A Hat Full of Sky

Overview

The second in a series of Discworld novels starring the young witch Tiffany Aching.

Something is coming after Tiffany. . . .

Tiffany Aching is ready to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She expects spells and magic—not chores and ill-tempered nanny goats! Surely there must be more to witchcraft than this!

What Tiffany doesn't know is that an insidious, disembodied creature is pursuing her. This time, neither ...

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Overview

The second in a series of Discworld novels starring the young witch Tiffany Aching.

Something is coming after Tiffany. . . .

Tiffany Aching is ready to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She expects spells and magic—not chores and ill-tempered nanny goats! Surely there must be more to witchcraft than this!

What Tiffany doesn't know is that an insidious, disembodied creature is pursuing her. This time, neither Mistress Weatherwax (the greatest witch in the world) nor the fierce, six-inch-high Wee Free Men can protect her. In the end, it will take all of Tiffany's inner strength to save herself . . . if it can be done at all.

Tiffany Aching, a young witch-in-training, learns about magic and responsibility as she battles a disembodied monster with the assistance of the six-inch-high Wee Free Men and Mistress Weatherwax, the greatest witch in the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Terry Pratchett follows up his The Wee Free Men (which PW called "an enthralling and rewarding read" in a starred review) with A Hat Full of Sky, starring the young witch Tiffany Aching. Tiffany leaves home and the little blue Nac Mac Feegle to apprentice for Miss Level. Meanwhile, Tiffany, some powerful witches and the little blue fairies must defeat the hiver that stalks her. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This sequel to The Wee Free Men stands on its own with a wonderful narration, a grab-you story, and all with Pratchett's droll humor—Tiffany Aching, the fledgling witch, the Nac Mac Feegle, a group of competitive young witches, a villainous "swarm." This is one you will stay in the car for! Stephen Briggs and the production quality is outstanding. This is from someone (me) who has never read or listened to a Discworld story. I will be retracing the steps because of this one. 2004, Harper Childrens Audio, Ages 9 to 12.
—Liz Hannegan
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2004: Comic fantasist Pratchett, a Carnegie Medallist and author of the Discworld series, returns to the wonderful characters he created in The Wee Free Men (reviewed in KLIATT in May 2003), and readers will rejoice. Young Tiffany, a dairymaid in rural chalk country, is an extraordinarily clever and self-possessed girl, and also a talented witch. She goes off to live with another witch for a year, to learn to develop her skills, but meanwhile she is stalked by an invisible entity called a hiver, which tries to take over her soul. The Wee Free Men, six-inch-high blue creatures with a love of fighting and strong Celtic accents (a type of fairy, though not the pretty sort—they were tossed out of Fairyland for being drunk), must come to Tiffany's rescue, with hilarious antics and great bravery. In the end, Tiffany learns a great deal about her own powers, and about the good and bad in everyone, including herself. She acquires new mentors, including the witch she lives with, who has a handy extra body and is prone to saying things like "I'm sorry, I left my glasses on my other nose." The ever-inventive Pratchett comes through once again with a comic delight that will engage fantasy fans and make them think, too. He promises at least another in this wonderful series: hurray!
KLIATT
Comic fantasist Pratchett, a Carnegie Medallist and author of the Discworld series, returns to the wonderful characters he created in The Wee Free Men (reviewed in KLIATT in May 2003), and readers will rejoice. Young Tiffany, a dairymaid in rural chalk country, is an extraordinarily clever and self-possessed girl, and also a talented witch. She goes off to live with another witch for a year, to learn to develop her skills, but meanwhile she is stalked by an invisible entity called a hiver, which tries to take over her soul. The Wee Free Men, six-inch-high blue creatures with a love of fighting and strong Celtic accents (a type of fairy, though not the pretty sort—they were tossed out of Fairyland for being drunk), must come to Tiffany's rescue, with hilarious antics and great bravery. In the end, Tiffany learns a great deal about her own powers, and about the good and bad in everyone, including herself. She acquires new mentors, including the witch she lives with, who has a handy extra body and is prone to saying things like "I'm sorry, I left my glasses on my other nose." The ever-inventive Pratchett comes through once again with a comic delight that will engage fantasy fans and make them think, too. He promises at least another in this wonderful series: hurray! KLIATT Codes: JSA*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, HarperCollins, 288p., and Ages 12 to adult.
—Paula Rohrlick
VOYA
Tiffany Aching, the young witch who bested the Queen of the Faeries in Wee Free Men (HarperCollins, 2003/VOYA August 2003), is back in the best of the Discworld series yet. Tiffany leaves her much-loved, native land of Chalk to learn witching from Miss Level, who appears to be twins but is actually one person with two bodies. Unbeknownst to either of them, a hiver, an ancient entity that takes over the minds of powerful people, has set its sights on Tiffany. She is the first natural witch born on the Disc since Granny Weatherwax. With the help of Granny and the insane-yet-devoted "pictsies," the Nac Mac Feegles, Tiffany wins the day. She also learns self-reliance, humility, and judicious use of power. Pratchett has been entertaining adults and older young adults with his Discworld books for years, but he is no stranger to the younger audience at least in his native England. His Bromeliad and Johnny Maxwell trilogies were well received there, and the latter even spawned a television program. Tiffany is Hermione Granger, Gaiman's Coraline, and Pullman's Lyra Belacqua rolled into one. Her six-inch-high, Scottish-tongued, kilt-wearing protectors are a brilliant creation and hilariously funny if one does not mind their accents. Granny has always been Pratchett's philosophizing mouthpiece, and she does her job admirably here. This coming-of-age story is a great adventure with plenty of magic and laughs and a journey to find one's "soul and center." It is highly recommended for all collections. VOYA Codes 5Q 4P J S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed bookrecommended for Young Adults). 2004, HarperCollins, 288p., and PLB Ages 12 to Adult.
—Timothy Capehart <%END%>
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This fantasy continues the story begun in The Wee Free Men (HarperCollins, 2003), in which Tiffany Aching, then age nine, defeated the evil Queen of the Fairies. Now 11, she is beginning her apprenticeship as a witch, as her grandmother was before her. The Wee Free Men have vowed to protect her always. Tiffany's power is untrained and she has accidentally learned how to project herself out of her body or "borrow" herself. This allows a type of demon, a hiver, to take over her mind and destroy it little by little. While she is under its influence, she isn't herself and treats others badly, especially the clique of apprentice witches who have made fun of her. When the Wee Free Men are able to free her, Tiffany banishes the hiver into the next world where Death awaits. With the help of her teacher, who is actually a person with two bodies; wise head witch Granny Weatherwax; an obsessively tidy ghost named Oswald; Toad, a former human lawyer; and Rob Anybody, husband of the current Queen of the Wee Free Men, she learns to find her own magic. This book is full of irreverent humor, laugh-out-loud dialogue, and many memorable characters. A glossary is provided to help decipher the Wee Free Men's Scottish brogue. Fans of the previous book are in for another treat.-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Tiffany Aching and her loyal friends, the crazed six-inch Nac Mac Feegle, return in an outing rather less uproarious but more weighty, and thereby possibly more satisfying, than The Wee Free Men (2003). Tiffany, now 11, has left the Chalk to apprentice to a career witch. On the brink of adolescence, she has become more conscious of image, and it is this weakness that leaves her open to attack by a hiver, a parasite that seeks out the powerful, taking over their minds-and killing them in the process. It's the Feegles to the rescue, a highly dubious enterprise. Pratchett weaves a tale that isn't afraid to detour into biting satire or to stop and admire a mot particularly juste, but that keeps returning to the critical question of identity-how an individual must embrace her worst aspects to become her best self, how worth is found in works, not in posturing. The great chalk horse cut into the downlands becomes the metaphor for Tiffany's understanding of this: "Taint what a horse looks like. It's what a horse be." By turns hilarious and achingly beautiful, this be just right. (Fiction. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062435279
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/15/2015
  • Series: Tiffany Aching Series, #2
  • Pages: 400
  • Age range: 13 years

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.

Biography

Welcome to a magical world populated by the usual fantasy fare: elves and ogres, wizards and witches, dwarves and trolls. But wait—is that witch wielding a frying pan rather than a broomstick? Has that wizard just clumsily tumbled off the edge of the world? And what is with the dwarf they call Carrot, who just so happens to stand six-foot six-inches tall? Why, this is not the usual fantasy fare at all—this is Terry Pratchett's delightfully twisted Discworld!

Beloved British writer Pratchett first jump-started his career while working as a journalist for Bucks Free Press during the '60s. As luck would have it, one of his assignments was an interview with Peter Bander van Duren, a representative of a small press called Colin Smythe Limited. Pratchett took advantage of his meeting with Bander van Duren to pitch a weird story about a battle set in the pile of a frayed carpet. Bander van Duren bit, and in 1971 Pratchett's very first novel, The Carpet People, was published, setting the tone for a career characterized by wacky flights of fancy and sly humor.

Pratchett's take on fantasy fiction is quite unlike that of anyone else working in the genre. The kinds of sword-and-dragon tales popularized by fellow Brits like J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis have traditionally been characterized by their extreme self-seriousness. However, Pratchett has retooled Middle Earth and Narnia with gleeful goofiness, using his Discworld as a means to poke fun at fantasy. As Pratchett explained to Locus Magazine, "Discworld started as an antidote to bad fantasy, because there was a big explosion of fantasy in the late '70s, an awful lot of it was highly derivative, and people weren't bringing new things to it."

In 1983, Pratchett unveiled Discworld with The Color of Magic. Since then, he has added installments to the absurdly hilarious saga at the average rate of one book per year. Influenced by moderately current affairs, he has often used the series to subtly satirize aspects of the real world; the results have inspired critics to rapturous praise. ("The most breathtaking display of comic invention since PG Wodehouse," raved The Times of London.) He occasionally ventures outside the series with standalone novels like the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, a sci fi adventure sequence for young readers, or Good Omens, his bestselling collaboration with graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Sadly, in 2008 fans received the devastating news that Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He has described his own reaction as "fairly philosophical" and says he plans to continue writing so long as he is able.

Good To Know

Pratchett's bestselling young adult novel Only You Can Save Mankind was adapted for the British stage as a critically acclaimed musical in 2004.

Discworld is not just the subject of a bestselling series of novels. It has also inspired a series of computer games in which players play the role of the hapless wizard Rincewind.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Pratchett:

"I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat…colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it's just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.

"I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener and it's in the blood. Grew really good chilies this year.

"I'm not really good at fun-to-know, human interest stuff. We're not ‘celebrities', whose life itself is a performance. Good or bad or ugly, we are our words. They're what people meet.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence David John Pratchett
    2. Hometown:
      Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
LEAVING

It came crackling over the hills, like an invisible fog. Movement without a body tired it, and it drifted very slowly. It wasn’t thinking now. It had been months since it had last thought, because the brain that was doing the thinking for it had died. They always died. So now it was naked again, and frightened.

It could hide in one of the blobby white creatures that baa’d nervously as it crawled over the turf. But they had useless brains, capable of thinking only about grass and making other things that went baa. No. They would not do. It needed, needed something better, a strong mind, a mind with power, a mind that could keep it safe.

It searched . . .

The new boots were all wrong. They were stiff and shiny. Shiny boots! That was disgraceful. Clean boots, that was different. There was nothing wrong with putting a bit of a polish on boots to keep the wet out. But boots had to work for a living. They shouldn’t shine.

Tiffany Aching, standing on the rug in her bedroom, shook her head. She’d have to scuff the things as soon as possible.

Then there was the new straw hat, with a ribbon on it. She had some doubts about that, too.

She tried to look at herself in the mirror, which wasn’t easy because the mirror was not much bigger than her hand, and cracked and blotchy. She had to move it around to try and see as much of herself as possible and remember how the bits fitted together. But today . . . well, she didn’t usually do this sort of thing in the house, but it was important to look smart today, and since no one was around . . .

Sheput the mirror down on the rickety table by the bed, stood in the middle of the threadbare rug, shut her eyes and said:

‘See me.’

And away on the hills something, a thing with no body and no mind but a terrible hunger and a bottomless fear, felt the power.

It would have sniffed the air, if it had a nose.

It searched.

It found.

Such a strange mind, like a lot of minds inside one another, getting smaller and smaller! So strong! So close!

It changed direction slightly, and went a little faster. As it moved, it made a noise like a swarm of flies.

The sheep, nervous for a moment about something they couldn’t see, hear or smell, baa’d . . .
. . . and went back to chewing grass.

Tiffany opened her eyes. There she was, a few feet away from herself. She could see the back of her own head.

Carefully, she moved around the room, not looking down at the ‘her’ that was moving, because she found that if she did that then the trick was over.

It was quite difficult, moving like that, but at last she was in front of herself and looking herself up and down.

Brown hair to match brown eyes . . . there was nothing she could do about that. At least her hair was clean and she’d washed her face.

She had a new dress on, which improved things a bit. It was so unusual to buy new clothes in the Aching family that, of course, it was bought big so that she’d ‘grow into it’. But at least it was pale green, and it didn’t actually touch the floor. With the shiny new boots and the straw hat she looked . . . like a farmer’s daughter, quite respectable, going off to her first job. It’d have to do.

From here she could see the pointy hat on her head, but she had to look hard for it. It was like a glint in the air, gone as soon as you saw it. That’s why she’d been worried about the new straw hat, but it had simply gone through it as if the new hat wasn’t there.

This was because, in a way, it wasn’t. It was invisible, except in the rain. Sun and wind went straight through, but rain and snow somehow saw it, and treated it as if it were real. She’d been given it by the greatest witch in the world, a real witch with a black dress and a black hat and eyes that could go through you like turpentine goes through a sick sheep. It had been a kind of reward. Tiffany had done magic, serious magic. Before she had done it she hadn’t known that she could; when she had been doing it she hadn’t known that she was; and after she had done it she hadn’t known how she had. Now she had to learn how.

‘See me not,’ she said. The vision of her . . . or whatever it was, because she was not exactly sure about this trick . . . vanished.

It had been a shock, the first time she’d done this. But she’d always found it easy to see herself, at least in her head. All her memories were like little pictures of herself doing things or watching things, rather than the view from the two holes in the front of her head. There was a part of her that was always watching her.

Miss Tick – another witch, but one who was easier to talk to than the witch who'd given Tiffany the hat – had said that a witch had to know how to ‘stand apart’, and that she’d find out more when her talent grew, so Tiffany supposed the ‘see me’ was part of this. Sometimes Tiffany thought she ought to talk to Miss Tick about ‘see me’. It felt as if she was stepping out of her body, but still had a sort of ghost body that could walk around. It all worked as long as her ghost eyes didn’t look down and see that she was just a ghost body. If that happened, some part of her panicked and she found herself back in her solid body immediately. Tiffany had, in the end, decided to keep this to herself. You didn’t have to tell a teacher everything. Anyway, it was a good trick for when you didn’t have a mirror.

Miss Tick was a sort of witch-finder. That seemed to be how witchcraft worked. Some witches kept a magical lookout for girls who showed promise, and found them an older witch to help them along. They didn’t teach you how to do it. They taught you how to know what you were doing.
Witches were a bit like cats. They didn’t much like one another’s company, but they did like to know where all the other witches were, just in case they needed them. And what you might need them for was to tell you, as a friend, that you were beginning to cackle.

Witches didn’t fear much, Miss Tick had said, but what the powerful ones were afraid of, even if they didn’t talk about it, was what they called ‘going to the bad’. It was too easy to slip into careless little cruelties because you had power and other people hadn’t, too easy to think other people didn’t matter much, too easy to think that ideas like right and wrong didn’t apply to you. At the end of that road was you dribbling and cackling to yourself all alone in a gingerbread house, growing warts on your nose.

Witches needed to know other witches were watching them.

And that, Tiffany thought, was why the hat was there. She could touch it any time, provided she shut her eyes. It was a kind of reminder . . .

‘Tiffany!’ her mother shouted up the stairs. ‘Miss Tick’s here!’


From the Hardcover edition.

Copyright © 2004 by Terry Pratchett
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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

A Hat Full of Sky

Chapter One

Leaving

It came crackling over the hills, like an invisible fog. Movement without a body tired it, and it drifted very slowly. It wasn't thinking now. It had been months since it had last thought, because the brain that was doing the thinking for it had died. They always died. So now it was naked again, and frightened.

It could hide in one of the blobby white creatures that baa'd nervously as it crawled over the turf. But they had useless brains, capable of thinking only about grass and making other things that went baa. No. They would not do. It needed, needed something better, a strong mind, a mind with power, a mind that could keep it safe.

It searched. . . .

The new boots were all wrong. They were stiff and shiny. Shiny boots! That was disgraceful. Clean boots, that was different. There was nothing wrong with putting a bit of a polish on boots to keep the wet out. But boots had to work for a living. They shouldn't shine.

Tiffany Aching, standing on the rug in her bedroom, shook her head. She'd have to scuff the things as soon as possible.

Then there was the new straw hat, with a ribbon on it. She had some doubts about that, too.

She tried to look at herself in the mirror, which wasn't easy because the mirror was not much bigger than her hand, and cracked and blotchy. She had to move it around to try and see as much of herself as possible and remember how the bits fitted together.

But today . . . well, she didn't usually do this sort of thing in the house, but it was important to look smart today, and since no one was around . . .

She put the mirror down on the rickety table by the bed, stood in the middle of the threadbare rug, shut her eyes, and said: "See me."

And away on the hills something, a thing with no body and no mind but a terrible hunger and a bottomless fear, felt the power.

It would have sniffed the air if it had a nose.

It searched.

It found.

Such a strange mind, like a lot of minds inside one another, getting smaller and smaller! So strong! So close!

It changed direction slightly and went a little faster. As it moved, it made a noise like a swarm of flies.

The sheep, nervous for a moment about something they couldn't see or smell, baa'd . . .

. . . and went back to chewing grass.

Tiffany opened her eyes. There she was, a few feet away from herself. She could see the back of her own head.

Carefully, she moved around the room, not looking down at the "her" that was moving, because she found that if she did that, then the trick was over. It was quite difficult, moving like that, but at last she was in front of herself and looking herself up and down.

Brown hair to match brown eyes . . . well, there was nothing she could do about that. At least her hair was clean and she'd washed her face.

She had a new dress on, which improved things a bit. It was so unusual to buy new clothes in the Aching family that, of course, it was bought big so that she'd "grow into it." But at least it was pale green, and it didn't actually touch the floor. With the shiny new boots and the straw hat she looked . . . like a farmer's daughter, quite respectable, going off to her first job. It'd have to do.

From here she could see the pointy hat on her head, but she had to look hard for it. It was like a glint in the air, gone as soon as you saw it. That's why she'd been worried about the new straw hat, but it had simply gone through the pointy hat as if it wasn't there.

This was because, in a way, it wasn't. It was invisible, except in the rain. Sun and wind went straight through, but rain and snow somehow saw it, and treated it as if it was real.

She'd been given it by the greatest witch in the world, a real witch with a black dress and a black hat and eyes that could go through you like turpentine goes through a sick sheep. It had been a kind of reward. Tiffany had done magic, serious magic. Before she had done it she hadn't known that she could, when she had been doing it she hadn't known that she was, and after she had done it she hadn't known how she had. Now she had to learn how.

"See me not," she said. The vision of her -- or whatever it was, because she was not exactly sure about this trick -- vanished.

It had been a shock, the first time she'd done this. But she'd always found it easy to see herself, at least in her head. All her memories were like little pictures of herself doing things or watching things, rather than the view from the two holes in the front of her head. There was a part of her that was always watching her.

Miss Tick -- another witch, but one who was easier to talk to than the witch who'd given Tiffany the hat -- had said that a witch had to know how to "stand apart," and that she'd find out more when her talent grew, so Tiffany supposed the "see me" was part of this.

Sometimes Tiffany thought she ought to talk to Miss Tick about "see me." It felt as if she was stepping out of her body but still had a sort of ghost body that could walk around. It all worked as long as her ghost eyes didn't look down and see that she was just a ghost body. If that happened, some part of her panicked and she found herself back in her solid body immediately. Tiffany had, in the end, decided to keep this to herself. You didn't have to tell a teacher everything. Anyway, it was a good trick for when you didn't have a mirror.

A Hat Full of Sky. Copyright © by Terry Pratchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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