Way back in the early 90s I was introduced to Terry Pratchett by a friend at work. I was hooked instantly and now have an incredibly collection of his works, mostly his Discworld series but I do have other books, including some he had written for teenagers which I have been waiting to introduce to my children.
Sadly, the great fantasy author passed away on March 12th this year. This doesn’t mean his books can no longer be enjoyed though, and I’m sure he will still gather many more fans in the future, my children included.
I have now begun my introduction of the Great Sir Terry to my girls with his book of short stories for children, Dragons at the Crumbling Castle. For me it has been a great insight into the younger mind of the author as many of these stories where written before his major books.
Throughout the book you can see Sir Terry’s style emerging, not quite the genius I have come to know through reading his books, but a fabulous introduction for my children. My older daughter, Star, who is almost ten years old and on the autistic spectrum seemed to enjoy the stories the most. She had her favourite parts which have been repeated over and over to anyone who will listen. For some reason she was particularly tickled by the Chilliblainian national anthem ‘God Save Us All’ from the story the Abominal Snowman. She cottoned on to quite a lot of the word play which both surprised and delighted me, a true Pratchett fan in the making.
The book is a compilation of fourteen short stories. Some are shorter than others, some are better than others, they all have that distinct Pratchett humour running through them. The first story, Dragons at the Crumbling Castle has a young boy setting off to save a castle from Dragons… there is no-one else available at the time. On the way he meets up with Friday Knight the Fortnight and a Wizard called Fossfiddle and together they save the day..and the castle. We also have an introduction to The Carpet People with two short stories which were later turned into a novel. There is a great story about the Abominal Snowman of Chiliblains, who like photobombing, and the small town of Blackbury get more than they bargained for when they discover the Blackbury Monster. There is lots of fun and word play in Hunt the Snorry and Dok the Caveman.
One of Star’s favourite stories was the Great Speck where we have a whole world on a speck of dust, she will tell you with excitement all about the Someone and the Anyone who become the Everyone and saved the King and Duke.
We have thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would recommend it for children aged 8 and over. It’s great for reading alone or together at bedtime. I’m sure we’ll be reading it many times over.
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Dragons at the Crumbling Castle to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own