05/05/2005

A Hat Full of Sky (by Terry Pratchett)

'A Hat Full of Sky' by Terry Pratchett is supposedly a children's Discworld book. It's also a direct sequel to 'The Wee Free Men', and is almost certainly better for having read that first.

The story? Tiffany Aching, who also starred in 'The Wee Free Men' goes to train as a witch. Meanwhile a 'hiver', a rather nasty non-creature of demonic variety, is trying to take her mind over. Which all sounds rather unpleasant, but there's plenty of humour - and it has to be remembered that Discworld witches are more like wise women and herbalists rather than magicians.

There are no children in our house, but it's just been very much enjoyed by three of us; it's the latest book I read aloud to my teenage sons, age 18 and 16. It's shorter than most Discworld books, of course, and it has chapters. I suppose the plot is less complex than most Discworld books too, and there's a pleasant lack of bawdiness and double entendres.

So yes, it would be entirely suitable for younger children, and particularly girls since the heroine is an 11-year-old girl called Tiffany. But there's no condescending easy language, no sense of it being intended for the young or for those who struggle with reading. So I don't think there's any upper age-limit to this book... any Pratchett fan should appreciate it.

Note: the other books in the series are 'The Wee Free Men' and 'Wintersmith'.

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