Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Middle-Grade/Teen Review – The Carpet People

I wasn’t sure how to classify Terry Pratchett’s charming fantasy The Carpet People. It was originally written for a general audience, published as a serial in the newspaper, by the now-famous writer when he was only 17 years old. I think it will appeal to all ages, from middle-grade readers all the way up to adults, especially those who like whimsy and clever, fanciful adventure.

As the name suggests, The Carpet People is about a whole population of tiny beings who live unseen among the carpet fibers. In fact, there are different races and tribes of people and even animals living in the wilds of the carpet. This story focuses on a tribe called the Munrungs, which is part of the Dumii Empire. Specifically, the story is about two brothers. Glurk, a physical and slow-thinking man, took over as Chieftan when his father, old Grimm Orkson, died. Glurk’s younger brother, Snibril, is more of a cerebral young man who was taught to read and write by Pismire, the tribe’s shaman.

When danger threatens their village, the nomadic Munrungs set off on a journey across the carpet. It’s a dangerous journey, and along the way, they meet other people whose customs and habits are much different than the Munrungs. Eventually, they must overcome their fears of each other and band together to defeat their common enemy.

To be honest, I’m not normally a fan of classic fantasy stories with made-up people and beasts and worlds, but Pratchett’s unique story is very clever, filled with humorous word play and lots of action. It easily kept me entertained while I listened to it on audio, read by a talented narrator who conveyed Pratchett’s sense of whimsy. The audio also included a note from the author at the beginning, explaining how he first wrote The Carpet People and then recently revised it for this reprinting, and the unedited version of the original serial story included at the end.

Later, I found out that the paper version is actually filled with Pratchett’s own illustrations, amusing line drawings that bring the Munrungs to life on the page, so this might be a case where the book has an advantage over the audio. I also suspect that I may have missed some of the clever word play in listening rather than reading, though the audio was very entertaining. You can take a peek at some of the illustrations or listen to a sample of the audio at the Amazon link included at the bottom of this post.

Overall, I enjoyed this clever and thoughtful story about tribes of tiny people living in the carpet.  Believe it or not, this was my very first Terry Pratchett novel (his books have sold over 80 million copies!), so I think I will be reading more of his work.

Listening Library



Melinda said...

I love that you're reviewing teen books! I've recently started reading children's books - just to broaden my reading habits.

Tanya @ Moms Small Victories said...

Sounds like a paper book my oldest son would enjoy. Thanks for sharing with #smallvictoriessundaylinky last week. Sorry I’m late commenting/pinning. I always enjoy your links!