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

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

by Terry Pratchett

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060012359
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/12/2008
Series: Discworld Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 108,936
Product dimensions: 6.74(w) x 4.18(h) x 1.01(d)
Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sir Terry Pratchett was the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books, including his phenomenally successful Discworld series. His young adult novel, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal, and Where's My Cow?, his Discworld book for “readers of all ages,” was a New York Times bestseller. His novels have sold more than seventy five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. Named an Officer of the British Empire “for services to literature,” Pratchett lived in England. He died in 2015 at the age of sixty-six.

Hometown:

Salisbury, Wiltshire, England

Date of Birth:

April 28, 1948

Place of Birth:

Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England

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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The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
mike112769 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
callaliddie on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
A play on the fairy tale, The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
rachelick on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
Maurice, Keith, and the rats have a good scheme going: the rats infest a town, Keith walks in, and the town pays him to play the pipes and charm the rats out. Since the Change, when Maurice and the rats learned to think, they've formed an uneasy alliance. But when they find a town where something isn't quite right, things have the potential to become very bad, very quickly. As the rats develop their own code of ethics, they also reveal quite varied personalities. Insightful and whimsical, The Amazing Maurice goes where few cats have gone before.
cmbohn on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
I'm not sure if this is more of an adventure or a fantasy, but it was good fun! Pratchett is a master at taking a well known story and giving it a tweak or two until it becomes something completely unexpected. The story in question this time around is the Pied Piper. And the tweak is that the rats are in on the deal and agree to split the money with the piper. So much fun! I liked the cameo appearance by DEATH. If you're a fan of his Discworld books, this one is worth looking for in the kids books. But even if you've never heard of him, this is a great place to begin.
burningtodd on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
Whoever thought that a pied piper scheme could go bad? In this Discworld Children's novel the theme is explored. A Talking Cat, some talking rats and their musician move from town to town performing a pied piper scheme. All seems to be going well until they enter the town "Bad Blintz". In Bad Blintz, the rat catchers are already running a scheme to fleece the town, the town is in a panic about rats and there is an evil and intelligent rat king living beneath the streets and pulling everyone's strings. An enjoyable intelligent book that I recommend to everyone who is a Discworld fan.
punkypower on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
Until I saw a preview for Hogfather, I had no idea who Terry Pratchett was. I immediately got on LT to find out more about him. Imagine my pleasant surprise to find he has more than twenty books in his Discworld series.I decided to start off with a book I had placed in my wishlist awhile back at someone suggestion, MahER.Loved it. I'm a sucker for twists-on classics, and Pratchett does a great job here, giving us a new look at "The Pied Piper." Maurice, the suddenly talking cat, leads his kid and thinking rodents from town to town, making money off their fears. The rats talk Maurice into making Bad Blitz their last con. Will Bad Blintz con them?I suggest this to any other Pratchett newbies. There is little connection to Discworld, and you can jump in from there.
benfulton on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
Terry Pratchett's young adult books are often better than his adult ones. This one is an example. One typical Pratchett gimmick is to take a traditional story like Macbeth or Cinderella and turn it upside down to see what happens, and this is what he does in Maurice, with the victim this time being the Pied Piper. What if the rats were the good guys, and the ratcatchers a bunch of underhanded goons? Thanks to the garbage heap at Unseen University, we get to find out. The story moves along quirkily, the romance predictably, and Maurice himself really plays out as a complicated character for a story of this type; his death scene could have been juiced into a real tear-jerker for anyone, I think, but is played pretty lightly for the benefit of the younger readers. At the end, a fair amount of consideration goes into the future relationships between Rat and Man, and it winds up almost as a thoughtful political essay that should inspire some consideration for the thoughtful student. Definitely a teachable moment, as they say. It reminds me a bit of Christopher Stasheff's Warlock series that I read as a teenager and was fascinated for the first time ever by the politics of the situation. Maurice is a good light read for adults and a thoughtful story for teenagers. Recommended.
pallavi11 on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
I am sure there are many big, and important books about the nature of consciousness. I am sure they are full of big, and important ideas. And this is a little book. About rats, of all the things. And except for the swearing- in rat and cat languages- appropriate for kids.What is it that makes us rat- or human? What happens when you die? What is there in the darkness? And what about the darkness behind your eyes?What is courage? The great speeches, are they about heroes, or about leaders beguiling their men- or rats- to death? What is courage? Where do you find heroes? What is fear? Why do we fear the night?What is the meaning of it all? Is there any meaning to it all?And, what are stories? Can they ever be real? What does it take, to make them real?And, where do you ask these questions?Phillip Pullman, in an interview I once heard, said that grown-up books are about issues. My girlfriend left me, now what do I do? They can not ask the real questions. The children's books, on the other hand, do ask the real questions. Who am I? Where do I come from? What is my purpose in life?And it's true. Growing-up is about finding the answers to these questions. And if you are me, you grow up and realize that The answer is 42, and all these questions are not the really interesting questions, the really interesting questions are, say, how do aeroplanes fly? Why are leaves green? Does smoking cause cancer? Do COX2 inhibitors cause MI? The interesting questions are the ones which have interesting answers. Or answers worth finding out. Or something. I am not sure. As far as I am concerned, the answer to is there a soul, is- who cares.But all the other questions, the ones which don't have real, testable answers, there is a time and place to face them. And the time is at the begining, of life, as well as civilization.So we have this story about rats, who suddenly find that they can think, and then try to come to terms with it, their newfound status as people. You get lots of cool characters, the ineffectual leader, who gets replaced by the great, inspiring one, the thinker, the unscruplous con-cat with a heart of gold, the girl who believes in stories, and awesome women. Really, Pratchett is the only writer whose female characters are always awesome. They always sound real, are sensible and practical, like real women, and smart, brave, and overall amazing.So are his heroes. Actually, I think I said this before, but every Pratchett character is very good at what they do. And they are believable. Heck, even his prophets are believable.He understands religion. He understands racism, bigorty, humanity. He understands dreams, fear, courage. And I have a sneaking suspicion that he understands love. He might be telling stories and building narrative tension, but mostly he talks about reality, and about what things really are, and not what they ought to be for his story to work.'And, you know, I don't think there're any wonderful islands in the distance for people like us. Not for us.' He sighed. 'If there's a wonderful island anywhere, it's here. He understands dreams, and stories, and how they change reality and get changed by them.I left it incomplete, and now it is too late to complete it...
merigreenleaf on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
Somehow I had missed this book as I've done various rereads through the Discworld series; I didn't realize it was a Discworld book until recently. I don't really see how it's a young adult book in comparison to most of the rest of that series (I think there are three other YA books?); yes, it has talking animals, but it's a mature and deep book that can be cynical and dark at times. Since this is a Discworld book it has Pratchett's usual wit and humor about it, and the main character is a cat- what's not to like about that? (I want to add that Pratchett writes some very cat-like cats; definitely praise from a cat person!) Like a lot of the other books in the series, this is a sort of parody off another story, in this case the Pied Piper. The characters were all intriguing, especially the rats and the cat. The human characters were far less interesting, but that's mostly because the animals stole the show; the main human character was called "stupid-looking kid" for most of the book, if that gives you an idea of what I mean. (Speaking of stealing the show, my favorite character was Sardines, the tap dancing rat.)I enjoyed this book, but it was kind of dark for my taste; maybe I was expecting it to be a bit more cheerful and funny since it's a young adult book? Still, though, it was a good read, even if it's not one of my favorite Discworld books. I'm not sure whether to give it 3 1/2 or 4 stars- can I give it 3 3/4? No? In that case, I'll leave it at 3 1/2, but it might go up to four on a later reread- I've read the rest of the series at least three times each, so I'll give this book another chance later, too.
FicusFan on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
This book is a Discworld version of the Pied Piper. It is the start of Pratchett's YA series of life on the Disc.Its not bad, but it also is not one of the great Discworld books. It has humor, whimsy and the Discworld way of looking at things. But in the end it fails to satisfy.A group of rats live on a trash heap outside the walls and behind Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork, and of course the wizards throw their left-overs and failures over the wall. At some point the rats become aware. Yes, they become small people in fur suits with a rat outlook. Maurice is a cat who prowls the area as well. He also becomes aware, and finds it a terrible burden for a cat. Eventually he ends up hanging with the talking rats because he has more in common with them than the other cats. He doesn't eat them, and he swears he asks his dinner if it can talk before dining.The cat and the rats pick up an unprepossessing young man who can play a pipe and they are off on a life of low crime, in various small towns in the back of beyond.There are funny moments, and the cat and the different rats are interesting and well done, though the cat is a bit cliched. I also enjoyed the twist they put on the function of a rat piper. The boy, Keith, is just not developed enough and doesn't really contribute to the story. There are nasty human baddies, some good quirky local characters, especially Malicia, but it isn't enough to make the story complete. There are some evil rat baddies that are added, to make the book darker, but they only add distraction, and confusion. They live far from the wizards, so how did they become aware ? There is a feeble attempt to explain, but the whole sequence seems to be an added afterthought.The book is also padded by using larger font, with more space, to make it a decent sized book.It is s quick, fun, light read that can be finished in a couple of hours. It just isn't very memorable for a Discworld book.
JillZH on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
This is a novel about the unlikely friendship between talking rats, a conniving cat, an orphaned boy, and a pretentious little girl. An updated version of the pied piper, these improbable characters discover their humanity while trying to kill the evil rat king and build a relationship with the town of Bad Blintz. I wasn¿t sure what to think of this novel at first, but I ending up really enjoying it. I thought Pratchett did a great job of tackling some of the big issues of society, what it means to be self-aware, and what is right and wrong. I would not recommend this for anyone who is weary of rats.
Jenwiltrout on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
AMAZING, brilliant story and characters.
Moriquen on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
This was a discworld novel like I hadn't read before. It's atmosphere felt completely different. It was a good book and it actually kept me up at night. (The thought of an actual 'rat king' made my stoumach scrunch up a bit.) The book was all the more special for me because I used to have rats as pets. They are wonderfull animals, so playful and trusting if you're willing to spend lots of time on them. If only they'd have a longer lifespan. Now you get attached to them just as you would any other pet, but they barely reach the age of three. I miss my little ones. (Amedee, Boke, Prospère, Sois and Joske.)
ironicqueery on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
If there was ever a book I could not see myself enjoying, it would be one about cats and rats. However, insert Terry Pratchett into the equation, and what results is a great book about Maurice (the cat) and his educated rodents. Talking cats and rats invade a town to scam them, along with a piper, but instead end up taking on a couple of crooks who have been conning the town and creating monster rats. It's a crazy scenario, but in true Pratchett fashion, mocks our own modern world, pointing out in his own subversive manner, lessons about getting along and doing what's right. I don't think Pratchett is capable of writing a bad, or even average, novel. Every one is well worth reading. Immediately and without delay.
Rhinoa on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
What happens when a cat and a bunch of mice can talk and become conscious in the same way humans are? This fun novel! Bits of the Pied Piper and Pratchet's usual wit.
SunnySD on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
Maurice, Hamnpork, Dangerous Beans and the rest - including the Boy - have a great scam going. The rats scare a few grannies, spoil a few pantry stores, dance across a few tables, and then Maurice and the Boy "play" the rat plague out of town. Sure, it involves lots of widdling, pantry raiding, and trap disposal, but they'd be doing that anyway, so what's the worry? But Maurice IS worried - not only have the rats decided to go straight, but this latest town is ODD. In typical Pratchett fashion the story is never exactly what it seems. It may be written for a younger audience, but this is still Disc World - where anything can happen, and usually does.
tundranocaps on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
I actually didn't know it was a Discworld Novel when I was reading it, and wondered about the familiar names, thought it was a book to kids set in a similar world, heh.And they are mentioned in another book! Like many other characters are mentioned in other books before they have their own books written.
jopearson56 on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
Amusing Pied Piper spin-off, educated rats and one educated cat go out seeking fortunes, end up battling evil in small village, winning, striking deal with government and populace. Entertaining.
moni.ca on LibraryThing 19 hours ago
A twist on the story of the Pied Piper, with an amazing cat, Maurice, and his educated rodents. I was drawn to the story of these little rats who could talk and dance, but also were simply trying to live their lives after the ¿change¿ where they¿d gained the ability to learn and think on their own. It reminded me of stories I read growing up with talking animals. I hadn¿t read any of Terry Pratchett¿s books before, but I look forward to more great reads!
Amzzz on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Quite amusing. I had to read it for Children's Literature at uni.
gercmbyrne on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Terry Pratchett is a god who walks among men. The entire Discworld series is a joy and only a strange mad creature cursed by gods and man would refuse to read and love these books!