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The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld Book 28) [Kindle Edition]

Terry Pratchett
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
Kindle Price: $6.64
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

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!

Editorial Reviews

From 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. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-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 (Atheneum, 1971) and Richard Adams's Watership Down (Macmillan, 1974) will love this story. A not-to-be-missed delight.
Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 246 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0552562920
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,336 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Amazing" Discworld May 28, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series has topped British bestseller lists for years and has a sizable fanbase in the United States as well. Now with "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents" Pratchett expands Discworld from adult fantasy to young adult fantasy as well.
A boy, a cat, and a troupe of rats arrive at the town of Bad Blintz. But while Keith is normal, feline Maurice and his "educated rodents" are not -- they speak, think, and are self-aware (they ate wizards' garbage). And they have a nice racket going, where the rats pretend to infest a town (they gnaw things and "widdle" on the flour), and Keith poses as a piper to lead them away. But something is wrong with Bad Blintz -- there are no native rats, yet the rat-catchers claim that there's an outright plague of them, and are producing rat-tails to prove it. (They bear a remarkable resemblance to shoelaces)
With the help of a too-imaginative-for-her-own good girl, Malicia, Keith and Maurice begin to investigate why all the rats are gone, and what the rat-catchers are up to. But when they discover the conspiracy, Maurice starts hearing the voice of something down in the sewers -- something evil, something powerful, something that can command hundreds of rats...
So help me, I'm an idiot where funny titles are concerned, and "Amazing Maurice" is further proof that they often c. Much as he gave a new spin to MacBeth in "Wyrd Sisters," here he gives a new spin to the "Pied Piper" legend, with some interesting philosophy and his trademarked humor as well. Does the idea of talking animals and preteens make you cringe? Don't -- Pratchett handles it with rare style.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Its a Discworld tale aimed at younger readers (ages 9-12) but I dont care. Its a DISCWORLD novel, people! Besides, if kids can enjoy the "regular" Discworld books, why cant an adult enjoy this one?
Terry Pratchett (TP) does not patronise his target audience in this novel. The storyline tackles heavy issues but done in such a way that it wont turn off the younger mindset. Such is TP's creativity that he's able to tell a tale for his younger fans without appearing to be a doddering old man preaching to the kiddies. In fact, his fans of all ages will laugh themselves silly at the ever present humour, though the young 'uns will enjoy it more as the references are more recognisable to them.
The regular Discworld characters do not make an appearance (Death has a cameo, though) but again that does not affect the story for veteran Disc fans...although events that happened in other Disc books are hinted at, which is nice. Besides, this is an "Amazing Maurice" novel, so let the cat and his rats shine.
TP has parodied Shakespeare's plays, Hollywood, politics, murder mysteries and err...Australia in his previous works and this time its the turn of the Brothers Grimm 'Pied Piper' fairy tale. Maurice the cat runs a very profitable scam involving the rodents and a naive kid who can play a pipe but this being a Discworld book, things soon go pear-shaped real quick. There is evil about and it does not like cats.
All in all, TP has once again created lovable characters to populate the Discworld and join the ranks of fan favourites like DEATH, the Patrician, Granny Weatherwax, Commander Vimes and the Librarian (oook!). I hope there will be other books featuring Maurice and/or the rats in either the regular Discworld books or this "Young Readers" set.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clever allegory and thought-provoking story November 30, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A friend gave me this book for my birthday, explaining that it was a book about rats. Was I ever surprised when I opened the cover and started reading. It is not just about rats.
Pratchett has done his work. I believe him when he says that he read loads about rats before beginning this. But not only the rat part is accurate. When he describes rat writing (pictograms, could be hieroglyphic-like), it parallels the history of the development of human writing. The rats in this story provide a kind of microcosm of how human society might have developed; their dreams of utopia do not come from out of the blue. The rats have their version of a holy book, a keeper of the flame, and of course their characters are all very different and sometimes conflict. Baseness, greed, and corruption all figure in the story, and the rats need to discover how to deal with this new threat called EVIL (as the book's back cover will also tell you).
Although the mentally-mutated (smart) rats naturally figure prominently in the story along with a mentally-mutated cat (Maurice), I think that it also works as an allegory. You can read this story either for face value or more deeply. In the latter way, I think that Terry Pratchett critiques current society. It's funny that reading about rats would make one question humanity, but that's what happened to me!
In a way this book is about having dreams and trying to fulfill them, and getting disillusioned along the way but not giving up. However, it has no morality overtones and despite its seriousness, it is also pretty funny (take the tap-dancing rat named Sardines, for instance). The story ends on a happy note too but it isn't overly saccharine. In a way, it's like pop philosophy and a good story rolled into one.
I was also able to read this story without knowing anything at all about Discworld.
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More About the Author

Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was fifteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987 he turned to writing full time, and has not looked back since. To date there are a total of 36 books in the Discworld series, of which four (so far) are written for children. The first of these children's books, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal. A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller, and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback (Harper Torch, 2006) and trade paperback (Harper Paperbacks, 2006). Terry's latest book, Nation, a non-Discworld standalone YA novel was published in October of 2008 and was an instant New York Times and London Times bestseller. Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire "for services to literature" in 1998, and has received four honorary doctorates from the Universities of Warwick, Portsmouth, Bath, and Bristol. His acclaimed novels have sold more than 55 million copies (give or take a few million) and have been translated into 36 languages. Terry Pratchett lives in England with his family, and spends too much time at his word processor.  Some of Terry's accolades include: The Carnegie Medal, Locus Awards, the Mythopoetic Award, ALA Notable Books for Children, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Book Sense 76 Pick, Prometheus Award and the British Fantasy Award.

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