A Hat Full of Sky Read Along Part I

Tofu on the headboard. Yes, he does sleep there...and occasionally falls off.
Tofu on the headboard. Yes, he does sleep there…and occasionally falls off.

Welcome everyone to the continuation of the exploration of Tiffany Aching’s world. The Little Red Reviewer will be hosting Part I of A Hat Full of Sky read along, so make sure to stop by her blog and leave your link to your post so we can visit each other. If you are just joining us, A Hat Full of Sky is Book 2 in the Tiffany Aching saga (The Wee Free Men being Book 1). Part 1 of this read along covers Chapters 1-3, so beware that spoilers are loose, grazing freely and ambling about.

The Questions:

1) What do you think of Miss Level and her housemate Oswald?  Did you guess the secret about her identity before she told Tiffany the truth?

The first time I read this, I had no idea what the Miss Level secret was going to be. But it is so Pratchett! Reversing the standard idea of twins (Miss Level is one person with 2 bodies) is like the Feegle believing this world is heaven and they must have been extra good in life to have made it here. As for Oswald, that was just an extra piece of oddity thrown in that works really well. I think this is Tiffany’s first time staying off the chalk for any length of time and every thing is different – from Miss Level’s house hold, even the broomtrip there, and the goats! I loved the goats, because that is exactly what the blighters do! Damn them! They will wait patiently until you have a full pail and then intentionally tip it over or stick a hoof in it.

2) Why kind of witchy stuff do you think Miss Level will start teaching Tiffany?

Well, just teaching Tiffany that folks can be so ‘odd’ is a huge lesson there. I don’t really remember what Miss Level does for the local community (awful of me, I know), but I am going ot guess that broom riding might be on the lesson plan. Tiffany will have to learn a faster mode of transport sooner or later – she can’t walk everywhere.

3) What do you think of Jeannie? Do you think she’ll get in the way of the Feegle continuing to help Tiffany?

I think the Kelda in Jeannie has made the decision and she will stick with it. Besides, some practical part of her must realize that being jealous of Tiffany is ludicrous – the age difference for one, and then the size issue. I am NOT going to draw you any diagrams of how impossible the courtship would be. You all have imaginations, imaginations that I will not venture into.

4) Have your feelings for Roland changed any?

Ahhh, Roland! Do you think he was trying to be dashing on his beautiful horse, riding up at the last moment? Perhaps he had been nervous all along about seeing Tiffany off and left it to the last moment because he was unsure of himself. I love how Tiffany was a teensy cruel, curtsying and all. This is the point where I start to thaw towards Roland a little, but I have to wonder if Tiffany has thawed at all. While she appreciated the beauty of the necklace, even sent a polite thank you note, she still put it away for the time being.

5) Which is creepier? a Hiver or a Drome?

Definitely the Hiver! That entry by the researcher Sensibility Bustle was chilling! At least with the Drome you simply slip into a pleasant dream and do no harm to others while you waste away and are eventually consumed…..kind of like going to compost, rejoining nature. The Hiver seems much more malevolent, taking over the mind and raising your paranoia and world domination centers to new heights.

Other Tidbits:

Tiffany has a new trick – the See Me ‘spell’. Quite useful for making sure you have no embarrassing tears in the rear of your clothing, and apparently for eavesdropping. tsk tsk….

The shambles created by Miss Tick and then Miss Tick & Miss Level together seem quite intriguing. An egg and then a beetle! See, when I first read this book, I finally understood why I keep such odd things in my pockets. I am a hedge witch in waiting. I just need a little training, really.

What Others Think:

The Little Red Reviewer

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Tethyan Books

The Wee Free Men by Terry Prachett

Stout snuggling with the Nac Mac Feegle.
Stout snuggling with the Nac Mac Feegle.

Why I Read It: I LOVE this book & there was this read along.

Where I Got It: Own it.

Who I Recommend This To: Great for kids, teens, & adults – lots of humor with some serious bits mixed in.

Publisher: HarperCollins (2004)

Length: 375 pages

Series: Tiffany Aching Saga Book 1

Tiffany Aching is 9 year old, lives on a sheep farm on the chalk, makes excellent cheese, and has a questioning mind. Her recently deceased Granny Aching was a powerful figure in her young life, filling the silences with simple things and the smell of Jolly Sailor tobacco and Special Sheep Liniment. This adventure starts simply enough with Tiffany whacking Jenny Green Teeth with a frying pan for trying to steal her little baby brother. That is followed up with Tiffany guilting and scaring the Nac Mac Feegle (AKA the Wee Free Men) into doing chores. However, the pleasant days of sheep shearing are disrupted when baby brother Wentworth goes missing; and Tiffany has a strong suspicion of who is responsible.

I’ve read this book perhaps 4 times over the past few years. It makes me laugh, a lot, out loud. My man is terribly tired of me reading bits out to him while giggling, especially when I am trying to do a Feegle accent. Terrible, terrible. Tiffany is so easy to connect with, and root for. The mix of humor and moments of seriousness is perfect, creating a story that I can return to again and again. The Feegles are 6 inches or shorter, generally drunk, quick to lift stuff, and fiercely loyal once attached to a person or cause. They are also the source of much of my amusement.

Tiffany herself is not shy about swinging that frying pan around either. She is always thinking, which turns out to be key for saving the day in this book. Her Granny Aching provided some of the most poignant scenes in the book, even though she is dead. Her deep, yet simple, connection to her granddaughter was key in shaping the young lady she is to become. Also, both Tiffany and Granny Aching are incredibly practical people; I like their boots. Terry Pratchett did the Discworld universe and his fans a service when he created Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegle – thank you Sir Pratchett!

For deeper discussion of this book, check out the read along posts:

Part I

Part II

Part III

What I Liked: The endless humor; sneaky word play; Tiffany’s practicality and determination; bloomers used as a parachute; new vocabulary word: gazunder; Granny Aching; the ending.

What I Disliked: Nothing to put here – this is truly one of my fave books of all time.

The Wee Free Men Read Along Part III

Stout snuggling with the Nac Mac Feegle.
Stout snuggling with the Nac Mac Feegle.

Hello Everyone, here we are at the end of The Wee Free Men. I hope there is no weeping, and if there is just look over HERE for the schedule for the next book in the series – A Hat Full of Sky. We’re kicking it off right away, so we’ll be over at The Little Red Reviewer next week to enjoy the first few chapters of it.

Here are this week’s discussion questions. I look forward to hopping around and seeing what everyone else thought, so please leave your link in the comments.

1) What was your favorite part of the ‘duel of dreams’ between Tiffany and the Queen?

I think Tiffany was very clever to take everyone into the lighthouse and sea, with the great white whale. I mean, she has never even seen the sea except as depicted on the Jolly Sailor tobacco wraps. The naughty kid in me kept hoping the whole sea scene would get tipped on the side and a scantily clad giant woman would appear. But alas, that is not how it turned out.

I also liked how the Feegle were trapped in a nut and Tiffany keeping the Queen focused on herself while Roland helps them out.

2) The last part of the book shows us a bit more of Roland’s character. What did you make of him?

Roland is what he was raised to be. A bit too privileged and also he’s hung up on Tiffany being a girl and younger than himself. I really, really enjoyed their last conversation at her dairy. Tiffany didn’t get any credit from her family or the baron, etc. for rescuing not only her brother, but Roland, and kicking the Queen out of the Chalk. But I liked how she acknowledged the wrong of it and then went on making butter.

3) The Nac Mac Feegle never cease to make me laugh. What were some of your favorite scenes or lines from the Feegle (for this segment or the entire book)?

Is it Big Yan that flies on the backs of buzzards? Well, he grabbed a pair of Tiffany’s bloomers to use as a parachute. hehe! I could feel her sighing the first time she sees him parachuting off the buzzard. I also enjoyed how it was such a simple thing for Tiffany to release the Feegle from having her as kelda and baby machine. They were so nervous about it!

4) The finale of the book introduces us to Mistress Weatherwax and Mrs. Ogg. These are two of my all-time favorite Discworld characters. What did you think of them? Have you read other books featuring these two ladies?

Many, many years ago I read some book that features Ogg and Weatherwax. There was a lot of twanging from Ogg’s undergarments, but other than that, I can’t remember anything about the book. I was delighted the first time I read The Wee Free Men to find them hear. What a conversation for Tiffany! She must have been really tired and ready to call it a day, because I think if she had been rested and on her manners, that conversation wouldn’t have gone nearly as well (and amusing!) as it did.

5) Tiffany’s connection with Granny Aching is one of the most poignant throughout the book. Did you enjoy Granny Aching’s brief appearance late in the book?

I really like the idea that you are never really separated from those that we share a mutual bond with. The practical me says that is BS, but the idealist in me says it may be so, some place. Luckily, it is so in Discworld. Granny Aching is someone I could respect in real life, and chase down sheep with in the cold, dark, stormy nights. On occasion, we have had to carry baby goats out of thickets, or get them out of fences and carry them through snow. There’s nothing like carrying a screaming, squirming, hoofed and horned 30 pound beast around in bad weather over uneven terrain.

Other Tidbits:

Mistress Weatherwax gave Tiffany a hat! Big nod of approval.

I found it very fitting and satisfying that Tiffany took the shephardess statue out to the chalk and buried it.

And Wentworth seems to have grown up a little from his experience, and is at least helping collect eggs, etc.

What Others Said:

The Little Red Reviewer

Over the Effing Rainbow

Lynn’s Book Blog

Coffee, Cookies & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

The Wee Free Men Read Along Part II

Tofu was rather squirmy, wanting to love on the camera instead of posing with the book.
Tofu was rather squirmy, wanting to love on the camera instead of posing with the book.

Hooray! Welcome back everyone. The Little Red Reviewer is hosting this week, so make sure to stop by her blog not only for witting insights, but to also leave your link to your post. Next week we will be back here for the finale – chapters 10 – the end.

P.S. – we also plan to continue the madness with Book 2, A Hat Full of Sky. Click HERE to see the schedule for that book.

The questions below pertain to chapters 6-9. Spoilers run free and commando. Enjoy!

1.  Do you think Tiffany will be able to hold up her end of the bargain that she made with the Kelda?

Well, I remember this book a bit, so I won’t directly answer the question. I will say that I believe Tiffany doesn’t realize everything that she is in for concerning those duties. We’ve already seen a few things – like the marriage… er…..engagement. She managed to avoid openly freaking out and a polite way to avoid an immediate marriage. Hooray for her!

2.Do you think Tiffany and Fion will ever be friends?

Sure! It will be more than simple politeness that has Tiffany sending a wedding present on to Fion’s wedding, wherever and however far away it may be. I am positive Tiffany will be very happy for Fion, having found a new clan and all, like any good sister Kelda.
3. What do you think of the Queen’s world? How does this interpretation of Fairyland mesh with other interpretations you’ve run into in other books?

I loved how Pratchett made it feel made up – such as the trees and rest of the landscape filling itself in the closer you got to an object. This was not something I expected the first time around. Also the dromes! Like dream succubi, littering the forest floor. Other books have treated fairyland like one big deadly realm where things are real, but disguised. We have that going on here with the dromes, but the details of the surroundings coming into being as you take notice is a new element for me.

4. What do you think of Roland? Will he be a help to Tiffany or a hindrance?

So this little dude has been lost in the fairy woods for like a year. What has he been eating and drinking? Who has he had for company? Is he real? So many questions around this young man. If we go with him being the real Roland, then I can understand some of his actions – like not wanting to believe Tiffany is real because that must be his biggest wish next to escaping fairyland for home. After having your dreams mocked and made deadly for a year, I would be careful too. On the other hand, his imperious tone, while a defense mechanism, was silly and he could have landed on that blade when his saddlegirth gave way.

Perhaps Tiffany should have let the Feegle pounce him and hold him down until either they could pound some sense into him or Tiffany could get him to think for himself instead of going on fear.

5. I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to run into a Drome!

Personally, I love to eat good food in my dreams. The Dromes would mess that all up. I am very, very territorial about my dreams. Only certain folks, real or not, are invited into them. You either have to be perplexingly good or devilishly naughty to end up in my dreams……which means none of you need worry;). I say that because I believe you all to be a perfect mix of good and bad. Right?

OK. To do the question justice – I can only guess that since you are stuck in this dream where the Drome wants you to have fun, you would at least die happy. I could go one about the various ways I would willingly die happy in a dream…but that would just take us back to my first remark to the question. At any rate, if Tiffany ends up stuck in a Drome, I think she would die happy, if not content, and then the Drome would be well fed for several days, if not weeks. circle of life – cue Lion King music.

Other Tidbits:

I need to get me some mousepipes so that I can upset some spiders!

Daft Wullie is one of my favorite characters – having some of the best lines and an honest heart.

I like how we are being introduced to more vocabulary – like gonnagle.

I loved the stories of Tiffany’s granny in this section – her taking a switch to that potter, etc.

I had a chicken named Kelda for a few years (she was old when we got her). She was definitely in charge of the other ladies.

What Others Thought:

The Little Red Reviewer

Tethyan Books

Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

A Hat Full of Sky Read Along: The Schedule

Yes, Stout really is that sweet.
Yes, Stout really is that sweet.

Yep, the madness continues! The Little Red Reviewer and I have decided to continue on with the Tiffany Aching saga by Terry Pratchett. A Hat Full of Sky is Book 2 in the series. Hopefully everyone enjoying The Wee Free Men Read Along will want to join us. All others are most welcome. If you would like to play with us, simply leave a comment on this post and a way for me to contact you. If you log in with an email, I can see it behind the scenes. Alternatively, email me: nrlymrtl at gmail dot com or send me a twit….tweet: @nrlymrtl. I am most excited to be sharing one of my favorite series of all times with everyone.

The Schedule:

Post 1: Little Red Reviewer Chapters 1-3, 109 pages, 3/13/13
Post 2: Dab of Darkness Chapters 4-6, 88 pages, 3/20/13
Post 3: LRR Chapters 7-9, 94 pages, 3/27/13
Post 4: DoD Chapters 10-end, 107 pages, 4/3/13


The Wee Free Men Read Along Part I

Stout snuggling with the Nac Mac Feegle.
Stout snuggling with the Nac Mac Feegle.

Welcome everyone to Part I of The Wee Free Men Read Along. If this is your first Terry Pratchett book, you are in for some fun. I absolutely love the Tiffany Aching books and I am so glad to be able to share them with so many folks. This week, if you did a blog post, please leave your link in the comments and I will create a running list of participating blogs as they pop up. If you just want to stop in and leave comments, that is excellent too.

Next week, we’ll be over at The Little Red Reviewer. See HERE for the schedule.

This week, Chapters 1-5 are covered and spoilers abound from here on in! Without further procrastination, here are these week’s discussion questions:

1) Since I am a nosy person, I want to know if this is your first Terry Pratchett book for you? Do you enjoy the humor and writing style so far?

As you already know, I have read this book several times, probably more than is healthy, as I named several chickens after Nac Mac Feegle curses. I really love Terry Pratchett’s mix of humor and serious one-liners. I have read other Discworld books, which are fun, but I find these to be a bit more grounded, less punny, and therefore more entertaining. I am also a big fan of snarky footnotes, which are used in this book to my amusement.

2) We’ve been introduced to Tiffany Aching’s world of shepherding and cheese making and her family. What about this quaint setting has caught your eye?

Uh… I had to look up the word ‘gazzunder’ the first time I read this book. While I was pretty sure from the context that it was a chamber pot, I still double checked. I also like that the farm cat, Ratbag, is a real cat alternating between snuggling humans and eating baby birds. Tiffany’s clothes are pass-me-downs, including her boots (which are far too big for her), and this gives me a humorous, butt-kicking boots mental image of our young heroine.

3) Ah, the Nac Mac Feegles! Can you understand their speech? Who or what do you think the kelda is?

Haha! OK, the first time I read this book, I was reading the Feegle lines out loud to work out what they were saying. Once I got their lingo down, it added yet another layer of amusement, chortling and snort laughing ensued. Since I have already read this book, I’ll have to be mum on the kelda, but I did not have a clue my first time around.

4) Do you see a future for Tiffany at a witches’ school? Or do you think Ms. Tick will take on a mentor’s role?

Ms. Tick, what will you do? Will she get help? Will they arrive in time to be assistance? Perhaps Tiffany will be stuck with the toad as her mentor for the foreseeable future. I look forward to seeing how other witches measure up to Ms. Tick – is she the best around, average, or below average? Hmmm…. Maybe Tiffany is better off with the toad…

5) Wentworth has gone missing and there is a Queen involved. What do think she wants with him? If this is a reread, then how do you like having one magical world (the Queen’s) nestled within the Discworld universe (Tiffany’s world)?

When I first read this, I really expected to simply be learning about yet another aspect of Discworld, and I was pleasantly surprised when Pratchett yanked us into a magical realm that most Discworld residents are not aware of. Even a place such as Discworld, as saturated with magic as it is, has to have its faerie tales.

I honestly forget what the Queen wants with Wentworth (tsk, tsk on me). Perhaps she simply stumbled into him and he stuck to her, being sticky by nature as he is.

This is my chicken Crivens. She is roughly 8-9 years old. Feisty!
This is my chicken Crivens. She is roughly 8-9 years old. Feisty!

Other tidbits:

I love that there is cheese and butter making. I assume they have a milk cow for the butter as it is very difficult to get butter from sheep or goat milk because the milk is naturally homogenized, which means the fat does not separate out – and that is what you need to make butter.

I forget why Tiffany takes the book on sheep ailments. I totally understand the frying pan.


Don’t forget to add your link in the comments! I so look forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts.

Over The Effing Rainbow

Tethyan Books

The Little Red Reviewer

Lynn’s Book Blog

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

The Wee Free Men Read Along

PratchettWeeFreeMenLittle Red Reviewer and I are teaming up to bring you some very clever and highly entertaining nonsense: Announcing The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett Read Along!

Yes, that’s right – Terry Pratchett. The Wee Free Men is Book 1 in the Tiffany Aching books (there’s a total of 4), which take place in the Discworld Universe. I’ve read this book 3 or 4 times and each time I laugh so hard I nearly wet myself – and I am NOT a laugher or wetter. This time around, I will be giving the audiobook a try, and I expect I may just become something more than I am now 😉

Below is the schedule of our madness. If you would like to join, such as getting the discussion questions a few days ahead of the scheduled post, leave a comment to the affect below. Either way, we hope you enjoy our silliness.

Blurb from Goodreads:

“Another world is colliding with this one,” said the toad. “All the monsters are coming back.”

“Why?” said Tiffany.

“There’s no one to stop them.”

There was silence for a moment.

Then Tiffany said, “There’s me.”

Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk’s local Nac Mac Feegle – aka the Wee Free Men – a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds – black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors – before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone….

In a riveting narrative that is equal parts suspense and humor, Carnegie Medalist Terry Pratchett returns to his internationally popular Discworld with a breathtaking tale certain to leave fans, new and old, enthralled.

375 pages (in paperback)

Start reading 2/13
First post 2/20 Chapters 1-5 (135 pages) Dab of Darkness hosting
Second Post 2/27 Chapters 6-9 (120 pages) Little red Reviewer hosting
Third Post 3/6 Chapters 10-END (120 pages) Dab of Darkness hosting