Are the Tiffany Books "Children's Books?"

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Are the Tiffany Books "Children's Books?"

Postby swreader » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:52 am

Terry has written a number of books that are classified as "children's" usually because the major character is a young person, or an animal, or teney-tiney or the like.

As a possible point of discussion - while I think that the Tiffany books can certainly be read by children (or at least by youngsters who read well enough to manage it on their own)--I think that it's a mistake to classify them as "children's books". This seems to me to be like classifying Tom Sawyer, or Oliver Twist (to name a couple of classic books) children's books because the major character and/or narrator is a child. But both of them are, like Pratchett's Tiffany series--far more than even a "coming of age book."

I think that some of the most fun book, but with serious underpinings are these books about Tiffany--her finding out that she's a witch, and learning her craft. Actually, I think they should be classified with the other Witch books that Terry has written.

What do the rest of you think?
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Postby Jason » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:19 am

I think the main difference between Terry's children books and his adult ones is his use of language.

In his children's books I think the language feels more structured, thought out and concise, whereas he is willing to take more shortcuts or liberties with the language in the adults books - such as light swearing, leaving out who is talking in the conversations and more use of puns. Terry does use puns in the childrens books but I think they are more subtle - he never actually mentions the yellow sick toad directly for example - he just leaves you to work it out.

The other obvious change is the use of chapters - I am not sure if this was Terry choice or instance of the publishers. Personally most of the time it doesn't worry me if a book has chapters or not but with some other authors I find the chapters are just too convenient way of breaking books into sizeable chunks - whether the story wants it or not.

I think an important things is that Terry doesn't patronise the young reader in his children novels so that they still feel part of the Discworld Canon. I think that the differences are subtle and that Terry is still just writing down what he sees in his imagination - he just crosses a few more t's and dots a few more i's.
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:05 am

I think you make a good point about the language Jason, but what sets the books slightly apart (and only slightly) from the so-called 'adult' books is that they deal with issues that a child might experience: responsibilty for ones actions, being an outsider, and dealing with feelings for other people. These are all things that we deal with as adults, but they start in childhood and are often more difficult to deal with then.

Tiffan in particular is a character that young people may identify with and even admire, because she has the same problems they do and she deals with them and becomes a stronger person for that. It gives children the message that things might be awful now, but you can get through them.

But they are also extraordinarily good stories and I certainly read them as mainsteam Discworld books. Terry's best books in my opinion are those that are multi-layered. There's a great story on top but as you think more about what happened in the story, you realise that there is a whole lot more beneath and these books are no exception. If you take the effort to peel off the layers you'll get rewarded for it.

I find the whole consept of 'children's books' a bit odd. Some children will (given the opportunity) read whatever is available. They'll certainly read the mainstream Discworld books and get something out of them. Even if they don't fully grasp the full story, they are accessible.

I love the Tiffany books. I met Sharlene due to Hat Full of Sky being put out too early in Tesco and my need to talk to someone about it. Sharlrnr had her book store then and had an advance copy. So we wrote to each other about the book, became friends and got married last year. So neither of us were put off by it being a 'children's book'. :D
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Postby Jarmara » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:40 am

Agreed, language and themes are more geared to younger readers for his 'childrens' books but I believe I've heard or seen them described more as "books for readers of all ages". Which I think is more like it.

Interesting what you say about chapters Jason, Pratchett's books were the first books my husband had ever read without chapters and as he used them as places to break off reading, he once sat up almost all night trying to find a place he could stop reading! :lol:
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Postby Dotsie » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:15 am

I hadn't heard that they were supposed to be children's books until after I'd read at least a couple. So it came as a surprise to me!

There aren't as many footnotes in Wintersmith I notice (I don't have the others with me so I couldn't say), which is where a lot of the grown-up jokes seem to crop up. But as Jason says, Terry doesn't patronise the young reader, which is perhaps why I didn't notice.
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Postby chris.ph » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:46 pm

i personally think that if you patronize a child in the way you write a book for them theyll rapidly stop patronizing your books.no child should be talked down to always encourage
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Postby Catch-up » Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:09 pm

When I went to pick up Nation, I looked in the SciFi/Fantasy section assuming it would be with the others. I was about to walk out, feeling very disappointed, when it occurred to me to look in the children's section. Although, here it's usually called "Young Adult" or "Independent Readers". Can't remember what it was labled at the bookstore I was in, but I was grateful I thought to look again, because I found it! :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:18 am

Well I'm glad you found it! Pratchett books over here tend to be there in the Bestseller section.
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Postby DivingBudgie » Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:24 am

Jarmara wrote:Interesting what you say about chapters Jason, Pratchett's books were the first books my husband had ever read without chapters and as he used them as places to break off reading, he once sat up almost all night trying to find a place he could stop reading! :lol:


I have done that with new Pratchett books it got so I only bought them on Fridays so I could sit up all night and read. Finding a convvienent spot to stop is easier with chapters.
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Postby Catch-up » Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:34 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Well I'm glad you found it! Pratchett books over here tend to be there in the Bestseller section.


Very rarely will I find one of his books in the New Fiction sections of the bookstores, and I don't ever think I've seen one in the bestsellers section, even though they are over here too. Usually, I have to go to the scifi/fantasy section.
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Postby Tiffany » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:21 pm

I love the Tiffany books, hense my name. :D :D
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Postby Tiffany » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:22 pm

DivingBudgie wrote:
Jarmara wrote:Interesting what you say about chapters Jason, Pratchett's books were the first books my husband had ever read without chapters and as he used them as places to break off reading, he once sat up almost all night trying to find a place he could stop reading! :lol:


I have done that with new Pratchett books it got so I only bought them on Fridays so I could sit up all night and read. Finding a convvienent spot to stop is easier with chapters.


I use a book mark. :roll: :D
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'Childrens' Books

Postby aichtay » Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:53 pm

I didn't realise until I'd read them that they're categorised as childrens books, I did wonder why the cover art was different.

I think they're fab for us older readers, I love that the font size is easier at 3am by torchlight. I'm also finding that my 11 year old cousin who I attempted to indoctrinate last year with Mort (and failed dismally) has suddenly taken a shine to Tiffany which can only be a good thing as now she thinks I'm not just a mad TP obsessive
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Postby Vena Ravenhaired » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:27 pm

I realised after the first one, but I enjoyed it, so what the heck!

Nobody could accuse me of being a child, (physically, at least!) :lol: Mentally, having been through the recycled Teenager years I'm just approaching my irresponsible recycled 21st birthday! (Always assuming that I started my second childhood at the recommended age of 40!)


I think the Feegles are great. Big Yan for P.M! (oh, hang on, we have someone similar there already!)

:twisted:

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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:34 pm

Nah - we've got Daft Wullie. :lol:
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