Terry Pratchett is definitely one of my favorite authors so I thought I'd say a few words about his newer books that are intended more for a younger audience. Granted, this doesn't prevent adults like myself from enjoying them, but the opportunity for a fun and worthwhile way to entertain your youngsters should not be ignored.
Pratchett is mostly a satirist and a lot of his work is derivative, but his slanted take on familiar subjects is worth a look--worth a second look, too, in fact. I mention this because the Tiffany Aching books (The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith thus far) bear an odd superficial resemblance to the famous books of another popular British fantasy author that writes for the same age group . . . an author whose name starts with a J. and ends with a Rowling, if you get my drift.
The resemblance is odd because although the books share some faint surface details--Harry Potter is about a boy learning to be a wizard, the Tiffany Aching books are about a girl learning to be a witch--you couldn't find two takes on roughly the same subject that were more different if you tried. Harry Potter attends a school where magic is pinned down in books and readily accessable. Tiffany Aching discovers that the only school for witchcraft is the entire world and that no one can teach you the most important lesson: the real trick about magic is knowing when not to use it.
And, of course, you have the Wee Free Men, described by Pratchett as being like Scottish smurfs that have seen Braveheart a few too many times. They can make a special child that can talk to the fairies kind of wish she couldn't.
In the end, the Tiffany Aching books are good fun thoroughly mixed with good sense. Get them for your kids.
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