Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron
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Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron (Innkeeper's World #1.5)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  689 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Black Cats.
Pointy Hats.

They can mean only one thing - somewhere nearby, there must be a witch. From fairy tales to fims to fiction, witches cast their spells and capture our imaginations.

Now the biggest names in fantasy and young adult literature have come together to make a little magic of their own. Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Diana Peterfreund, Margo Lanagan,

Hardcover, 424 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Let It Snow by John GreenGeektastic by Holly BlackEternal Spring by Diana PeterfreundVacations from Hell by Libba BrayZombies Vs. Unicorns by Holly Black
YA Anthologies
7th out of 36 books — 21 voters
Geektastic by Holly BlackHow They Met, and Other Stories by David LevithanThe Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling13 by James HoweKiss Me Deadly by Trisha Telep
YA Short Stories & Collections
219th out of 252 books — 84 voters

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Community Reviews

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Oct 28, 2012 Kendra rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
I discovered this book via the Forever Young Adult blog, and it sounded too good to pass up. Of course, in order to get it in time to read before Halloween, I had to bite the bullet and actually buy the digital version (which is rare for me).

I'm really glad I took the gamble. These short stories are woven together nicely. They are all very different kinds of tales coming from a variety of authors, but each had the central theme of witches in them, so I was able to go from one story to the next w...more
Oct 02, 2012 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: urban fantasy fans
Really excellent collection of stories with witches at their center. Once again, the Jim Butcher contribution was worth the price of the book. The rest of the stories were pretty awesome too. There were several with characters that I'd read whole books about. This is marketed for YAs, but it's very adult friendly.
Standout stories: Tanith Lee's Felidis, Charles de Lint's Barrio Girls, Ellen Kushner's Threefold World, and most surprisingly for me, Jim Butcher's B is for Bigfoot.

Honourable mention: Garth Nix's A Handful of Ashes, for turning me around even when I saw it was set in a made-up world and groaned.

Worst story: Holly Black's Little Gods. I got about three pages into her book White Cat and had the exact same reaction there as I did here - this is a story for American teenagers and no-one else.

Not i...more
So, one of these stories begins "Liesl, that grinch, stole my G string."


It turned out to be about musicians. It would have been much more original, if less appropriate for the audience, if it had been about magical strippers.
Althea Ann
*** “Stray Magic”, Diana Peterfreund
A sentimental and cute story with a message - about a kindly animal shelter worker, and the magical dog that comes into her care.

*** “Payment Due”, Frances Hardinge
After an uncaring agent repossesses her grandmother's belongings, a young witch decides to take revenge into her own hands. A sense of street justice and a vein of real creepiness runs through this.

*** “A Handful of Ashes”, Garth Nix
A tale of a plot to overthrow the administration of a witches' col...more
Kathy Davie
An anthology of eighteen short stories revolving around a theme of witches and magic.

"B is for Bigfoot", (Bigfoot Trilogy, 3 published); (Bigfoot, 1 chronological), & Dresden Files: Short Stories, 15

The Stories
Diana Peterfreund's "Stray Magic" is so sweet! Peterfreund created a lovely story that really pulled my heartstrings with a seemingly abandoned dog who desperately wants his master back.

Frances Hardinge's "Payment Due" is wicked good! Even short stories can suffer in this econo...more
Amy Lignor

For anyone who is a lover of the world of witchcraft, and admires those little darlings who wear the black, pointed hats and have that feline as their familiar - these are the tales for you! A ton of beloved novelists from the fantasy realm have come together, each offering their own story about the witch-‘y’ women we have come to love.

As we all know, just like the dove is the symbol for peace and the red, white and blue is all about America, the witch has her own symbols. But what is most inter...more
Okay, I'm cheating a bit here. I didn't read the whole book. I only got my hands on this book for the Jim Butcher short story, B is for Bigfoot. So my review was solely based on JB's story and it alone.

Interestingly, I had previously read a short story about Bigfoot and his son Irwin in another anthology (the name escapes me at the moment). So I wasn't entirely unfamiliar with Bigfoot. What I found surprising was that this story was about the first time that Dresden met Bigfoot!! So did I read t...more
I’ve undergone a transformation. For most of my life I thought of short stories as the second-class citizens of the reading world. Why read a short story anthology when you could pick a thick book that would keep you reading the same story for hours? I wanted epic stories, the longer the better.

Things have changed since those days. I don’t have hours-long blocks of time to spend immersed in a book (unless I want to stay awake all night and then deal with a reading hangover at work the next day)....more
A good collection, full of variety regarding how the authors twisted the theme Witches, one of the best twisted stories was Tanith Lee's "Felidis" and Jim Butcher's Harry Dresten story "B is for Bigfoot" but both Isobelle Carmody's "The stone witch" and Peter S. Beagle's "Great-grandmother in the celler" must be named too.

Jane Yolen took a H. C. Andersen tale and changed it which I liked.
Then there are of course one author who like Tanith Lee never disappoints me are Gareth Nix which in a "A han...more
Apr 10, 2014 Julianna is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for THC Reviews
When reading anthologies, I usually pick up one novella here and there to fill in gaps between longer books and rarely read them straight through. With that being the case, I've decided to post reviews of each story as I finish it. Reviews on the remaining novellas and the overall book rating will be forthcoming.:-)

Stray Magic by Diana Peterfreund -

Payment Due by Frances Hardinge -

A Handful of Ashes by Garth Nix -

Little Gods by Holly Black -

Barrio Girls by Charles De...more
I picked this book for the short story "B is for Bigfoot" by Jim Butcher featuring character Harry Dresden. I was tempted to just read the short story I was interested while standing in the library and not bother with checking it out, but the premise for the collection seemed like something that might strike my fancy if done correctly. I am so glad I rented this collection from the library! I really enjoyed almost all of the tales. Each one was so unique, but yet still tied to the central theme....more
Sarah Churchill
I really enjoyed most of the stories, though of course some are stronger than others. I did feel a bit over-witched by the end, but it's a very good collection.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
A reasonably strong anthology. I think I actually read all the stories, even though I probably couldn't recall the details of them all without prompting.
Fantastic collection of YA stories involving witches (in some way).
Andrew Pagel

I'm loving it! Great collection of everything witch!
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
I love a good seasonal read and Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron was my choice of read for Halloween this year. The book is a collection of short stories by several well known and talented authors, with all of the stories relating in some way, to the iconic witch hat, witchery or in general, magic.

I don't often read short stories, but with a choice of eighteen tales, I thought this would be a fun choice and I was guaranteed to enjoy at least a few of the stories! I haven't reviewed many sh...more

Introduction: Looking under the hat, Jonathan Strahan. I was very pleased with his introduction, it had facts, but also the familiar feel of the author. (4 stars)

Stray Magic, Diana Peterfreund. I've never read or heard from her before picking up this book, so I didn't know what to expect. I still can't decide if I like her style of writing, it's not terrible, but is just kind of plain. It's a cute story that involves a dog and her magical master. (3 stars)

Little Gods, Holly Black. This shor...more
Another fantasy anthology! I really liked this one, it was full of cool, funny and magical stories. Most, luckily, I really liked and I'm going to talk about those in this review. But I have mention that some I didn't like. Maybe because of the content, or the writing style, whatever it was, I sometimes wished I'd skipped them. But they all offered something unique and I can appreciate that.

So, a few stories that I liked. First up, the first story of the book in fact, was Stray Magic by Diana P...more
Michelle (Much Loved Books)
From the moment I saw Under My Hat at a blogger event earlier this year I knew it was a book I had to read. With a mix of authors that we know and love like Holly Black (Little Gods), Garth Nix (A Handful of Ashes), and Neil Gaiman (Witch Work) and to me, some not well know authors.

One of the best things about books from Hot key books, is that they have their own special ring, the Hot Key Ring, on the back of each book. The ring lets you, the reader, know what to expect from each book. Under My...more
I really loved almost all of the eighteen stories in this anthology, which is very unusual. But first, this copy has thirty plus pages from toward the beginning at toward the ending, so I didn’t get the beginning of Jane Yolen’s story “Andersen’s Witch” or the end of Isabelle Carmody’s story “The Stone Witch.” Bummer! I've asked SFBC where I bought the book to replace it, we'll see...
*“Andersen’s Witch” seems to be how Hans Christian Andersen came to be such a prominent storyteller. (Since Yolen...more
Stacey (prettybooks)
I used to be one of those people who avoided short stories. And 'proper fantasy', for that matter. So why, you may ask, did I pick up this collection? Well, Halloween is one of my favourite holidays and I feel like we just don't celebrate it properly here. Sure, you'll find a lot of Halloween-related goodies in shops, but I'm not quite sure what people actually do with them once they buy them. I've never been trick-or-treating (it's probably a bit late now, eh?), not that we're accustomed to tha...more
Shannon Kitchens
Aug 14, 2013 Shannon Kitchens is currently reading it
Mini-reviews for all the stories.

Diana Peterfreund - "Stray Magic" - 3 stars
This is a strange story about a canine familiar. I enjoyed how Peterfreund handled the internal narration and telepathy, but the story didn't wow me.

Frances Hardinge - "Payment Due" - 4 stars
Another strange story that's surprisingly excellent and bizarre. Witchy repo men and body swapping with lovely prose.

Holly Black - "Little Gods" - 3 stars
This is turning into an odd anthology. Black's prose is beautiful as ever, with...more
Let me start by saying that I was disappointed with Neil Gaiman’s offering for this collection. (I know, what’s wrong with me?!) Not so much the quality of it but the fact that it’s only 2 pages, making it by far the shortest in the book. If I had checked this before buying the book it might have made me hesitate but I really would have missed out because so many of the others more than make up for it.

You have 18 separate tales; except two which didn’t work for me I enjoyed them all. Diana Peter...more
Emily Leathers
Picked this up for the Harry Dresden story. Read almost all of the stories included, though I skipped 2.5 about 2/3 of the way through.

My very favorite was A Handful of Ashes by Garth Nix, with the Dresden story (B is for Bigfoot) coming in second, and __ and Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow by Margo Lanagan as strong honorable mentions.

Introduction: Looking Under the Hat by Jonathan Strahan - Nice introduction. Good summary of the thread that ties the compilation together and his motivation for c...more
LH Johnson
This is a smart, stylish collection of witch stories all based around the starting point of a tall black pointy witch hat. The hat may be real, metaphorical, allusive, and the witch - well, might be anything.

I really enjoyed this. It's a collection of some stunning names and I was excited to see Peter S. Beagle and Frances Hardinge in the mix alongside Holly Black. Garth Nix and Neil Gaiman.

The joy of a short story collection is that you can flip back and forth in it and wholly skip stories th...more
Check out my review on my blog:



Some of my Review below:


I was sent this anthology by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This book is an anthology containing eighteen short stories based around witches from some of the most popular fantasy authors of today.

It is a sad thing that I had never read an anthology before reading this book. Before, I'd never really even consider them as I did not read many short stories. Now after this...more
Rugg Ruggedo
Tanith Lee, Holly Black, Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen, Delia Sherman, Jim Butcher, Ellen Kushner, Patricia A.McKillips, Peter S.Beagle, Neil Gaiman. Sounds a bit like a Hall of Fame for current urban and high fantasy, but this is just about half the writers this fun and interesting collection features.
Under that Hat, is about the people under the legendary pointed hat. Not a hat that current witches prefer to be associated with,but one that any fan of the Oz movie knows and loves.The editor set o...more
Shannon Appelcline
B is For Bigfoot, by Jim Butcher. This was the reason I picked up the book from the library. It's a strong story, set very early in Dresden's chronology. It's a joy to see a younger, simpler Dresden, who actually still a PI, working to solve real-world problems; Butcher does a great job of effortlessly capturing that feeling, even though it's been years since he wrote it. The actual story is good too: I love the new character, Bigfoot Irwin, and look forward to seeing more of him. I also quite e...more
Tamara Richman
It's so hard to review a book of so many stories. Some of them were meh and some I desperately turned pages wanting more (especially the Margo Lanahan). I would like to say for the record that a 2 page poem does not equal a short story, thank you very much Mr. Gaiman! The best part of this book was being introduced to some new authors I want to try and thinking about the myriad of ways witches are thought of and treated in our society. I would have liked some witch tales from other cultures (out...more
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“Here's the thing. I hate kids. Always have.
I mean, I know the job of the race, biologically speaking, is to achieve immortality through reproduction, but the idea of getting impregnated and blowing up like a balloon as I serve as a carrier and service unit for this other person who will eventually burst out of me in the most terrifying way imaginable, then carry on using me one way or another for the rest of my life, is right up there with throwing myself off the top of a twenty-story building. If I have a biological clock, it is digital and does not tick.”
“Whenever you've got a choice, do good, kiddo. It isn't always fun or easy, but in the long run it makes your life better.” 9 likes
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