We first meet nine-year-old Tiffany Aching during a confrontation between our heroine and a rather distressing river monster named Jenny Green-Teeth. She consults a book- something many librarian readers of this blog would likely approve of- and uses her younger brother as bait- something many would not approve of, but still ends up being clever nonetheless- and, armed with nothing more than this knowledge and a frying pan (cast iron, the kind anathema to most fairy folk) manages to wallop Jenny clear out of the neighborhood.
Thus is our introduction to Tiffany Aching, witch-in-training and star of a young adult Discworld series by the hilarious and heartbreaking writer Terry Pratchett, winner of the 2011 Margaret A. Edwards Award for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.
Today, I’m focusing on the first two books of this series, The Wee Free Men (a YALSA’s Ultimate Teen Bookshelf selection) and A Hat Full of Sky (a 2005 Best Books for Young Adults selection), during which Tiffany is nine and eleven years old, respectively. Tiffany is not your ordinary witch, nor your ordinary fantasy heroine; her family is a shepherd family on the Chalk, humble farmlands far from wizarding academies, courtly intrigue, or anything resembling a modern sewer system. She is not adept at flashy displays of magic (though she has quite a knack for churning butter and making cheese) and even notes that none of the girls in fairy tales, whether witch or princess, look very much like Tiffany at all.