 got a stack as a gift a year ago when she was in a production of Amazing Maurice. I've read Equal Rites and Color of Magic, and am now reading Mort.

I really liked Equal Rites and hope to run into those characters again.

But I can't see my 6yo enjoying them right now, even as read alouds. A few more years, for sure!