A Hat Full of Sky
HarperCollins, May, 2004.
Hardcover, 288 pages.
Ages 9 and up
Now eleven years old, Tiffany Aching knows that it is time to apprentice herself to a real witch, in order to realize her full potential. Clearly she has talent, after saving the world from the evil Queen of the Elves (with only a frying pan as a weapon) (See, The Wee Free Men), but she knows she has much to learn. So Tiffany leaves her farm to apprentice herself for a year to Miss Level, a witch with two bodies and a poltergeist housekeeper. Tiffany finds that being a witch isn't at all glamorous or exciting -- she spends most of her time doing charitable works for the local farmers, which she finds most unappealing. Tiffany has another problem, though. She is being stalked by an hiver, a formless entity which takes over the minds of powerful witches. But the tiny, blue, whiskey-loving, contentious, cursing little men known as the Nac Mac Freegle love Tiffany like a sister and immediately set out to rescue her. Now if only they can resist going near any pubs on the way to the rescue, they might just have a chance at saving their beloved Tiffany.
Tiffany Aching, the precocious protagonist from The Wee Free Men is back in a second adventure set in the English chalk country. The enigmatic Mistress Weatherwax and Death, two of Pratchett's most interesting characters, make appearances in this very funny tale. Tiffany has to grow up quite a bit in this adventure. She learns some hard truths about recognizing the worst parts of one's personality in order to find one's true self, and she begins to understand the nature and responsibility of real power. Terry Pratchett is one of our most skilled societal commentators and satirists. But, perhaps more importantly, he is a compelling storyteller whose books will appeal to both children and adults.
--Claire E. White
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This review was published in the 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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