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A Hat Full of Sky

Review

A Hat Full of Sky

Tiffany Aching is trying out her witchcraft skills again. Our heroine was last seen in Terry Pratchett's THE WEE FREE MEN armed with a frying pan as she saved the world from the evil Queen of the Elves. Pratchett introduced us not only to our bold heroine, but also to the wacky cast of characters who live in her magical world. Among them are the Nac Mac Feegles, also known as the Wee Free Men, or the Picsties. These little blue men stand six inches high, have shocks of red hair, and talk in Scottish-like brogues. They are well known for drinking, stealing and fighting, which probably led to them being kicked out of Fairyland. In THE WEE FREE MEN, they become allies with Tiffany and are indebted to her forever, vowing to always keep a watchful eye on her.

A HAT FULL OF SKY starts two years later with Tiffany, now age 11, dealing with the death of her beloved Granny Aching. Tiffany decides she needs to go away and learn more about her witchy powers. She discovers a new trick at home --- "see me/see me not" --- that allows her to step outside of her own body. Little does she know that her new game will cause her great danger.

Miss Tick, the educating witch, takes Tiffany away so that she can learn more about her powers. Her parents are told that she will "go into service" --- something that is not uncommon for young girls to do. They are told that she will be paid $4 a month (an excellent salary!) for her extraordinary skills in cheese making. After a bumpy broom ride, Miss Tick brings Tiffany to her new home: the cottage of the researching witch, Miss Level. Although wacky and somewhat unusual, Miss Level provides a good home for Tiffany and teaches her how to do chores like "filling what's empty and emptying what's full...wandering around the local villages and the isolated farms and mostly, doing medicine."

Just as Tiffany starts to adjust to her new life, danger --- in the form of an evil Hiver --- lurks. A Hiver is a demon or wandering spirit with no body or brain. They take refuge in bodies that have great power of some kind. The Hiver is after Tiffany. Can she survive the Hiver? Will the Wee Free Men save her? Can she figure out her powers to save herself?

A HAT FULL OF SKY is an enjoyable, fast-paced read. Carnegie Medalist Terry Pratchett proves his talent once again with his magical characters and adventurous plot. The reader will enjoy the Wee Free Men, their wacky dialogue and even sillier actions. Tiffany is a strong female character similar to Hermione in the Harry Potter books or Lyra Belacqua of the His Dark Materials trilogy. Readers fly through the pages of this fun, magical and dangerous story, and will look forward to Tiffany's next adventure!

Reviewed by Kristi Olson on March 25, 2004

A Hat Full of Sky
by Terry Pratchett

  • Publication Date: May 25, 2004
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060586605
  • ISBN-13: 9780060586607