Book Review: Sir Terry Pratchett’s A Hat Full of Sky

Posted April 15, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Sir Terry Pratchett’s A Hat Full of Sky

A Hat Full of Sky


Sir Terry Pratchett

It is part of the , series and is a fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by HarperCollins on June 14, 2005 and has 407 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Wee Free Men, The Color of Magic, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, The Light Fantastic, Sourcery, Eric, Equal Rites, Mort, The Shepherd's Crown, Wyrd Sisters, Pyramids, Guards! Guards!, Moving Pictures, Small Gods, A Blink of the Screen, Reaper Man

Second in the Tiffany Aching fantasy subseries and thirty-second within the overall Discworld fantasy series.

My Take

I do enjoy this subseries and think it’s very appropriate for kids. It includes some lovely moralistic lessons that are well presented to catch children’s attention.

Ah, the people of the Chalk “knowing” that witches dance around without their drawers on which worried Tiffany until Miss Tick said “you could if you wanted to but only if you were certain where all the nettles, thistles, and hedgehogs were”. A nice bit of making fun.

I never knew you had to be careful when making a wish. Tiffany figures if she were to wish to marry a handsome prince, she’d step out the door to find a “stunned prince, a tied-up priest, and a Nac Mac Feegle grinning cheerfully and ready to act as best man”. Then there’s Rob describing the letters he’s learning: doesn’t trust that one with a sting and the fat man walking.

Cute, I like Miss Level’s description of the clues the Creator put on the plants. It was clever enough that I want to head into the garden to sleuth…

“Oh, waily, waily, it’s true… “When a man starts messin’ wi’ the readin’ and the writin’, then he’ll come doon with a dose o’ the thinkin’ soon enough.”

Oh lord, the pictsies are planning to chase after Tiffany. In disguise so they can pass in the world of man. I almost want to see a movie made of this book if only to see this sequence in action…it’s so funny in my imagination, and for once, I think film could do it even better!

It’s the possession that really rams home the point about the importance of Miss Level’s magic, and it’s terrifying as to how far this witch will go before she can be rescued. Mistress Weatherwax’s comments about Miss Level and her true gift are quite telling as well. And a magic we can all embrace.

A bit of wisdom from Granny Weatherwax: “If you don’t know when to be a human being, you don’t know when to be a witch. And if you’re too afraid of goin’ astray, you won’t go anywhere.”

The Story

Miss Tick has found a post for Tiffany as dairy maid. Well, that’s what she tells Tiffany’s parents. In truth, Miss Level is a witch who can teach Tiffany quite a bit about the craft. And the difference between toys and true power.

The Characters

Tiffany Aching is Granny Aching’s granddaughter and only recently learned she’s a witch.

The Nac Mac Feegle, a.k.a., Pictsies, The Wee Free Men, the Little Men, or Person or Persons Unknown, Believed to be Armed, are tiny wee men who will steal anything but not from just anybody. Jeannie of the Long Lake is the new kelda who has married Rob Anybody, the Big Man of the clan. She hates our Tiffany and she’s insisting that Rob learn to write. Horrors! Of course, he’s mastered the first two rules of writing: 1) Steal some paper and 2) Steal a pencil. Big Yan, Hamish, Daft Wullie, and Awf’ly Wee Billy Bigchin — he’s the new gonnagle (the clan’s bard and battle poet) are some of the Nac Mac Feegles who join the rescue mission.

Miss Level is a very kind witch who cares for everyone’s health and does research. In the circus, she was known as the Stupendous Bohunkus Sisters. She also has an almighty secret that might prejudice Tiffany against her. Oswald is an ondageist, a spirit that is obsessive about tidiness. I want him to visit me…! Black Meg is a cantankerous goat.

Mr. Weavall is 91 and needs two walking sticks, and Miss Level will insist on visiting him every day to help care for him. The Widow Tussy cooks him a hot meal every day. Zakzak Stronginthearm is a dwarf who runs a general store for the witch who needs anything.

Petulia Gristle is the only friendly apprentice; she works for Gwinifer, Old Mother Blackcap, a veterinary witch. Annagramma Hawkin is the most puffed-up, bossy, nasty little apprentice for Mrs. Earwig who is even more puffed up; Dimity Hubbub; Lucy Warbeck; Gertrude Tiring; Harrieta Bilk; and, Lulu Darling are yet more apprentices bossed around by Annagramma.

Miss Perspicacia Tick roams the countryside posing as a teacher while looking for potential witches. Mistress Esme Weatherwax is not the head witch. No, not at all. Not one bit.

Roland is the baron’s son whom Tiffany rescued in Wee Free Men. He has a thing for Tiffany and she’s rather cruel in poking fun at him. Mr. Crabber is the very astounded carter whose horse, Henry, fulfills a dream.

The hiver is an invisible cloud of evil that latches onto power and sucks that person’s soul dry. Dr. Sensibility Bustle is one of the minds in the hiver; silly old goat.

The Cover and Title

The cover is blues, pinks, and grays with the Nac Mac Feegles roaming around Tiffany’s witchy hat.

The title is a homage to both Granny Aching and an important lesson in Tiffany’s adventure in this story. When she learns the best hat of all is A Hat Full of Sky.