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54 of 54 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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54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A ratty view of people, 31 Jan 2006
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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 allows them to communicate better while the reading gives them words to use as names. They're an organized group now, and they have an ambition. They want to find a safe place for retirement. They have a mentor, Maurice, a cat who shares their talents, but has an extra one of his own - he's a con cat. And he has a story hidden away.
A street smart feline, Maurice has learned the value of money. He knows how humans use it, and he wants the independence it offers. To gain it, he's organized the rats and adopted Keith, a rather simple human, into his group. Together, they work the towns to create a "plague of rats" then provide a piper, Keith, to lure them away - for cash. Despite disputes over percentages, the team has scored many successful ventures. But Keith, and the rats, are having misgivings over the ethics of the con. They want to quit, and Bad Blintz will be the last place they work the con.
Every venture has its risks. Bad Blintz is clearly not a rich place. The villagers queue up for bread and sausages, which are in short supply. There are rat catchers who carry strings of tails, but the team can't find a live rat anywhere in the maze of cellars and tunnels beneath the town. In resolving this conundrum, team encounters a powerful new force - one that challenges all the skills given them by the wizards' residue magic. Their very survival rests on how they deal with the mystery. Its resolution is consummately Pratchett.
Terry Pratchett's books increasingly delve into philosophical questions, even moral ones. It would be nice to know if he actually intended this book for "children." You'll note above that the publishers call for "Reader Level Ages 9 - 12," but the editorial reviews say "12 and up." The disparity is typical Pratchett. Why the lack of consensus? One guess is that Pratchett thinks the adult mind set is too rigid to discern the point he's making. This book isn't a fantasy about "talking animals," it's a spur to stimulate thinking about the relationship of humanity to the rest of the animal kingdom. We're part of that kingdom, but we deal with our relations in ignorance. Children, and a few adults, are best suited to begin revising that approach. With human society devastating the habitats of so many creatures, a new way of thinking about them is required. Pratchett's conclusion shows that the process won't be simple and we have to start thinking now about how to do it. Who better to start with than children? They still have the capacity to learn.
It's almost superfluous to discuss Pratchett's writing. He's a master of language and a skilled manipulater of ideas. If you are new to his work, this is a fine place to start. If you're an established fan, there's nothing here to disappoint you. Add this book to your library and buy another for someone. Anyone. They'll surely be grateful. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grim (Squeaker) fairy tail, 31 Oct 2001
By 
JBV "JBV^_^" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This book has been aimed at those children who like the wicked witch to be shoved into the oven, rather than those who like Mr Bunnykins!
While the only regular characters that appear are The Grim Squeaker and Death (only cameo appearances), the story of Darktan, Maurice and the rest is typical Pratchett.
The Story has a rather dark sense of humour, which most kids will love, but it's this darker motiff that will enable most adult fans to enjoy this book to.
Personaly, I hope there will be a sequel, as the Rats certainly have lots of character.
Ignore the fact its aimed at children and try it, you WILL like it.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, warming, scripted perfectly,, 22 Nov 2001
By A Customer
'The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents' has to be the funniest book i have read so far. It was hilarious from beginning to end and the ideas within the book are superb. Comedy and Fantasy rolled up into one. I could not put this book down! The names within the book of the rats are brilliant. A thoroughly enjoyable book that is not to be missed.
The best characters within the book by far have to be 'Darktan', the rat with a good instinct for traps within his own trap disposal squad and 'Sardines'; the rat who wears a home made hat and tap dances to scare humans. Hilarious. do not miss!!! I have never read such a well scripted book, the jokes are great. 'Amazing Maurice and his educated rodents'; a book i would recommend to anyone and everyone. Even those who dont like rats, after reading this book you'll be in love with Terry Pratchetts educated rats and as for 'Maurice', we all knew that there is something very sly going on in cats minds when they wrap themselves around our legs...and purr so innocently at us. A little insight into what our feline friends are REALLY thinking.
Excellent!, brilliant!, hilarious!, A thoroughly enjoyable book for all ages.
Go read it now!!!!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ratastic, 16 Sep 2004
I remember first coming across this book when my little sister received it as a present. Frankly I thought it would be childish, and only turned to it when I had nothing left to read of my own, but how wrong I was. Even as a member of the 'mtv generation' this book had me completely entralled. Pratchett has to be one of the most eloquent and talented writers of out time and I can't believe I left it as late as my teens to discover him.
This book basically folows the escapades of Maurice, the cat, and his troop of intelligent rats (most of which have wonderfully inventive names, e.g Hamnpork, Dangerous Beans and Nourishing). With a couple of humans thrown in (Keith and Malicia) the cast is complete. It all sounds pretty benign, doesn't it? But the book it a lot darker than it first seems and you will be gripped from start to finish.
Personal favourite characters of mine were Malicia, whose loose tongue gets her into more trouble than she can afford, Keith, whose gentle nature prevents the book from becoming over-exciting, and Nourishing, a young and nervous rat who I adored from her first entry.
The plot is clever and entralling, with a great ending. I can only hope that one day I will be able to write as well as Pratchett. He is a wonderful story teller, and really, with The Amazing Maurice, his work is flawless.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An urgent purchase, 14 Nov 2002
By 
ghandibob (Swansea) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
If I had voice-recognition software my hands would currently be up, high above my head. Of course, I don't. But nevertheless, metaphorically speaking my hands are up. You caught me. I am an unashamed, long-term Pratchett fan. Not the convention type, to be sure. But fan still, and for as long as I can remember.
So, to finally hold a children's book (award-winning children's book, I should say) by Pratchett, set in the margins of the Discworld, is to snap me back into my childhood with the joyous g-force of a sharp and plunging twist on a rollercoaster.
The Amazing Maurice is not a long book, and as ever it takes but the beat on an eyelid to read it through. But this is not about skimming quickly to the end, it is about the thrall of a Pratchett book, the way you sink into it from the very first page, never really looking up until you've finished the last. So: you will read it quickly, maybe in just a day, but you will find at the end of that day, that you have not dressed, eaten, nor remembered to go to work.
The plot here is pared down from those evident in the adult Discworld. It is, indeed, and as advertised on the cover, a Discworld fable. A version of the Pied Piper fable, retold with style. What is does brilliantly, though, and in its own right, is cosset the reader in the murk of the rat tunnels in which so much time is spent. You are underground, swaddled in darkness throughout, and though much of it is funny, there is a real and urgent sense of fear in the book. There is malice and fright and wit and death and laughter, all underpinned by the particular brand of common-sense, ethical and humane logic that makes Pratchett so much more than just a fantasy author.
The characters are, perhaps, a little too typical of the Discworld. Animals made intelligent by magic who go on to demonstrate how unintelligent humans can be. It is a trick we have seen before. The Amazing Maurice, like Gaspode the Wonder Dog, is a street-wise, self-regarding voice at the heels of the humans. But then, Maurice seems a little less sure of himself than Gaspode, a little more fearful behind the bravado. And this difference, though possibly too subtle for the occasional Pratchett reader, is beautifully played out when Maurice battles with his own mind and that of Spider. It is a superbly written sequence, balanced wonderfully against the joyous new character of Sardines. Now he really is a rat to remember.
The Amazing Maurice, I think, would have been my favourite book if I had read it when I was a child. As an adult it still registers as a wonderful, pacy, atmospheric tale that, within the limits of the children's fable, rates as highly as anything Pratchett has ever done.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel but far darker than his normal kids books, 16 Nov 2001
By A Customer
I bought this novel while I was in hospital. It`s typically Pratchett slant on the "cosy" Pied Piper legend (the rats being hand in glove with the piper and his feline "mastermind" to scam the townsfolk) was a masterpiece. The rats too were the best character creations since the City Watch. However I thought that some of the themes and imagery in the book were a little darker than I would have expected in a junior Pratchett novel. The rats cannibalistic tendancies and merciless extermination of the king-rats "guards" were far stronger stuff than the "Bromiliad" or the "Johnny" books. Personally I thought it was brilliant stuff and hopefully the rats will make many a Discworld appearence to come. Fitting that a popular character such as the Grim Squeaker should have his own "audience".
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Amazing Pratchett, 29 Jun 2004
By 
Laugh? i nearly had a stroke!
Moving, witty, fantastical and sometimes sobering. Like all pratchett though, it throws up images of hilarity on one page, and insightful social commentary on the next. This is billed as a childs book, but i enjoyed it immensely.
Plus, you cant go far wrong when a lead character shows such vision, hope, ideology, and tolerance in the face of such odds. And he's a blind Albino rat of course.......and called Dangerous Beans. Quality.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for Kids and Adults, 22 Feb 2004
OK, so it’s a kids book but it’s by Terry Pratchett and besides, after reading it I get the feeling it was only classified as a kids book because the hero of the story is a talking cat.
Maurice the cat and 'The Clan' of talking rats travel from town to town with a stupid looking kid called Keith. Following Maurice's ingenious plan, as soon as the motley crew arrive in each town The Clan set about fooling the populace into believing they have a plague of rats. When the town mayor sends for the rat piper, up pops Keith, who pretends to charm the rats into following him out of the town and collects a big reward.
All goes well until the group stumble into the town of Bad Blintz and discover sinister goings on involving some decidedly shady rat catchers, an unfortunate dog called Jacko, the mayor’s fairy tale obsessed daughter and an unspeakable evil lurking in the cellars beneath the city.
Told with Pratchett’s trademark humorous flare, this a thoroughly enjoyable book which moves along at a good pace and gets quite dark and sinister in places. Thankfully the writing has not been dumbed down for the kids but instead has been written with all the intelligence and flair of his past work.
This is a great introduction to Terry Pratchett for new and younger readers, and an interesting side bar to the discworld for dedicated fans.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!, 18 Dec 2001
By A Customer
I bought this book for my friend's daughter but will now have to buy another copy for her!
A great read, fun story and a good introduction to the discworld for younger children. I'm not sure of the target children audience- the image of the rat king scared me! It should be ideal for children who have read Harry Potter and want to expand their reading. Or Pratchett fans who want to indoctrinate their children into Pratchett. Or just Pratcett fans!
Make sure you're not busy when you start reading it. You won't put it down!
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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 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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