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The Wee Free Men, first published in 2003, is the second Story of The Discworld book for younger readers.
While Terry Pratchett's first Discworld book for children, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents had swearing translated to rat language, in this book it is in the dialect of the Nac Mac Feegle which is taken from Scots and Scottish Gaelic.
The novel contains a scene inspired by the painting called "The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke", by Richard Dadd.
An illustrated edition of the novel, with pictures by Stephen Player, was published.
With the help of the Wee Free Men, the Nac Mac Feegle, 9-year-old Tiffany Aching finds out that her grandmother used to be the witch of the Chalklands, and that she has inherited the trade. When her baby brother is stolen, Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle enter the elves' world to steal him back.
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 humour 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.
- Волният народец (Bulgarian)
- Svobodnej národ (Czech)
- De små blå mænd (Danish)
- De Vrijgemaakte Ortjes (Dutch)
- Tillud vabamehed (Estonian)
- Vapaat pikkumiehet (Finnish)
- Les ch'tits hommes libres (French)
- Kleine freie Männer (German)
- Χιλιάδες Νάνοι κι ένα τηγάνι (Greek)
- בני החורין הקטנים (hebrew)
- L' intrepida Tiffany e i piccoli uomini liberi (Italian)
- Mazie brīvie ķipari (Latvian)
- Mažieji laisvūnai (Lithuanian)
- Skrellingene (Norwegian)
- Wolni Ciutludzie (Polish)
- Scoţiduşii liberi (Romanian)
- Вольный народец (Russian)
- Små Blå Män (Swedish)
In January 2006, director Sam Raimi signed up to make a movie based on this novel, from a script by Pamela Pettler, the writer of Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. Sony Pictures Entertainment have recently acquired the rights to the book. The producers are Josh Donen, Vince Geradis, and Ralph Vicinanza. In June 2008, Terry Pratchett confirmed that the film was likely cancelled. In a June 2008 interview, Pratchett said "I saw a script that I frankly thought was awful. It seemed to be Wee Free Men in name only. It had all the hallmarks of something that had been good, and then the studio had got involved. It probably won't get made."