42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and inspired
Perhaps a lot of adult fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series have come to take for granted his ability to combine fantasy, riotous humor, and a touch of "why are we here and what are we for?" metaphysics. In "Hat Full of Sky," a sequel to his kids? hit "Wee Free Men," he manages all these plus more from a pre-teen perspective. However,...
Published on July 8, 2004 by bensmomma
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Abridged Version!
We ordered this title as a gift, but when it arrived, it was the abridged version of this book. Be sure to check with the seller to get the one you want.
Published on January 4, 2011 by Bethany Lee
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and inspired,
In the previous volume, Tiffany Aching, a young independent farmgirl with witch-like powers, overcomes an evil queen to rescue her brother with the help of a clan of drunken, riotous "Pictsies," six-inch kilt-wearing men painted blue and swearing like truckers. In "Hat Full of Sky," Tiffany goes off for formal witch training, only to be taken over by a "hiver," an evil being who stirs up all one's worst urges. Under the hiver's temporary influence, Tiffany becomes a kind of "mean girl," pushy, self-interested, inconsiderate, and obsessed with clothes.
It strikes me as remarkable that Pratchett (a middle-aged man, after all) could get the internal struggle of the pre-teen so exactly right: wanting to be popular and able to satisfy every urge, but with a wee small voice inside, fighting those urges in favor of a better self.
As in "Wee Free Men," the Pictsies are terrifically funny; the best bit is when the Pictsies climb over each other like acrobats and throw on human clothes to disguise themselves (as a single human) for a journey: they confound their fellow-travelers when the stomach complains out loud to the head, and the gloved hands walk off in opposite directions.
Both full- and pint-sized readers will laugh and enjoy this book!
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hat Full of Sky,
This review is from: A Hat Full of Sky: The Continuing Adventures of Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men (Mass Market Paperback)Terry Pratchett is my favorite author.
Most of the authors on my Top 10 list got there on the basis of a few good books; Robin McKinnley's "The Blue Sword" and "The Hero and the Crown"; Tolkein's "The Hobbit"; Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarion Trilogy; David Webber's "Mutineer's Moon" Trilogy...
With Pratchett, it's easier to list those of his books that I don't like. There's only one ("Eric!"), and even it has its moments.
I suppose that now I have to explain why I like him so much. The reason is simple. He is wise. He is ALSO funny, which allows him to present his wisdom in a way that is readily accessible.
As a case in point, I am a soldier. I know the nature of my peers. Pratchett's books about CDR Vimes, which I collectively refer to as The Watch Trilogy (although there's now more than three volumes) is a masterpiece of insight into the nature of wearing a uniform. There is nothing at all heroic about CPL Nobbs or SGT Colon, and I've known many individuals very like both of them. Yet, when the time comes, and society needs someone to stand in the gap, they're there. Flaws and all. And beside them are people like CPT Carrot, who is virtue personified. CDR Vimes may not be virtuous, and he'd be horribly offended at being called noble, but he is good. And he does what he does because he loves his people. (I recall the comic scene where he states that the city is a woman, and he loved her even when she kicked him in his teeth.) The armed forces have the same mix of personalities that intermingle with complex interaction. We're not heros. We're people. Pratchett is one of the few authors who understands that enough to write it believably.
But as much as I enjoy Pratchett's Watch Trilogy, I love his Witch Trilogy (also more than three books at this point). Esme Weatherwax is, perhaps, the most complex character that I've yet to see written into any book. She is a woman who is rigidly moral, because she understands that she is very close to being evil. It's by sheer willpower, and never being willing to act immorally, that she remains good. She is grim and dark and terrible... and good. She defined herself at one point as a woman who stands on The Boundary.
Throughout history, there have been people who stand between humanity and those things that threaten it. Soldiers, Firemen, Policemen, Teachers, Authors, the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, the Wizards of Unseen University... Many of them ARE grim and dark and terrible, but they're often the most effective; their society is protected from whatever evil those Boundary-Watchers have set out to fight.
And how does this relate to the charming young Tiffany Aching, and Pratchett's books about her, the second of which is "A Hat Full of Sky"? Tiffany Aching is used to contrast Esme Weatherwax. She is not grim, nor dark, nor terrible... Yet.
Tiffany Aching is a Boundary-Watcher. But she is a young and inexperienced one. Given time, she will either grow into another Esme Weatherwax, or she will forsake The Boundary to become a wicked witch. The trilogy of Tiffany Aching is, at its heart, a guide book to the path towards maturity as a Boundary-Watcher. It warns against beginning to cackle. It explains the importance of being accountable to comrades. It lays out the mindset that a Boundary-Watcher must hold. And, it even does so in a believable way. Tiffany Aching DOES have failures of virtue (like the incident in the wand store, or with the old man's money), just like a real person. And the moral that Pratchett draws from those situations is that while certain actions may fall short of virtue, you can still show your worth in the way in which you respond.
I pay to Pratchett the greatest homage that I can with these words:
And to make him all the more impressive, the book is written in order to teach without being intimidating. Few non-Boundary-Watchers will pick up Dave Grossman's book "On Combat". Yet many will approach Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books, which discusses the same mindset and role in society, because of the expectation and joy of a good story. The story of a plucky young girl pitted against evil forces is certainly entertaining enough in its own right to amuse those who have no desire to explore the mindset of a Boundary-Watcher.
And so, I think I shall end with this observation. There is a Zen quotation that states, "If you understand, things are just as they are. If you do not understand, things are just as they are." I understand the fact that whether or not I understand is insignificant to the Great Scheme of Things. Yet what the quotation does not explain is why I still feel a great need to understand, in spite of the insignificance of understanding. For several months, I asked myself the question, "Why do I try to understand then?" I finally came up with an answer: "You laugh at more of the jokes." Humor and understanding go hand-in-hand. Pratchett understands this.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humor, Heart and Nac Mac Feegles!,
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There's plenty of Terry's whimsical humor and wry satire to keep readers smiling and chuckling. Especially when the Nac Mac Feegle make their appearance in the story, of course! These little blue-tattooed Pictsies are delightfully irreverent and contentious, causing havoc and hilarity wherever they go. Along with the humor, however is a good solid dose of heart. I do believe Mr. Pratchett has done an exemplary job of making us care about the characters and creating believable, fallible and lovable. I was surprised at how much I came to care about the Mac Feegles new kelda, Jeanie as she struggles to take on the role she's been born for. Jeanie isn't a main character in the story, but her presence and other little touches like her, fill Pratchett's story with echoes of meaning and magic.
If I have one complaint about this book, it's that it felt too short. Events happened so quickly that before I knew it I was at the last page of the story. I did feel as though there were places where the narrative could have been expanded upon, characters who were not as fully fleshed out as they could have otherwise been. Still, for the younger reader, a shorter read is likely to be appreciated-and Pratchett can pack quite a punch even in a shorter form such as this!
Discworld fans that hungrily scoop up every new book by Terry Pratchett will be delighted to see Granny Weatherwax make a return appearance. This time the most formidable witch on the Discworld stays for more than a cameo role, with delightful results. Readers discovering Pratchett for the first time, you might want to grab WEE FREE MEN and read it first since it first introduces Tiffany Aching, but it isn't necessary to do so. If you enjoy these books please look for Pratchett's other young adult books: THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS, and THE BROMELIAD TRILOGY. If you're looking for more adult fare, please be sure to check out all of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. And have fun!
Happy Reading! ^_^ Shanshad
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book,
This review is from: A Hat Full of Sky (Audio CD)We purchased the CD version of this book on our cross-country journey this summer. Our daughter, aged six, picked the CD out based on the description on the back of the CD cover. Neither my wife or I had heard of the author or series before.
We were very happy to discover that this is a wonderful and delightful tale! It is one of the rare children's books that both adults and children can enjoy. There were many times when all of us were laughing at the same time. Mr. Pratchett's sense of humour is, to say the least, unique.
The tale is told independently of the first book in this series. You are told enough background information to know what is going on and at no point do you feel like you should have read the first book.
As to the plot, it is full of blue little men with red hair, witches and a nasty creature that takes over the heroine. Everything is settled in the end and the world goes on.
As a final testment to the book: our daughter demanded that we listen to the book on the return journey and neither my wife nor I complained.
PS My daughter wants you to know that she thinks the book rates a "100 percent."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the right hat...,
While Tiffany, now 11, has been cautiously applying her special skills, inherited from her much-loved granny, she does not really understand what they mean and how to apply them. It is time to *learn* the witching business properly. With the help of Miss Tick, the headhunter for young witches, she leaves her beloved Chalk to take up "service" with an experienced witch, the complex Miss Level. Contrary to common assumptions that young witches might learn to fly on a broomstick or concoct magical potions, Tiffany's new life can only be described as tiresome and tedious... Her chores have more in common with a nurse's training as she follows Miss Level to attend to the old, sick and lonely. While she is much appreciated by their charges, Tiffany has a more challenging time to fit in with her fellow witches' apprentices. The trials and tribulations of the witches' teenage years are no different from those of "normal" girls: vanity, jealousy, peer pressure. Pratchett has a wonderful, sensitive touch when characterizing this motley group. Tiffany's search and acceptance of her own, real *hat* and the hat itself are wonderful metaphors for her coming of witch-age.
Tiffany has several magical talents. With telling herself "see me" and "see me not" she can step out of her body to observe her surroundings undetected. She also has the capacity for "third thoughts". Those are thoughts that "watch the world" and "think by themselves". They have helped Tiffany in her fight with the Queen of the Fairies in WEE FREE MEN. But they also can be trouble. Combined, these talents can also prove dangerous. The Nac Mac Feegle, the funny wild bunch of tiny blue men, a special kind of fairies, are the first to realize that danger is brewing for Tiffany. The hiver, an ancient entity that cannot die and moves from host to host, to absorb their minds, has set its ambitions on Tiffany. She would be an ideal candidate to be taken over... Rob Anybody and his brothers, have a special bond with the young girl, the "big wee hag". Their adventures are always hilarious, yet their efforts to protect Tiffany and to reach her before the hiver does is one of those gems that will stay in the mind of the reader. Mistress Weatherwax, the most revered of the old witches, is well known to Pratchett fans. Here, in her attempt to support and protect Tiffany, new sides of her personality are revealed. The confrontation with the hiver, while unavoidable, develops in unexpected ways.
A HAT FULL OF SKY is a delight of a story, for readers with a young mind, whatever their actual age. As Pratchett fans have come to expect, it is filled with good humour, imaginative witticisms and magic fantasy and, at the same time, with deep understanding and empathy for the foibles of humans and other beings. [Friederike Knabe]
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good read by Pratchett,
By A Customer
This time, eleven year old Tiffany is leaving her beloved Chalk, off to apprentice to a real witch, the somewhat odd Mrs Level. Add in an ancient, bodyless creature who want to take over Tiffany's mind, a rather unique poltergeist, a coven of junior witches, the indomitable Granny Weatherwax, and of course the Nac Mac Feegle - four inch tall, red-haired, blue skinned pictsies who will drink, fight or steal anything.
This is, technically, a children's book, but falls into that rare but treasured class of literature that can be read with equal enjoymenet by children and adults alike. Pratchett's insightful, humorous view of human nature, if anything, comes through more clearly in his children's books, and the use of language is certainly not watered down for younger readers.
In summary, an excellent read for all ages, and a satisfactory sequel to the Wee Free Men.
And track down a copy of Only You Can Save Mankind by the same author while you're at it...
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Pratchett's best story, but full of Pratchett's heart,
(And ignore the Harry Potter comparisons. While I think Rowling is a fine author, Pratchett is the better storyteller, in the old, old sense of the term. His stories crackle with the energy of seeing all the parts of ourselves leaping back at us.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blues and clues (and booze),
As we remember from "The Wee Free Men", Tiffany Aching has recently done battle with the Queen of Fairies, armed with only a frying pan and the help of some violent pictsies. The Wee Free Men, as they call themselves, have decided to keep Tiffany safe by keeping a close eye on her at all times. It turns out this eye might not be close enough though when Tiffany becomes the object of a hiver's desires. Hivers are creatures that move from powerful creature to powerful creature, taking over their minds until there's nothing left in the body but a shell. When Tiffany, witch in training, finds herself a victim of a hiver (a creature no one has ever killed before) it's with the help of her bright blue friends that she is able to face it down.
Now, the first half of this book is everything you could hope for in a story. The Wee Free Men decide that the best way to rush to Tiffany's aid is to make themselves appear as human. Therefore, they fill up some old clothes and attempt to work together to walk as a single being. Needless to say, this is not without its failings. While the Wee Free Men are riding in a carriage towards Tiffany the other passengers in the stagecoach view the "man" with fear (especially when the buttons on his trousers pop open and a small redheaded man sticks his head out to talk to them). About this point I was gasping for breath, trying not to draw too much attention to myself as I laughed at the book. Sometimes I think that Pratchett's the funniest fantasy writer living today.
Unfortunately, somewhere around page 185 the book slows down. Less attention is paid to the Wee Free Men and far more to Tiffany and Mistress (now called Granny) Weatherwax. This is all well and good, but part of what I liked about "The Wee Free Men" was the fact that its little blue characters (I've heard them referred to as drunken tattooed Smurfs) appear regularly from the beginning of the story to the end. Here, they kind of drift off and the book forgets about them. Worse still, there are about five different endings to this story. You think it's over.... And then here's another ending right around the corner... Before you meet yet ANOTHER ending five pages later. The action doesn't rise and fall towards the end, it falls and falls. And falls some more.
None of this is to say that the book is bad. I'm still happy that I purchased it. I just don't think it's quite as good as the original. Let's hope that with the future books in this series that equal attention is paid to Tiffany as there is to her little blue drunkards. If not, I can only quote the response the Wee Free Men themselves might have.
"Oh waily waily waily".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comparison to JKRowling isn't appropriate. Comparison to Harry Potter and Hogwarts is. Book is great fun!,
This review is from: A Hat Full of Sky: The Continuing Adventures of Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men (Mass Market Paperback)The Editorial review from Washington Post, above, lacks perspective. JKR's minor characters have psychological depth while Pratchett's are two-dimensional? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, what a bizarre comparison. They're two different writers. It should be noted that Pratchett started the Discworld series in 1983 (Color of Magic) when JKR was only 18 years old. He established his style long before JKR published Philosopher's Stone in 1997. All of his books are like this, for the most part. He simply used his existing Discworld template when he wanted to comment on the Harry Potter world, and thus created Tiffany Aching. If witches in Hat spend a great deal more time riding broomsticks and casting spells than they did in Wee Free Men it's because Pratchett is purposefully referring to Harry Potter's magical education. Correct, Miss Level's cottage is no Hogwarts. That's the point. With Tiffany Aching Pratchett gets to play with, gently satire and generally enjoy both Harry Potter's brand of magic and the commercialized airy-fairy Wiccan brand of magic, and mix some real old British magical lore in, too. Note that I am a Potter Fanatic.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hat Full of Sky and the other Tiffany Aching stories. I can't recommend them enough. Humorous, likable, thought provoking and excellent.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett at his best,
I also really enjoyed the contrast of the humble, helpful hedge witches vs. the overblown, haughty ones who sincerely believe clothes make the witch. If I have one small complaint, it's that the bossy, obnoxious Annagramma hadn't been slapped down harder by the end. That's just me, though. In real life, obnoxious people can often go for quite a long time without having a clue as to how wrong they are.
author of "The Magister's Mask"
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A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld: Young Adult) by Terry Pratchett