A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The stories in The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner show that teen writers can find an audience for their work.
Friends stick together. Bravery and resourcefulness usually pay off. Crime, including sheep-rustling, doesn't pay.
Positive Role Models
Many of the stories feature brave adventurers unafraid of exploring the unknown. Constable Bryn Bunyan wields the "fastest truncheon in the Wild West (Wales)." Even the most misguided villain usually has a good heart.
Violence & Scariness
Feuding ice cream vendors throw frozen confections at each other. Bank robbers brandish toy guns.
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"Blimey" is as rough as it gets.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Welsh bandits drink "leek beer" at the local saloon.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner is a collection of 14 stories for young readers, written by Terry Pratchett when he was a junior newspaper reporter. They are not very complex or polished, but they spotlight the enthusiasm of a teen writer experimenting with his craft. The stories feature talking animals, travels to magical lands, and encounters with fantastic or historical figures. Violence is rare and mild when it occurs. These stories are best suited for 9- and 10-year-olds; older readers may find them a little too silly.
Is It Any Good?
These stories are not polished or complex, but they have an antic energy that's hard to resist. Not every 17-year-old is capable of writing fantasy stories that anyone would want read decades later, but when the writer is Terry Pratchett, the odds are a lot better. This follow-up to Dragons at Crumbling Castle offers 14 tales that demonstrate how skilled a storyteller he was at an early age.
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