A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite books of all time. It is the second in a trilogy, which later became a series within a series with five books circling around the main character, Tiffany Aching.
A Hat Full of Sky is set in Discworld, the beautiful fantasy universe created by Mr. Pratchett in his book, The Color of Magic. Discworld quickly became every fantasy lover’s ideal world, what with its delightful recurring characters and majestic descriptions.
The story begins with 11-year-old Tiffany Aching getting ready to go to live in the mountains, away from her family, at an elderly woman’s house to be an apprentice… at least, she’s telling her parents that. In reality, she’s been ‘discovered’ by a group of witches who believe she has incredible potential, and she’s going to learn witching.
Young Tiffany in the book before threw the Queen of the Fairies out of her home, the Chalk. Now she gets the amazing job of… milking goats, wrapping up wounds, and taking care of old guys who can’t clean themselves. Seriously. Tiffany wonders, where’s the actual magic? Besides these troubles, she has to handle making new friends up in the mountains, girls who have been “in the craft” much longer than she is and aren’t always nice. Yikes!
While she’s learning how not to use magic, though, a monster has also sniffed out Tiffany’s potential, and he wants it. He’s an immaterial ghost-like beast, with the ability to possess bodies and consume souls. Tiffany had better watch out if he finds her!
And oh yes, who could forget the adorable yet violent Nac Mac Feegle, who met Tiffany in the previous Tiffany Aching book, The Wee Free Men? They pledged to follow and defend her always.. and they will, even when she doesn’t exactly want them. But they are tiny, blue, incredibly fast, incredibly strong, and virtually unbeatable. And they speak a mixture of Scottish, English, Welsh, and gibberish. And they live for fighting, drinking and stealing. What’s not to love?
Mix together them, the wry, young, talented Tiffany (who’s a bit too smart for her own good and often sarcastic!), the beautiful landscape of Discworld, and Mistress Weatherwax, the best witch in the mountains (and maybe the world), who takes a special interest in Tiffany, and you get a fantasy adventure that’s sometimes scary, always hilarious, a thoughtful read and one of my favorite books ever.
I would recommend this book to anyone in late Elementary to High School. And college, if they haven’t already read it. It’s amazing and fun, high-speed, and exciting. You’ll never lose interest, and probably decide to read the rest of the Discworld books. There are a lot of them! It’s a good summer project, and if you start with The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky you will definitely want to do so! Terry Pratchett showed his genius in these books. Get a little taste of heaven! Read this book.