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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A ratty view of people
On the Discworld, even wizards produce leftovers. Their discarded garbage, however, is laced with traces of magic. Out on the tip, the rats forage in the scraps - apple cores, candle stubs [good carbohydrate source], dogends. Like any trace mineral, the magic builds up until the rats have changed, gaining new talents. Among those talents are speaking and reading. Speaking...
Published on 31 Jan 2006 by Stephen A. Haines

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not quite what I was expecting!
I've always been a fan of Terry Pratchett, mostly because his books are always entertaining and thought-provoking. However, this one was a bit of a surprise!
I found it a bit hard to get into - it took a lot longer than his usual two or three pages to grab my attention, mostly because I didn't quite understand what was happening, and once I got into the book, I...
Published on 1 Feb 2003 by Kiera Bruce


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another top rated book from terry pratchett, 19 Jun 2002
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is just a fantastic, charming, witty and downright clever book.
It's something of a spin-off. If you've read Guards Guards you'll remember the rats who waited on the Patrician while he was imprisoned. He thought their tunnels probably went under Unseen University, and that some magic must have seeped into the tunnels, making them rather intelligent. This is more or less the story of those rats, although it goes one step further. They have now actually eaten magical garbage from outside the kitchens at Unseen University, and can talk, read, organise armies, and generally outsmart the average human. Add to their ranks one cat, aka Maurice, who also finds himself elevated to talking fairytale creature, and is about as smart as it gets. He finds himself a kid who can play the recorder and the biggest scam in Disc history is born. Basically the rats 'infest' one town at a time, kid shows up, plays his recorder - for a large fee - and the rats follow him out of town.
The scam becomes complicated when they arrive in a town which is already being scammed by its resident rat-catchers, a really nasty pair. Not only that, but it becomes clear that they are acting under the guidance of something more sinister - but I'm not going to say any more, because that is the essence of the story.
Pratchett somehow manages to pack about 10 different plots into this book, and weave all of them around the main story. What's more, all of them are worked out quite satisfactorily. There's the mental journey of the rats' leader, who just finds his whole new world very confusing, and views this newfangled thinking thing in much the same way that OAPs view Metallica. The only way he knows how to lead is the ratty way, and his story is about adjustment and compromise. There's the story of the rats' military commander, widely expected to challenge for overall command, but who realises that the only way to keep the rats together is for him to fiercely support their leader. His plot is about him going from hard-bitten, logical robo-rat, to being able to accept ratty religion. There's Malicia, a young girl whose head is so full of stories that she makes reality fall into plots around her. Her story is about the abrupt shock when reality departs violently from the 'correct' ending. There's the 'visionary' rat, whose faith is founded on a book called 'Mr Bunnsy.' His story is about realising that, when it comes down to it, rats are just rats; in an emergency all their new found intelligence is abandonned, and they panic just like rats. His faith is shattered, and he has to find a way to rebuild it.
The characterisation is just the best that Pratchett has done. It's on a par with the way Rincewind, Captain Vimes and Granny Weatherwax have been fleshed out, but done in a much shorter space of time. And what's great - what makes it so fresh - is that Pratchett *really* thinks about his characters, rather than going for stereotypes. After all, talking cats have been done thousands of times. But usually, the moment they learn to talk, they become just a generic, 'nice' fluffy person - taken straight from puss in boots - with no personality. Maurice, on the other hand, remains a cat through and through; a selfish, cunning, amoral, disgusting, flea-ridden whirling ball of claws.
The details also make the book. Like the way the rats are named. They take their name from the first thing they managed to read, when they suddenly became intelligent, meaning that it's mainly words you would find on the side of food containers. Some of them will make you howl.
And the writing style itself. Pratchett is the master of what I would call 'camera-angle-writing.' He describes an event from a particular perspective, leaving out everything you wouldn't see from that perspective, so that you find yourself struggling for details. This approach keeps me extremely curious, and I find myself suddenly realising what went on, during an event, several pages later when more details are filled in. For instance, at the beginning of the book, a hold-up is described, where a highwayman tries to rob Maurice and the rats. He ends up in rather a lot of pain, and in fear of his life, but it's only several pages later that you manage to fill in what happened.
This book is stunning. Pratchett is truly writing literature nowadays. There is as much in one of his novels, to be gained by analysis, as there is in a Shakespeare play, but Pratchett is a darn sight more entertaining. Read it!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and gripping., 28 Nov 2002
By 
This review is from: The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents: A Story of Discworld. For young Readers (Discworld Novels) (Paperback)
This is the story of Maurice, a cunning 4-year-old talking cat, and his gang of intelligent rats. Together with Keith, a stupid-looking kid who plays the flute, they travel from town to town, doing the plague-of-rats-and-rat-piper trick to earn some pocket money.
It works perfectly well, until the rats develop a conscience. They agree to do it one last time and head for Überwald, or more acurately for the small village of Bad Blintz. There they soon realize that something is amiss. Food in the village is rationed, rat tails are rewarded 50p a piece and strangely, there isn't a single "keekee" (regular rat) around. Teaming up with Malicia Grim, the mayor's silly daughter who thinks she's living in a fairy tale, they are determined to uncover the mystery.
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents easily stands among my favourite Discworld novels. With a story that sometimes reminded me of Mrs Friby and the Rats of NIMH and a humour echoing that of the Bromeliad, where Pratchett observes our silly human world through the eyes of other creatures, and where rats have names such as Hamnpork or Dangerous Beans because they liked the sound of it but didn't understand the meaning, it is as intelligent and sensible, sometimes scary, even sad at times, as it is hilarious. And David Wyatt's illustrations are just too cute!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not quite what I was expecting!, 1 Feb 2003
By 
Kiera Bruce (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
I've always been a fan of Terry Pratchett, mostly because his books are always entertaining and thought-provoking. However, this one was a bit of a surprise!
I found it a bit hard to get into - it took a lot longer than his usual two or three pages to grab my attention, mostly because I didn't quite understand what was happening, and once I got into the book, I found the storyline to be quite a bit 'darker' than Mr. Pratchetts familiar style.
What I really enjoyed was the characterisation of the rats. It's obvious to most fans how the author feels about cats as they appear quite often in his books, but the rats were funny, likeable and humane. I had my heart in my mouth, hoping that Sardines, the tap-dancing rat would make it to the end of the book. They were so realistic, I often forgot I was reading about rats at all! I also think that Malicia is an excellent character, and I hope she is brought back (for a spin-off?)in the future.
I'm not sure I agree with the 8's + age rating, because as I said earlier, I found it very dark, and quite graphic in its description of old-style rat-catching methods, and the dog pits. I would only give it to a very 'mature'young reader, or perhaps use it to discuss the way animals are treated with a group of children.
Certain parts of it would need quite a lot of explanation to 'young' 8-yr-olds, I think, and could be quite distressing to kids with a sensitive nature.
On the whole though, a fab book, with some really juicy characters, and a gripping plotline. A really good stand-alone book for those new to The Discworld, and a nice trip for those of us already familiar to Terry Pratchett.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inventive fiction at its best, 19 July 2007
By 
Mr. G. Battle (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
As a long time Pratchett fan I began The Amazing Maurice with a little trepidation, after all, it is aimed at kids, right? One chapter in, I understood that Pratchett has truly mastered pitching a tale for a vast audience. At no point are adults patronised, and I should imagine younger readers would be just as engrossed, although the end seeks absolute closure and is just a wee bit too long. The story's main protagonists are talking rats and an equally smart cat. That in itself would be the central fact of a children's book. Not so here; the dilemmas faced within this tale are deep - there's (rat) philosophy, questions about what it means to have an idea of 'self' and a quirky and amusing outlook from the animal kingdom. Threaded through this is the plot, a typical Pratchett affair, in which an old tale is blended with additional panache, twists and wit. This Discworld story is as clever as expected, however the real winner here is that the new animal perspective allows Pratchett to unleash a book far smarter and engaging than most - absolutely recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant!, 3 Oct 2006
By 
Wrecky World (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
I hardly ever give 5 stars, but his book deserves it. It is just one of those books that stands out from the crowd and it is most definitely my favourite Terry Pratchett book.

As expected the story is extremely funny and well-written, but unlike many of Terry Pratchett's other books, it also clever, innovating, and it even gives you something to think about. Not bad for children's fantasy!

I would highly recommend this book to anybody who likes Terry Pratchett, anybody who likes fantasy, anybody between the age of 10 and 100, anybody basically :)
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it...., 23 Nov 2001
By A Customer
A very good book (again) from Mr. Pratchett, another excellent parody set in the mirror world of discworld. One wonders what he will parody next....
I hope we see Malicia again as she was the life of this book and the real comedy injection. I wonder that this book is a children's book as I'm convinced most children would struggle with Pratchett's comic style, but would have no trouble with the book's marvellous narrative power. A bt of light reading for adults and a must have for any Pratchett fan.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best - absolutely brilliant., 12 Nov 2001
Even though this story is a discworld novel it can be read as a stand alone book. There are only a couple of references that may seem a little obscure to the uninitiated. But that should not detract from the enjoyment the book will bring.
I finished the book on Friday 09 Nov at 19:00. I was sat in a train packed with commuters. I was getting very funny looks from people as I could not stop myself from laughing out loud - we are not talking a quiet chuckle here. Buy it now!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Classic!, 13 July 2003
This review is from: The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents: A Story of Discworld. For young Readers (Discworld Novels) (Paperback)
I wasn't expecting much when I entered into this book, okay so it was a Pratchett so I was expecting it to be good, but a book for kids couldn't be as special as some of his Discworld classics could it? Too right it could! This is story telling of the heighest order.
From the brilliant development of the individual events to the excellent style of the fable itself, it seems that everything in this book is working in perfect harmony. A big mention must go to the character and background development, you genuinely feel greatly for the hopes and ideas of those involved, even if they are just rats!
A wonderful read, I'd recommend it to anyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for children, 30 Oct 2002
By A Customer
Pratchett has a way of keeping things fantastic and funny in his stories but allows himself to sneak in some gruesome scenes and poignant moments - all vital ingredients for a good childrens book.
It seems to me that whatever criticisms he has received for this particular book, they stem from fans who are disappointed in not seeing a more elaborate Discworld book. We must keep the intended audience in mind and judge it from that criterion, and by that standard the book is fantastic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an insight into rats, cats, and stupid looking kids, 19 Jan 2002
I got this book for christmas and it looked pretty strange for a pratchet book, but it had a less confusing beggining than the others that have read (guards! guards!, feet of clay, lords and ladies, reaper man, soul music,truckers, hogfather and a bit of the last continent) and so i could get into it easily, the only problem i had is getting out of it, the book had to be hidden or no sleep was to be had!
The story is very cunning and i think that pratchet really has read up on this one, but where to referance for a group of rats and a stupid looking kid led by a cat im not quite sure!
This book is very good, sell anything to get this, if you have one book then this is the book to buy, hillarious!
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