The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld Series #28) [NOOK Book]

Overview

One rat, popping up here and there, squeaking loudly, and taking a bath in the cream, could be a plague all by himself. After a few days of this, it was amazing how glad people were to see the kid with his magical rat pipe. And they were amazing when the rats followed hint out of town.

They'd have been really amazed if they'd ever found out that the rats and the piper met up with a cat somewhere outside of town and solemnly counted out the ...

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The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld Series #28)

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Overview

One rat, popping up here and there, squeaking loudly, and taking a bath in the cream, could be a plague all by himself. After a few days of this, it was amazing how glad people were to see the kid with his magical rat pipe. And they were amazing when the rats followed hint out of town.

They'd have been really amazed if they'd ever found out that the rats and the piper met up with a cat somewhere outside of town and solemnly counted out the money.

The Amazing Maurice runs the perfect Pied Piper scam. This streetwise alley cat knows the value of cold, hard cash and can talk his way into and out of anything. But when Maurice and his cohorts decide to con the town of Bad Blinitz, it will take more than fast talking to survive the danger that awaits. For this is a town where food is scarce and rats are hated, where cellars are lined with deadly traps, and where a terrifying evil lurks beneath the hunger-stricken streets....

Set in Terry Pratchett's widely popular Discworld, this masterfully crafted, gripping read is both compelling and funny. When one of the world's most acclaimed fantasy writers turns a classic fairy tale on its head, no one will ever look at the Pied Piper -- or rats -- the same way again!

A talking cat, intelligent rats, and a strange boy cooperate in a Pied Piper scam until they try to con the wrong town and are confronted by a deadly evil rat king.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
With the debut of his first young-adult novel, science fiction writer Terry Pratchett invites readers ages 12 and up to visit Discworld -- an imaginary land well known to Pratchett's adult following. At the heart of this tale is a slightly twisted take on the old Pied Piper theme, a talking, thinking cat named Maurice, and a supporting cast of equally talented rats who bear such comical names as Big Savings, Nourishing, and Dangerous Beans.

Maurice and the rats have teamed up with a young lad named Keith to implement a clever moneymaking scheme. Upon entering a town, the rats make a general nuisance of themselves -- stealing food and widdling on things -- until the townsfolk become desperate to get rid of them. Then Maurice and Keith appear on the scene and offer to save the day by ridding the town of its infestation for a small fee. It seems like a surefire plan until the group arrives in the town of Bad Blintz and gets hooked up with Malicia, a young girl with a vivid imagination and a knack for finding trouble. When it's discovered that Bad Blintz already has a rat problem -- one that a couple of shifty-eyed rat catchers claim to have under control -- things turn deadly. For lurking beneath the town's streets is an obstacle course of mangling rattraps and noxious poisons. And beyond that is a monster so powerful and ugly, even Malicia couldn't imagine it.

As Maurice and the rats battle for their very survival, a number of provocative themes surface: life after death, good versus evil, and the sacrifice of the few for the many. But be forewarned -- those in search of lighter fare in these troubled times may not find what they are looking for in Pratchett's vision Despite plenty of razor-sharp wit and lighthearted moments, this tale has an underbelly as dark as the tunnels beneath Bad Blintz. Though The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is deeply witty and engaging, some readers may find parts of the story -- descriptions of how some of the rats die and how others eat their dead -- rather intense. (Beth Amos)

Great Britain Bookseller
Clearly destined for great things...deeply pleasurable and a wonderful and entertaining read.
Publishers Weekly
For this outrageously cheeky tale, British writer Pratchett pairs a dynamite plot with memorable characters a group of intelligent rats sporting such monikers as Hamnpork, Big Savings and Darktan (they've been foraging in the University of Wizards' garbage dump and come up with "the kind of name you gave yourself if you learned to read before you understood what all the words actually meant"), plus a "stupid-looking kid" with a flute and a criminal kitty mastermind named Maurice. The motley con artists' pied piper scam is highly successful until the rats develop a conscience. Reluctantly, they agree to one final heist, but in the town of Bad Blintz things go horribly, hilariously wrong. First, they're twigged by Malicia Grim (granddaughter and grand-niece of the Sisters Grim), then they encounter a pair of conniving rat-catchers, a real pied piper and an evil something lurking in the town's cellars. They triumph, of course, and there's even a glimmer of redemption for the deliciously self-centered Maurice, who tackles the "Grim Squeaker" and bargains for the life of his rat comrade Dangerous Beans. In the end, while the others settle down, Maurice hits the road and is last seen approaching another "stupid-looking kid" with a money-making proposition. Could this mean more tales to come? Readers will eagerly hope so. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
PW called this tale about a group of intelligent rat criminals, a kitty and a kid who develop a highly successful pied piper scam (until the rats develop a conscience) "an outrageously cheeky tale, with a dynamite plot and memorable characters." Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Maurice is a con man, or more correctly, a con cat. He travels from town to town scamming the local governments with his passel of trained rats. After feasting upon garbage in back of the university laboratory, the rats and Maurice are able to speak. They put aside the natural distrust between cat and rat, join together and then enlist a "stupid-looking kid" who plays the flute. This clever turnabout of the Pied Piper story relays important lessons in morality and is humorous as well. The rats are fascinated with a book about animals wearing clothes and conversing freely with humans and other species. These rats may talk, but they seem to think wearing clothes is constricting and unwise. They are also troubled because they have gained the ability to wonder and imagine and sometimes have thoughts and fears they would rather not experience. A young girl, claiming to be descended from the Sisters Grimm, believes life is to be lived like a story and she further complicates the plot. Although the imaginative descriptions of the rats and their adventures may be distasteful to the squeamish, this is an interesting concept and a well-written, worthwhile story. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
Children's Literature - Kathleen Isaacs
A cat, a clan of rats and a boy with a pipe successfully cure a series of towns of their "rat plague." Then, they encounter genuine evil, and the talking animals discover that along with their ability to speak, they've developed a conscience. Much more than a Pied Piper story, this award-winning fantasy deals with questions of life and death, respect and responsibility for others of all species, cooperation, courage, evil within and without, and the nature of leadership. While this is not laugh-out-loud funny like some of Pratchett's other books, readers can't help but smile as Hamnpork, Darktan, and Dangerous Beans take on the town of Bad Blintz, helped by Keith the musician and Malicia, the mayor's story-telling daughter. What is most appealing about this book is the way Pratchett develops his characters—cat, rat, and human alike—and allows them to grow, but not unrealistically far. Maurice the cat, the instigator of their scam, surprises himself and readers with his new understanding, but at heart remains the manipulator he has always been. The happy-ever-after ending extends to the town itself. Lucky readers who encounter this thought-provoking story about stories in its revised paperback edition, which includes an interview with the author and a reprint of his Carnegie Medal acceptance speech will be highly satisfied. Reviewer: Kathleen Isaacs
VOYA
When the rats gobble up drippy candle ends and cauldron residue from the Wizard's University dump, they have no idea that they will be changed forever—and so will Maurice, the cat, who inadvertently eats one of them. The magical goop the rats consume transforms them into educated rats, and they choose names such as Dangerous Beans, Donut Enter, Hamnpork, and Sardines. Maurice, who can read and speak now, becomes their leader. Teaming up with Kevin, a boy piper, they travel the countryside running a Pied Piper scam. Life is good until they reach Bad Blintz, a town that employs two full-time rat catchers who are running their own scam. Kevin and Malicia, the mayor's daughter, help their four-legged friends expose a diabolical scheme to brutalize innocent rats and extort food and money from the townsfolk. Before long, hostages are rescued, the bad guys are punished, and Maurice and his rodents are guaranteed security for life by the grateful residents. This book is pure, unadulterated fun as Dangerous Beans and the gang struggle with unusual quandaries that only educated rats encounter, such as the true meaning of life and whether it is okay to eat a dead friend. The action is fast paced, the dialogue witty, and the characters endearing and unforgettable. This latest Discworld romp, aimed at younger readers, stands alone and will attract a wide audience. It joins two recent Discworld novels, Thief of Time and Last Hero (both HarperCollins, 2001). VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and YoungAdult). 2001, HarperCollins, 224p, $15.95. PLB $15.89. Ages 11 to Adult. Reviewer: Nancy K. Wallace SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
KLIATT
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2001: Pratchett, a popular British writer of funny SF novels, is known for his Discworld series. This is his first Discworld novel aimed specially at YA readers, and it should win him new fans. The amazing Maurice is a clever talking cat who has come up with a fake Pied Piper scheme. He has made an arrangement with some talking rats and a "stupid-looking kid" who plays the flute, staging rat plagues and then resolving them profitably. All is well until the little band reaches the strange town of Bad Blintz, and encounter there the evil rat king who manipulates minds. Adventure, suspense, snappy dialogue, and satiric humor abound. As in the classic Watership Down, Pratchett succeeds in creating a believable and sympathetic community of animals fighting for their lives. And as in Rats, Paul Zindel's 1999 horror novel for YAs, he conveys the terror of that fearful creature, the rat king. Superior entertainment for fantasy fans. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, HarperTrophy, 340p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
In this laugh-out-loud fantasy, his first "Discworld" novel for younger readers, Pratchett rethinks a classic story and comes up with a winner. His unforgettable characters include Maurice, a scheming and cranky but ultimately warmhearted cat; Keith, a young musician who isn't as dumb as he looks; and half a dozen intelligent rats with personalities all their own. Their plan is simple. The rats steal food, frighten ladies, "widdle" in the cream, and generally make nuisances of themselves. When the town advertises for a piper, Keith appears to lead the rats away, and they all meet up later to divide the loot. It works like a charm until the conspirators stumble into Bad Blintz, a village with not a single "regular" rat to be found. As Maurice's band of rodents poke around in the town sewers, Keith befriends the mayor's daughter, a ditzy girl with a head full of stories. When the humans are captured by evil rat catchers, it's up to Maurice and his crew to save the day. Pratchett's trademark puns, allusions, and one-liners abound. The rats, who grew intelligent after eating magic-contaminated trash behind a university for wizards, now tackle major questions of morality, philosophy, and religion. Despite the humorous tone of the novel, there are some genuinely frightening moments, too, as the heroes confront a telepathic Rat King in the bowels of Bad Blintz. Readers who enjoyed Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH and Richard Adams's Watership Down will love this story. A not-to-be-missed delight.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Satiric adult SF superstar Pratchett (The Last Hero) resets the Pied Piper tale on Discworld, with predictably unpredictable results. Here the rats themselves are pulling off a profitable scam, masterminded by Maurice the cat. The animals, their intelligence accidentally magically enhanced, infest town after town, until the desperate inhabitants pay their human accomplice to pipe them out. But the rats have developed consciences; and when they agree grudgingly to just one more "plague," they run up against an evil combining the worst of human and rat natures-and that only human, rat, and cat together can defeat. Much of the charm here resides in the way the animals remain true to their natures-the rats, each with a distinct personality, still fight, steal, and stink, while Maurice is as self-centered as only a cat can be-yet still remain far more appealing than the foolish humans around them. Pratchett hasn't blunted his wickedly funny pen for younger readers; the only apparent concessions to a teen audience are the adolescent humans abetting the rats, and the story's relative brevity. He retains the lethal combination of laugh-out-loud farce, razor-sharp satire, and the underlying passionate idealism unique to the confirmed cynic that makes his adult Discworld series so popular. A lot is packed in amidst the humor: ruminations on good and evil, dreaming and doing, leadership and compromise. But this is at heart a story about stories, so necessary as consolations, inspirations, and guides, but also so dangerous when allowed to replace independent thought. Excruciatingly funny, ferociously intelligent.
From the Publisher
"Terry Pratchett is one of the great inventors of secondary — or imaginary or alternative — worlds… he has the real energy of the primary storyteller." — The Times

“One of the best and one of the funniest English authors alive.” — The Independent

“As always, [Terry Pratchett] is head and shoulders above even the best of the rest. He is screamingly funny. He is wise. He has style… Splendid.” — Daily Telegraph

USA Today
“Delves into weighty issues but keeps its sense of dark humor.”
Horn Book Magazine
“Pratchett’s absorbing, suspenseful adventure is deepened by a willingness to tackle the questions of existence.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Pratchett leaves none of his wit behind in this exploration of Discworld for younger readers."
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Pure, unadulterated fun. The action is fast paced, the dialogue witty, unforgettable.”
Locus Magazine
“Manages to be hilarious, moving, scary, impishly vulgar and wickedly wise, sometimes all at once.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Pratchett leaves none of his wit behind in this exploration of Discworld for younger readers.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Pratchett leaves none of his wit behind in this exploration of Discworld for younger readers.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (recommended)
“Pratchett leaves none of his wit behind in this exploration of Discworld for younger readers.”
The Bookseller (Great Britain)
“Clearly destined for great things…deeply pleasurable and a wonderful and entertaining read.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (recommended)
“Pratchett leaves none of his wit behind in this exploration of Discworld for younger readers.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books(recommended)
Pratchett leaves none of his wit behind in this exploration of Discworld for younger readers.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (recommended)
“Pratchett leaves none of his wit behind in this exploration of Discworld for younger readers.”
KLIATT
“This is his first Discworld novel aimed specifically at YA readers, and it should win him new fans.”
Library Journal - Booksmack!
Before Sir Pratchett told his tales of Tiffany Aching and her Wee Free Men (see last month's column for the most recent, I Shall Wear Midnight), he introduced young readers to Discworld with this clever retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Maurice is a clever cat with some very well-trained rat friends. Together they enter a gullible town and plague it with ratty behavior, making the populace more than eager to pay a piper to remove the pests. When their not-so-merry band of grifters enters the town of Bad Blintz, they meet their match in the clever mayor's daughter, Malicia. Originally published in 2001, this winner of the 2001 Carnegie Medal also echoes Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Those rats became intelligent by eating waste from a university garbage bin. Angelina Benedetti, "35 Going on 13", Booksmack!, 12/2/10
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061975158
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Series: Discworld Series , #28
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 77,467
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • File size: 849 KB

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.

Biography

Welcome to a magical world populated by the usual fantasy fare: elves and ogres, wizards and witches, dwarves and trolls. But wait—is that witch wielding a frying pan rather than a broomstick? Has that wizard just clumsily tumbled off the edge of the world? And what is with the dwarf they call Carrot, who just so happens to stand six-foot six-inches tall? Why, this is not the usual fantasy fare at all—this is Terry Pratchett's delightfully twisted Discworld!

Beloved British writer Pratchett first jump-started his career while working as a journalist for Bucks Free Press during the '60s. As luck would have it, one of his assignments was an interview with Peter Bander van Duren, a representative of a small press called Colin Smythe Limited. Pratchett took advantage of his meeting with Bander van Duren to pitch a weird story about a battle set in the pile of a frayed carpet. Bander van Duren bit, and in 1971 Pratchett's very first novel, The Carpet People, was published, setting the tone for a career characterized by wacky flights of fancy and sly humor.

Pratchett's take on fantasy fiction is quite unlike that of anyone else working in the genre. The kinds of sword-and-dragon tales popularized by fellow Brits like J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis have traditionally been characterized by their extreme self-seriousness. However, Pratchett has retooled Middle Earth and Narnia with gleeful goofiness, using his Discworld as a means to poke fun at fantasy. As Pratchett explained to Locus Magazine, "Discworld started as an antidote to bad fantasy, because there was a big explosion of fantasy in the late '70s, an awful lot of it was highly derivative, and people weren't bringing new things to it."

In 1983, Pratchett unveiled Discworld with The Color of Magic. Since then, he has added installments to the absurdly hilarious saga at the average rate of one book per year. Influenced by moderately current affairs, he has often used the series to subtly satirize aspects of the real world; the results have inspired critics to rapturous praise. ("The most breathtaking display of comic invention since PG Wodehouse," raved The Times of London.) He occasionally ventures outside the series with standalone novels like the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, a sci fi adventure sequence for young readers, or Good Omens, his bestselling collaboration with graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Sadly, in 2008 fans received the devastating news that Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He has described his own reaction as "fairly philosophical" and says he plans to continue writing so long as he is able.

Good To Know

Pratchett's bestselling young adult novel Only You Can Save Mankind was adapted for the British stage as a critically acclaimed musical in 2004.

Discworld is not just the subject of a bestselling series of novels. It has also inspired a series of computer games in which players play the role of the hapless wizard Rincewind.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Pratchett:

"I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat…colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it's just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.

"I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener and it's in the blood. Grew really good chilies this year.

"I'm not really good at fun-to-know, human interest stuff. We're not ‘celebrities', whose life itself is a performance. Good or bad or ugly, we are our words. They're what people meet.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence David John Pratchett
    2. Hometown:
      Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

One day, when he was naughty, Mr. Bunnsy looked over the hedge into Farmer Fred's field and saw it was full of fresh green lettuces. Mr. Bunnsy however, was not full of lettuces. This did not seem fair.

-- From Mr. Bunnsy Has an Adventure


Rats!
They fought the dogs and killed the cats, and --

But there was more to it than that. As the Amazing Maurice said, it was just a story about people and rats. And the difficult part of it was deciding who the people were, and who were the rats.

But Malicia Grim said it was a story about stories.

It began -- part of it began -- on the mail coach that came over the mountains from the distant cities of the plain.

This was the part of the journey that the driver didn't like. The road wound through forests and around mountains on crumbling roads. There were deep shadows between the trees. Sometimes he thought things were following the coach, keeping just out of sight. It gave him the willies.

And on this journey the really big willy was that he could hear voices. He was sure of it. They were coming from behind him, from the top of the coach, and there was nothing there but the big oilcloth mail sacks and the boy's luggage. There was certainly nothing big enough for a person to hide inside. But occasionally he was sure he heard squeaky voices, whispering.

There was only one passenger at this point. He was a fair-haired young man, sitting all by himself inside the rocking coach and reading a book. He was reading slowly, and aloud, and moving his finger over the words.

"Ubberwald," he read out.

"That's'Uberwald,'" said a small, squeaky, but very clear voice. "The dots make it a sort of long 'ooo' sound. But you're doing well."

"Ooooooberwald?"

"There's such a thing as too much pronunciation, kid," said another voice, which sounded half asleep. "But you know the best thing about Uberwald? It's a long, long way from Sto Lat. It's a long way from Pseudopolis. It's a long way from anywhere where the head of the Watch says he'll have us boiled alive if he ever catches us. And it's not very modern. Bad roads. Lots of mountains in the way. People don't move about much up here. So news doesn't travel very fast, see? And they probably don't have policemen. Kid, we can make a fortune here!"

"Maurice?" said the boy carefully.

"Yes, kid?"

"You don't think what we're doing is, you know...dishonest, do you?"

There was a pause before the voice said, "How do you mean, dishonest?"

"Well...we take their money, Maurice." The coach bounced over a pothole.

"All right," said the unseen Maurice. "But what you've got to ask yourself is: Who do we take the money from, actually?"

"Well...it's generally the mayor or the city council or someone like that."

"Right! And that means it's...what? I've told you this bit before."

"Er..."

"It is gov-ern-ment money, kid," said Maurice patiently. "Say it. Gov-ern-ment money."

"Gov-er-ment money," said the boy obediently.

"Right! And what do governments do with money?"

"Er, they..."

"They pay soldiers," said Maurice. "They have wars. In fact we've prob'ly stopped a lot of wars, by taking the money and putting it where it can't do any harm. They'd put up stachoos to us, if they thought about it."

"Some of those towns looked pretty poor, Maurice," said, the kid doubtfully.

"Hey, just the kind of places that don't need wars, then."

"Dangerous Beans says it's . . ." the boy concentrated, and his lips moved before he said the word, as if he was trying out the pro-nunciation to himself. "It's un-eth-ickle."

"That's right, Maurice," said the squeaky voice. "Dangerous Beans says we shouldn't live by trickery."

"Listen, Peaches, trickery is what humans are all about," said the voice of Maurice. "They're so keen on tricking one another all the time that they elect governments to do it for them. We give them value for money. They get a horrible plague of rats, they pay a rat piper, the rats all follow the kid out of town, hoppity-skip, end of plague, everyone's happy that no one's widdling in the flour anymore, the government gets reelected by a grateful population, general celebration all around. Money well spent, in my opinion."

"But there's only a plague because we make them think there is," said the voice of Peaches.

"Well, my dear, another thing all those little governments spend their money on is rat catchers, see? I don't know why I bother with the lot of you, I really don't."

"Yes, but we -- "

They realized that the coach had stopped. Outside, in the rain, there was the Jingle of harness. Then the coach rocked a little, and there was the sound of running feet.

A voice from out of the darkness said, "Are there any wizards in there?"

The occupants looked at one another in puzzlement.

"No?" said the kid, the kind of "No" that means "Why are you asking?"

"How about any witches?" said the voice.

"No, no witches," said the kid.

"Right. Are there any heavily armed trolls employed by the mail coach company in there?"

"I doubt it," said Maurice.

There was a moment's pause, filled with the sound of the rain.

"Okay, how about werewolves?" said the voice eventually. The speaker sounded as though he was working through a list.

"What do they look like?" said the kid.

"Ali, well, they look perfectly normal right up to the point where they grow all, like, hair and teeth and giant paws and leap through the window at you," said the voice...

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Copyright © by Terry Pratchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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  • Posted October 30, 2008

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    Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com

    I have always been told that, as a fan of fantasy and humor, I needed to read Terry Pratchett. And after reading THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS, I now understand what everyone was talking about. Pratchett's style is simultaneously witty, entertaining, and incisive; he succeeds in this children's book in saying more about society than most adult books ever manage, and he does so while making you laugh out loud. <BR/><BR/>Set in an obscure corner of Discworld, the fantasy world in which Pratchett has written numerous other books for adults, a cat named Maurice discovers suddenly the ability to talk--and not just to talk, but to think and to reason. Maurice believes himself to be the only animal afflicted with this talent, until he discovers a group of rats living in the city dump who have also miraculously achieved the ability of speech and thought. As Maurice is emphatic about his promise to never eat anything that can talk, he and the talking rats get along rather well. Soon, along with the help of an orphan boy named Keith who was raised by a musician's guild, Maurice sets upon a scheme to make some easy money, and the rats go along in their belief that they may someday find a place where they will be free to live as talking rats without the fear of being hunted by humans. <BR/><BR/>Maurice's plan is simple. If the rats will go and infest a town, wreaking havoc for the space of a few days, the town leaders will be sure to call a rat piper to remove the rats from the town. Then it's Keith's job to show up, pipe the rats away, and receive a generous fee for his troubles, one that the rats and Maurice will share. Keith, Maurice, and the rats go like this from town to town...until they reach the town of Bad Blintz, and everything stops working as planned. <BR/><BR/>The story is populated by humorous characters that you can't help but take seriously. Maurice's sly cunning is undermined by the fact that he meticulously questions any rat he comes across before eating it, in order to keep up his first promise to the talking rats. The rats themselves are amusing individuals, self-named after the first things they could read in that city dump where they originated, so that the story is populated by creatures who go by Hamnpork, Darktan, Sardines, and Dangerous Beans. But under these hilarious names, they are at heart a people trying to figure out their own origins and explain the things they don't yet understand about their sudden ability to speak, and what that means for their future. <BR/><BR/>I would recommend this book to anyone who's not afraid to laugh, and anyone who's not afraid to think hard about the ramifications of being a person--or rat, or cat--capable of speech, thought, and reason.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2012

    A very good read.

    This is a very good read for the younger readers. It's also recommended for anyone that wants to read all of Sir Pratchett's work. It does not have any of the regular Discworld cast in it, but it fits into the series quite nicely. I will not give out any spoilers. If you like Pratchett's work, then this is definitely worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2010

    The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

    This is a really good book; it has an interesting plot and an unforgettable cast of characters. The story is that of a mysterious talking cat named Maurice and his band of intelligent rats (Along with a "stupid-looking" kid who isn't as stupid as he looks.) who go around scamming towns with fake rat plagues. As the towns go crazy with the rat mayhem, the stupid-looking kid poses as a rat piper who "leads" the rats out of the town. Then the kid collects his payment and brings it back to Maurice and his rats. All of this is directed by Maurice himself. All goes well for this motley band of con artists until they come to the little town of Bad Blintz. Some evil secret lurks there that may put an end to there plans. forever.
    I really liked this book because Maurice was very sarcastic and I got a few laughs out of the book. Also Terry Pratchett (The author.) is really good at making each character have his/or her own personality. For example, Dangerous Beans (The rats get there names from debris found in garbage piles.) is a very intelligent rat that is constantly thinking up philosophies and rules. He is a type of spiritual leader for the rats.
    I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 because it has action and it is very funny. Even though there are many characters you never get confused and all in all it is a good book for young adults. If you like fantasy with humor this would be a good book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2005

    Almost surprised it's a children's book

    'Maurice' I found to be an absolute treat and this is possibly my favorite book by Pratchet. While yes, it is an old fairy tale retold in Disc World, the usual addition of Pratchett's dark social commentary is fantastic, especially since Pratchett made this book's commentary, a young adult's book, *much* darker than his 'real' adult books. With the humor and wit mixed in, I cannot praise this book enough!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2005

    i've read it ten times.

    I really liked this book. Which might be a considerable understatement... anyway, it's a great story. Unlike other talking animal stories its not just about these happy little animals who have fun all day, but they actually have real problems. It wasn't extremely humorous, but the story was really good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2012

    Never thought someone could make talking rats so interesting. It

    Never thought someone could make talking rats so interesting. It was
    nothing like I expected which I found pleasing. Really good read :)

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  • Posted June 9, 2011

    Hilarious and Brilliant

    Among Terry Pratchett's best - certainly not just for younger readers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2011

    What an entertaining animal story!!!

    This story was so intricately devised and presented. Very exciting, fast-paced and funny. I was disappointed that the book actually came to an end. Encore please, Mr. Pratchett!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2006

    Does anyone know...?

    what all the names of the rats were i know the main ones such as Hampork,Dangerous Beans, Peachy, and Nourishing. but would appreciate any help in finding the others. thanks!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Good read

    I thought this was a cute little book, though it's not for everyone. It could have been a bit better, but then again, ALL books could be better. I like how Pratchett put a new spin on fairy tales as he did.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2004

    Funny, but not hilarious

    I thought this was book was very good. Maurice's wit brings a grin to your face. But very few times will it give you true laughter. I bought this book because it was supposed to be funny. Well it was, but less than I expected. Read this if you want crazy fantasy with a bit of comic relief.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2004

    AMAZING book!

    i think this was an amazing book. not your average talking animals book. the characters are well -written and the plot is different. although... i dont undersatnd why the previous reviewer said it wasnt a young adult book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2003

    Two Small Quibbles (and a Complaint)

    1. Maurice et al. are running a protection racket. It is a con only in that it is a one time only action. 2. There was a story in 'Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine' in the '60's or '70's which used the notion of `` The Pied Piper '' as a criminal. Complaint: It is _Absurd_ to market this book as a `` Young Adult '' book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2002

    A New Twist on an Old Tale

    Leave it to Terry Pratchett to take a fairy tale and turn it on its ear. The Amazing Maurice is the novel that will introduce Pratchett to an entire generation of younger readers. Great for those who are fans of J.K. Rowling or Brian Jacques. It's definitely extra credit in Mr. Benyacko's class!

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