Is "Wee Free Men" & such appropriate for a nine-year old?

My neice has read, since x-mas, all of the Lemony Snickett books. Previously I have asked about Pratchett’s kids books. I got some and started reading recently, and have almost finished Wee Free Men and I can’t help but think that it is a little advanced for a nine-year old. But then again, what do I know? I don’t spend much time around kids and I only see her a few times a year.

AFAIK she is at or above her grade level in reading, but I don’t know which one or by how much. I don’t want to give her something too difficult or disturbing.

What are your thoughts on this? Are Pratchett’s kids books okay for a nine-year old?


but in my opinion Pratchett’s chilfren books

 Truckers, Diggers, Wings
 Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny & the Dead, Johnny & the Bomb
 A Hat Full of Sky, Wee Free Men, Maurice & his educated Rodents

are all suitable for children, in that they don’t contain unsuitable content. As to whether any given child will understand and enjoy the books, well thats a judgment call for someone who knows them.

I can’t think of anything in Pratchett’s “childrens’” books that is any worse than reading The Phantom Tollbooth or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

About the only problem might besome mild shock from grown-ups, who find these “childrens’” books have relatively complex ideas behind them. Pratchett doesn’t write down to his audience, thank Primus.

I’m a firm believer in letting children stretch themselves a bit. I don’t think it’s the themes themselves that are necessarily the issue, but the way they are handled. I trust Pratchett to talk to my kid about death, violence, relationships and even a little bit of sex. There are other authors writing at the same level that I wouldn’t trust. For example, I let my 7 year old read all the Harry Potter books on her own, because, although the themes are advanced for her age, they are handled sensitively. On the other hand, I picked up the first book in the His Dark Materials series and I don’t think it’s right for her at all. It just left a bad taste in my mouth. The violence seemed gratuitous and nearly all the adults were over-the-top evil.

I’d say go for it. There aren’t enough good books for kids that age. Pratchett has a real respect for kids and it shows in his writing.

(Maurice has some of the scariest stuff he’s ever written, in my opinion.)

There are a couple of bits of sexual double-entendre in Wee Free Men, but it’s not overt. If the kid knows about the birds and bees, she may find them amusing. If she doesn’t, they’ll go right over her head. Nothing explicit, just innuendo.

I’d say, give it a whirl. It’s primarily a book about growing up, about how each person is magical/special, etc. Plus, lots of laughs.

My nine year old brother started to read it, but he didn’t even get halfway through. Of course, he’s not really a big reader (he likes to read, but he’d rather play video games).

I gave Maurice, Wee Free, and the Bromiliad Trilogy to a friend’s girls (10 & 11.5) for Christmas last. They ate them up and asked for more. :smiley:

I was thinking more along the lines of being advanced. Reading Wee Free Men, I really couldn’t distinguish between it and any other Pratchett book. I guess there was less “science,” no running down the Pants of Time, but otherwise it seemed to have a vocabulary and style equivalent to his other books. I mean, the stories of Tiffany & Esk seemed to be equivalent in terms of complexity, abstraction, diction, grammar, etc., they just happen to be on different shelves at the bookstore.

That’s what got me wondering. Thanks for the input, everybody. You’re the best!

If you’ve read a lot of Pratchett, you know what he thinks about kids: Bloodthirsty little savages. So he writes that way for the, I find his DW kids book to be dark, often darker than his ordinary stuff. And his books for grown-ups are swiftian in satire about our own world, full of puns and references that younger kids might not get. Or, IOW, kids might get wooshed by his books for grown ups, but I don’t think any book deserves even a PG13 rating, based on language, violence or sex.

A lot of Pratchett’s work is about growing up. Most of his books up to Small Gods deal with kids at an age between 10-20 who shoulder a responsibility and grow from the experience.
I thought that Wee Free Men wasn’t very good, and the Nac Mac Feegle got to be annoying. A hat full of sky is much better and Maurice is by far his best book for young readers, and on my top5 by Pratchett.


When they were mingling at the ball I was laughing so loudly that people at the bar had to ask what I was reading.