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.
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, 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.
There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, 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).
In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.
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 (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.
In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.
Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.
Meet a different Pratchett in one of his amazing kid, teen, young adult aimed master fables.
The few, not Discworldian, classic tales are written with less of the deeper criticism, but focusing on sense of wonders, some moral subtext, and an easier to understand, direct fun with puns and slapstick comedy.
It also shows what happens when an ingenious writer doesn´t just write for young audiences from the beginning of his career, but decides to give it a try after having written extremely complex and subtle fantastic comedy for adults over decades. It´s wonderful, it´s kind of even denser than the Discworld, because there are no longer introspections, dialogues, and philosophizing about ethics, morality, and the nature of good and evil, just easy fun and entertainment.
Of course, the one or other depth is there , but it´s easier to spot and understand and the whole work is like a concatenation of the mostly happy, light fantastic elements and actions, the language so smooth, the metaphors so fitting, everything just so perfect only a master like Pratchett could have been able to create.
An extra easter egg are the innuendos on kids and young adults literature and movies, some kind of indirect fourth wall break, because the serious, heavy, often boring adult classics Pratchett satirizes in many of his other works are exchanged with the really good kids' stuff. It also shows that even in the, allegedly simple, literature for young bookworms, there is so much potential for remixing, reinterpreting, and retelling that one would wish to get into a time machine to be able to enjoy it once again, or sadly often the first time, with the full immersive pleasure of being young again.
This one is added to all Pratchettian reviews: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheibe... The idea of the dissected motifs rocks, highlighting the main real world inspirational elements of fiction and satire is something usually done with so called higher literature, but a much more interesting field in readable literature, as it offers the joy of reading, subtle criticism, and feeling smart all together.
Maybe, but there are some dark issues going on and dealt with from the master himself.
Terry Pratchett’s first Discworld “story” designating it as written for children (followed by the wonderful Tiffany Aching sub-series) but I would submit this is YA territory, no warm fuzzy Disney moments here.
First of all, if there was a film this reminded me of it would be the 1995 Chris Noonan film Babe. In this very good movie, a young piglet confronts the contrast and distinction of animals as pets and being loved as a part of the family while also being food.
“That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”
Here, Pratchett has crafted a clever parody of the Pied Piper of Hamelin story, with of course, some Discworld twists, turns, what haves you (not the Brothers Grimm but rather the Sisters Grimm). Channeling Orwell in Animal Farm and Daniel Keyes Flowers for Algernon, Pratchett has again returned to the ubiquitous phenomena of animals becoming sentient after living and eating in and around Unseen University. Seems the residual magic boosts the critter’s intelligence and provides a fecundity of fictional MAGIC for all us Discworld aficionados out here. Maurice the cat and his band of smart RATS have teamed up with Keith the teenage piper to swindle some Uberwald villages.
As in all of Pratchett’s books, though, there is a lot going on besides talking rats and some dubiously naïve villagers. This is also one of his darker outings, which again makes me wonder about this being marketed to wee ones, unless Pratchett in his INFINITE AND IMPRESSIVE GENIUS makes that point, it is the young ones who can still get the irony of sentient rats pretending to be led away by a fake flutist.
Recommended, one the best Discworld books.
*** 2021 Reread -
Sir Terry's characterization of the rats was brilliant. This time I paid more attention to the interactions between the rates, particularly to the ones who were adult rats when they became sentient and so remembered the old ways.
Also the rat king Spider was the detail that sent this out of the childrens' book arena - creepy!
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld, #28), Terry Pratchett
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is a children's fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, published by Doubleday in 2001. It is the 28th novel in the Discworld series and the first written for children.
The book opens with Amazing Maurice (a sentient cat), a group of talking rats (the Clan), and the human boy Keith travelling in a mail coach to a small town called Bad Blintz.
The group plans to enact a scheme they have used many times before, where in the rats pretend to infest the town and Keith poses as a rat piper to lead the "vermin" away for a small sum of cash.
Although Maurice sees nothing wrong with this hustling business, the rats find it immoral, and convince Maurice that this town will be the last one they rob.
Upon arriving in town, the group discovers that the people are convinced of a massive rat infestation, and have spent much of their savings on two rat catchers. Despite their efforts, food continues to disappear from the town.
As the rats move into the town's underground, they discover an overwhelmingly large number of rat traps, but no live keekees (rats who can't talk or think).
Aboveground, Maurice makes similar observations, including that many of the rat tails the rat catchers display as proof of their successful hunting are in fact shoelaces. Maurice and Keith meet the mayor's daughter Malicia and introduce her to the talking rats.
Malicia believes that the rat catchers are up to something and so she, Maurice, and Keith break into the rat catchers' hut.
They discover a great deal of food stolen by the men and large cages when the local keekees are being bred for coursing.
The rat catchers return and lock up the humans, taking away the rat leader Hamnpork who had met up with them.
Maurice hides and feels a voice trying to enter his mind, inciting a great sense of fear.
The rats of the Clan feel it too, and many become so afraid that they all but forget how to think and reason.
Dangerous Beans, the rats' spiritual leader, is crushed by the realization that the rats are just mindless animals at heart, and leaves with his assistant Peaches.
Darktan, the rats' trap expert, leads a group to rescue Hamnpork, and succeeds after nearly dying in a trap.
Hamnpork dies of injuries sustained while fighting in the rat coursing pit, and Darktan reluctantly assumes control of the Clan. ...
تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز سی ام ماه ژانویه سال 2021میلادی
عنوان: دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه) کتاب بیست و هشتم، ماوریس شگفتانگیز و موشهای آموزش دیده اش؛ نویسنده: تری پرچت؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 21م
دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه)، یک سری از کتابهای فانتزی هستند، که روانشاد «تری پرچت»، نویسنده ی «انگلیسی»، نگاشته اند؛ داستانهای این سری در جهانی با نام «دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه)» میگذرند؛ که صفحه ای تخت است، و بر شانه های چهار فیل، با هیکلهای بزرگ، قرار دارد؛ این فیلها نیز، به نوبه ی خود، بر روی پشت یک لاکپشت غولآسا، با نام «آتوئین بزرگ» قرار دارند؛ در این سری از کتابها، بارها از سوژه های کتابهای نویسندگانی همچون «جی.آر.آر تالکین»، «رابرت هاوارد»، «اچ پی لاوکرافت» و «ویلیام شکسپیر» به گونه ای خنده دار، استفاده شده است؛
از سری «دیسک ورلد» بیشتر از هشتاد میلیون نسخه، در سی و هفت زبان، به فروش رفته است؛ این سری در برگیرنده ی بیش از چهل رمان (تاکنون چهل و یک رمان)، یازده داستان کوتاه، چهار کتاب علمی، و چندین کتاب مرجع، و مکمل است؛ از این سری، چندین رمان تصویری، بازی کامپیوتری، نمایش تئاتر، سریالهای تلویزیونی اقتباس شده است؛ روزنامه ی «ساندی تایمز» چاپ «انگلستان» از این سری به عنوان یکی از پرفروشترین سری کتابها نام برده، و «تری پرچت» را، به عنوان پرفروشترین نویسنده ی «انگلستان»، در دهه ی نود میلادی دانسته است؛
رمانهای «دیسکورلد» جوایز بسیاری از جمله جایزه «پرومتئوس»، و مدال ادبی «کارنگی» را، از آن خود ک��ده اند؛ در نظرسنجی «بیگ رید»، که «بیبیسی» در سال 2003میلادی، در «انگلستان» انجام داد، چهار رمان سری «دیسکورلد»؛ در فهرست یکصد کتاب برتر قرار گرفتند؛ همچنین مردمان «انگلیس»، در این نظرسنجی، چهارده رمان «دیسکورلد» را، در شمار دویست کتاب برتر، دانستند؛ تا کنون، از این سری، چهل و یک رمان، به چاپ رسیده است؛ «تری پرچت» که پیش از درگذشتش؛ در ابتدای سال 2015میلادی، از بیماری «آلزایمر» رنج میبردند، اعلام کردند که خوشحال میشوند که دخترشان، «ریانا پرچت»، به جای ایشان، به ادامه ی این سری بپردازند؛ تا جلد بیست و ششم رمان این سری، رمان «دزد زمان (2001میلادی)» به دست «جاش کربی»، به تصویر کشیده شده اند، اما نسخه های «آمریکایی»، که انتشارات «هارپرکالینز» آنها را، منتشر کرده، دارای تصاویر روی جلد دیگرگونه ای هستند؛ پس از درگذشت «جاش کربی»، در سال 2001میلادی، نقاشیهای روی جلد کتابهای بعدی این سری، بدست «پائول کربی» کشیده شدند
کتابهای اول و دوم: «رنگ جادو»؛ کتاب سوم: «زنان جادوگر»؛ کتاب چهارم: «مرگ»؛ کتاب پنجم: «سورسری (برگردان فارسی جادوی مرجع)»؛ کتاب ششم: «خواهران ویرد»؛ کتاب هفتم: «هرم ها»؛ کتاب هشتم: «نگهبانان! نگهبانان»؛ کتاب نهم: «اریک»؛ کتاب دهم: «تصاویر متحرک»؛ کتاب یازدهم: «مرد دروگر»؛ کتاب دوازدهم: «جادوگران خارج»؛ کتاب سیزدهم: «ایزدان خرد (خدایان کوچک)»؛ کتاب چهاردهم: «لردها و بانوان»؛ کتاب پانزدهم: «مردان مسلح»؛ کتاب شانزدهم: «موسیقی روح»؛ کتاب هفدهم: «اوقات جالب»؛ کتاب هجدهم: «ماسکراد»؛ کتاب نوزدهم: «پاهای خشت (فیت آو کلی)»؛ کتاب بیستم: «هاگفادر»؛ کتاب بیست و یکم: «جینگو»؛ کتاب بیست و دوم: «آخرین قاره»؛ کتاب بیست و سوم: «کارپه جوگلوم»؛ کتاب بیست و چهارم: «فیل پنجم»؛ کتاب بیست و پنجم: «حقیقت»؛ کتاب بیست و ششم: «دزد زمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هفتم: «آخرین قهرمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هشتم: «ماوریس شگفتانگیز و موشهای آموزشدیدهاش»؛ کتاب بیست و نهم: «ساعت شب»؛ کتاب سی ام: «مردان آزاد وی»؛ کتاب سی و یکم: «هنگ بزرگ»؛ کتاب سی و دوم: «کلاهی پُر از آسمان»؛ کتاب سی و سوم: «گوینگ پوستال»؛ کتاب سی و چهارم: «تود!»؛ کتاب سی و پنجم: «وینتراسمیت»؛ کتاب سی و ششم: «بدست آوردن پول»؛ کتاب سی و هفتم: «دانشگاهیهای نادیدنی»؛ کتاب سی و هشتم: «نیمهشب بایست بپوشم»؛ کتاب سی و نهم: «اسنوف»؛ کتاب چهلم: «بالا آمدن مه»؛ کتاب چهل و یکم: «تاج چوپان»؛
کتاب بیست و هشتم نوعی داستانهای خنده دار (موش و گربه) است؛ مائوریس گربه ی باهوش، و موشهای صحرایی که توانایی سخن گفتن دارند؛ برای دریافتن ژرفای طنز روانشاد «سر تری پرچت»؛ بایستی با تاریخ و متن کتابهای منتشر شده، فیلمها، مقاله های روزنامه ها، سیاستمداران، بزرگان و دولتمردان، و مردمان و جغرافیای جهان، و افسانه های بگذشته ها؛ و هر آنچه بوده و رخ داده، یا نوشته شده؛ و...؛ باید آشنا باشید؛
تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 20/01/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
This is his first YA Discworld book although I think that label is put more for marketing purposes. This is one of his darker works and like all good Discworld book there is so much going on beneath the surface. Behind there is story of clash of generations, finding one identity, spirituality and religion and Pratchett's realistic (or pessimistic if you are an optimist ) view of humanity and much more and his signiture cynical humor .
5 stars aren't enoug, that is why we have favorites shelf.
Всичко започва от по-далеч. От това как едни плъхове започнали да Мислят. И осъзнали, че трябва да има правила (нещо, което дори на нас, хората, често ни убягва. Например простичкото правило „Не пикай, където се храниш“. Доста човеци изглежда смятат, че са над тия неща).
Уличният котарак Морис предвожда своята групичка от умни плъхове и едно хлапе с неоспорим свирачески талант и повече акъл, отколкото изглежда на пръв поглед, и отръсква кесиите на разни плъхобоязливи градчета. Това, ��оето Морис не знае, е, че човек (или котка) винаги си намира майстора. Единственото несигурно е под каква точно форма ще се яви той.
Разработената от Морис схема за препитание сработва чудесно, докато, разбира се, не спре. Гризачите се натъкват на Зло и им се налага да тръгнат на война. Злото понякога има много крака, а друг път – само два. Но най-голямото Зло е онова в главите им. А всъщност понякога ти стига да си запалиш кибритена клечица, за да разсееш мрака около себе си. Ако нямаш, винаги можеш да потърсиш някоя в ума си. Понякога наистина е жизненоважно за запазване на разсъдъка.
Много ми хареса речта на Тери Пратчет, която прочетох в A Slip of the Keyboard по повод получаването му на медала „Карнеги“ за „Изумителният Морис…“. Той казва, че тази книга е за плъхове, които са интелигентни, но в нея се среща и още по-фантастичната идея, че човешките същества може би също са способни да мислят. И си струва да се пробва, тъй като вече сме опитали всичко друго. Аз бих добавила, че това е и приказка за нещата, които хората научават, когато не говорят много-много, а наблюдават внимателно, а също така и приказка за дамските чанти и тяхното чудно съдържание. Или както би казала Злобина Грим, това е „приказка за приказките“. И като всяка добра приказка и тази не свършва просто някак, а намеква, че всеки край може да е и начало:
„Накрая видя каквото търсеше. Тръгна след един момък извън града. Младежът бе преметнал през гърба си пръчка, на чийто край бе вързана кърпа от тези, които хората използват в повествователни обстоятелства за пренасяне на всичките им земни придобивки. Котаракът се ухили под мустак. Знаеш ли мечтите им, можеш да манипулираш хората. Котаракът вървя след момчето по целия път до първия крайпътен камък, където то спря да си почине. И чу: – Ей ти, с глупавата физиономия? Искаш ли да бъдеш кмет? Не бе, хлапе, тук долу… И понеже някои приказки свършват, но старите – не, трябва да си в крак с ритъма на музиката, ако искаш да си начело на парада“.
Maurice, a talking cat, leads a group of talking mice and a stupid-looking kid into a town called Bad Blintz looking for one last score with their pied piper scam. Only Bad Blintz has troubles of its own...
Terry Pratchett really knows how to write a kids book. I would have devoured this thing when I was a lad. Maurice and the rats are good characters, as is Keith, the aforementioned stupid-looking kid. The origin of Maurice and the rats' intelligence was fairly well done. Hell, it's a fantasy story. How much explanation do you need? Pratchett took the classic story of the pied piper and Discworld-ed it up with questions of philosophy, destiny, and leadership. And rat-kings.
Why only a three? The rat king bit felt tacked on at the last minute, although I enjoy me a good rat-king. While the humor was good, I didn't feel it was as good as the adult Discworld novels, subtle sex jokes excluded. Being a Discworld novel, things didn't quite end up all hunky-dory at the end but it was still a good ending.
Pratchett crafted a good young adult novel here. If you have some YA's in your house, go ahead and nab this one for them.
Another author I was slow in finding, Pratchett has a wicked and beautifully twisted sense of humor. I would call this book a recrafting of the Pied Piper story, but that really doesn't even begin to describe it. All the characters, human or otherwise, are wonderfully drawn, and the story is well worth your time. Sheesh, this guy is prolific, too. I need to get back to work now!
Standardno dobar Pračet (ovo zapravo mogu da napišem za svaku njegovu knjigu, osim za one s Rinsvindom, koje zbog nečeg ne podnosim) koji je iz nepoznatih razloga marketinški plasiran kao dečja knjiga. Nekad imam utisak da je za marketinško plasiranje nečega kao dečjeg dovoljno da nema eksplicitnog seksa i ružnih reči. Mala beleška: mnogo mi se sviđa kako aktuelna prevoditeljka Pračeta, Nevena Andrić, rešava probleme lokalno obojenog kolokvijalnog govora. Nisu sva rešenja idealna i da čitam uporedo s originalom verovatno bih tu i tamo gunđala, ali npr. "razumeš se ti kao Meri u kriv kantar"... *grokće od smeha*
I knew going in that this was the first "kids" book in the Discworld universe, but saw praise for it by people who said that I shouldn't skip it. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with them because it just doesn't have the depth of story or comedic dialogue that I have come to love from Discworld books.
I'll save this and give it to my kids when they get old enough for it.
Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.
I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go.
I remember being given a copy of Reaper Man when I was a wee boy. When Death took on the prototype mechanical harvester, my first major author-crush began and it's never let-up.
In my teenage years I re-read my favourite Discworld books so many times that their spines cracked and pages fell out. Sir Terry will always be an idol, an icon and a source of inspiration.
But somehow this one passed me by. I think it's because it's a stand-alone within the Discworld universe, and those have never been my favourites. Also, I'm not yet sold on the young-adult Discworld books. Before The Amazing Maurice I'd only read The Wee Free Men and I wasn't convinced, so I felt little urgency to grab a copy.
This is a good book!
It's a great concept (talking cat, rats and sidekick human boy scamming villages as a rat plague and the Piper). It's funny. It's got great dark touches for a y-a book. It explores corners of the Discworld map that hadn't been fully tapped. Maurice is a great character. Dangerous Beans is an amazing name! The Mr Bunsy satire element is done superbly.
As a huge Pratchett fan, I would read his descriptions of paint drying. This - this goes down like cold lemonade on a hot summer day. I devoured this book like it was covered in Nutella.
So why only three stars?
(This is almost an exact parrot of Dan's review) - but the rat-king felt tacked on at the end. Great scenes for sure, but the story felt more episodic than cohesive. - Keith, (Maurice's pet human) just never got more that a 'meh' from me, my heart was all with the rats come the end. - had I read it back when I was young, we might have gelled better, but as it was I felt like I was standing outside the story-circle, imagining how a youngster would enjoy it, rather than being truly gripped myself.
I've only got a couple more Discworld books I've not read, both part of the Tiffany Aching y-a series. And then I will (after many years of negligence) be 100% up-to-date with the series!
This was one of the first Discworld novels I've ever read, the German translation back then though. I'm very pleased to report that the reading experience was even better this time - partly because the original is always better, partly because I now understood certain side-stabs and references, which was very rewarding.
It's part of The Folklore of Discworld, a version of the Pied Pauper. Maurice, a cat, along with a number of rats has become intelligent to a point where they've learnt human speech. Ever since then, Maurice has done his best to put the rodents (rat is considered a derogative term) to good work so he they can get rich. The trick is fairly simple, playing on human expectations - which is why their last coup doesn't work as they meet a human girl who practically lives fairytales. But that's a good thing, actually, as the town is in trouble and guess who can save everyone.
A very cute and funny look at reputations, stories, courage, having a conscience and the love of fairytales.
One of my favourite moments probably was towards the end when this song was sung (imagine it being sung to one of the usual military cadences): "We fight dogs amd we chase cats ... ... ain't no trap can stop the rats! Got no plague and got no fleas ... ... we drink poison, we steal cheese! Mess with us and you shall see ... ... we'll put poison in your tea! Here we fight and here we'll stay ... ... WE WILL NEVER GO AWAY!" BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
And always remember: the best end to a conflict is when no side thinks they've lost - indeed!
IF (like me) you've always been impatient with the Rincewind-heavy volumes of Sir Terry's oeuvre, you're in luck.
Civilization begins with the tiniest steps
Maurice is blessedly short on fart jokes* and long on Pratchett's brand of homespun philosophical irony.
Maurice is a madly inventive retelling of The Pied Piper, featuring ragged-eared, fast-talking tomcat Maurice as the brains of the outfit. His cronies the rats can talk too, thanks to their hazardous-magical-waste diet amid the trash-heaps behind Unseen University.
The book is funny, but more importantly, characters surprise us with their depth. Darktan, the toolbelt-swathed engineering-wizard rat, has a crisis of faith about his role as a leader. Other rats in his Clan are hammering out rules for ethical living, much to sharpster Maurice's disgust.
Even the dumb-looking piper kid is starting to give Maurice static about
*not that there's anything wrong with fart jokes. But here, they're largely supplanted by tap-dancing rat gags à la vaudeville.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
This happened to be my first Pratchett book and why I did not love it, I still found myself greatly enjoying it whilst I read it. I do have this hunch where I think that absurdist fantasy(is that what you call it?) is probably not my thing. Whether I will like it more the more kind of these books I read or not, I’ll have to see but compared to what is considered as ‘normal’ fantasy, this is really far out there as many people have already noted.
It is full of talking rats and a cat and also some really random and dodgy implications of magic that certainly has me interested in reading more of his works. I do very much so like the fact that it is not at all like traditional fantasy with its swords, wizards and dark lords but breaks all of those boundaries and troops and writing something that is completely different.
It does begin as a fairly lighthearted and humorous book, yet gets quite dark towards the end as the characters try to grapple towards the ending which I thought was handled in a decent manner. I have found out that this is apparently his first ‘YA’ Discworld book which I hope they his adult books are much better(though I have yet to read them as of the writing of this review, so really, I have no idea).
I thought that this book was alright, I did not love it, nor hate it, but maybe again it may be because I’m not used to this kind of fantasy and going out of comfort zones takes maybe a few books to get used to that sort of take in the genre. 6/10
Maurice watched them argue again. Humans, eh? Think they're lords of creation. Not like us cats. We know we are. Ever see a cat feed a human? Case proven.
Maurice and his savvy, talking rodents arrive in town, ready once again to pull the old "Pied Piper" scheme. They scare the bejeezus out of the townsfolk, nibble on the comestibles and widdle everywhere. The citizens waste no time hiring Keith to play his magic flute, rats follow him out of the village, everybody splits the money and VOILA! - it's on to the next little hamlet.
But Bad Blintz is different. This is a town that REALLY HATES RATS! There are full-time Rat Catchers paying 50 cents a tail and traps and poisons and a mysterious voice that gets inside your head and Malicia, a book-loving girl who won't stop talking.
Will this be the end of the line for Maurice and his band of merry critters?
This is a fairly cute tale with a good mix of adventure and humor. The rats (and their names, chosen from items found around the dump - Feedsfour, Nourishing, Big Savings and Dangerous Beans) - are the real stars of this show.
This may be billed as a YA novel by the redoubtable Pratchett, but I'm just going to shrug. It's fun and funny and I will always look at this novel as a sly reference to Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, including multiple minds linked together to make a full intelligence. No, not wolves. RATS. Such a lovely image.
But no, this isn't all this is.
Talking rats and one very special talking cat and a stupid-looking boy con their way through Discworld. What more could anyone want? Villains, pied pipers, rats in human skin? Ah! But this is Pratchett and we've got all that and sausages that don't deserve the name sausage.
What was up with that bullshit message of Ratatouille? (I hope I'm spelling that correctly. I'm gonna look so dumb! In my defense, I've always been the pickiest of eaters.) That whole "Don't steal from humans!" thing. They were rats! What did they care if humans stuck flags and paper umbrellas in every little thing? They shouldn't. The rat had as much right to saffron as stupid Lugini did.
The rodents in Terry Prachett's Maurice and his Educated Rodents are - D'oh! Sorry, Maurice! The AMAZING Maurice and his Educated Rodents- anthropomorphized. But they are not slaves to the morality of man. They've got, as Richard Adams would say, dignity and animality all their own. They were seeking understanding of themselves and each other. I never cared much for definitions such as "allegory" or "fables". I care about "ring of truth" (if I think too much about types of stories I get confused and start labelling everything). Same goes for satire. Pratchett's satire would still be good if the things he was satirizing didn't exist. I wish all who wrote that would use that as their bench mark of success... Would it matter if you didn't know who it was? What they did? I don't really care that they are rats. Pratchett sure didn't. It was probably that that made their society and feeling of bonds (man, rat, whatever) feel... well, feel. No stupid Lugini tried to force rules on them.
I'm not sure what was up with the less interesting kid people of the story. I KNOW Pratchett can do better than this. In fact, he can do amazing (see the Tiffany Aching series for pretty much the coolest little girl heroine from like ever). Enough about the stupid humans.
I don't know if anyone reading this will relate to this or not. Sometimes I get this sensation when talking to people that they are constantly (this is exhausting) testing me to see if I'll stay interesting, or slip up and say something dumb (of course I'm going to do that). There's a kind of false barrier to that sort of "I'm saying this to see if you'll be shocked!" airs. Maurice could have had that. He does try so very hard. His gaze of the world and others is shrewd, somewhat hard out of necessity, playful too. It was a pleasure to read him come out of those expectations and into the necessity of honest interactions, in spite of himself (necessity if you don't want to be exhausted from constant expectations, anyway). They just wanted to make the most out of life. Who could blame them?
The Pied Piper was one of my favorite fairy tales growing up. I'd feel sure that I wouldn't have been invited with the other kids to follow the music. Jesus, Mariel. (I liked the idea of everyone being gone way too much...)
Can it be? A Discworld book that I hadn't read before? A joy!
This is barely a Discworld book—with the exception of Death (who could seamlessly slide into any other setting) there's nothing to differentiate it from any generic lightly-magical medievalish locale—while being quintessentially a Discworld book. Pratchett is in almost peak form with this, his first Discworld book for "younger" readers; in truth a reader of any age will draw value from it. There are some very minor plotting bumps that leave a temporary feeling of having missed something, but those gaps get filled in quickly enough to get on with it. This is typical of some of Pratchett's books of its era.
When it gets it right, which is 95% of the time, it is 120% right. I was blown away by the depth of the themes in this "children's" book; philosophical musing on the meaning of sentience and existence, with some bits about leadership, stories, nature vs. nurture, some other stuff. (I'm not great on themes.) A movie based on this book was released last year; I can't imagine they got those parts right, but maybe?
All I really know is that this book made me cry, and I was like, "Fuck you, book for children." Now I'll try to get my daughter to read it, although the Tiffany Aching series (of which I will read The Wee Free Men as my next Pratchett experience) will probably be an easier sell.
Poor Cinder- oops I mean Malicia... ‘I expect you’re very keen to know all about me,’ said Malicia. ‘I expect you’re just too polite to ask.’
‘Gosh, yes,’ said Maurice.
‘Well, you probably won’t be surprised to know that I’ve got two dreadful step-sisters,’ said Malicia. ‘And I have to do all the chores!’
‘Gosh, really,’ said Maurice, wondering if there were any more fish-heads and, if there were any more fish-heads, whether they were worth all this.
‘Well, most of the chores,’ said Malicia, as if revealing an unfortunate fact. ‘Some of them, definitely. I have to clean up my own room, you know! And it’s extremely untidy!’
‘And it’s very nearly the smallest bedroom. There are practically no cupboards and I’m running out of bookshelf space!’
With tip of the hat to "The Famous Five"... ‘My father shouted a lot and sent for Blunkett and Spears, too,’ said Malicia. ‘They’re the rat-catchers! And you know what that means, don’t you?’
Maurice and Keith looked at one another. ‘Let’s pretend we don’t,’ said Maurice.
‘It means we can break into their shed and solve the mystery of the bootlace tails!’ said Malicia. She gave Maurice a critical look. ‘Of course, it would be more … satisfying if we were four children and a dog, which is the right number for an adventure, but we’ll make do with what we’ve got.’
The secret passage cliche... Malicia leaned against the wall with incredible nonchalance. There was not a click. A panel in the floor did not slide back.
‘Probably the wrong place,’ she said. ‘I’ll just rest my arm innocently on this coat hook.’ A sudden door in the wall completely failed to happen.
‘Of course, it’d help if there was an ornate candlestick,’ said Malicia. ‘They’re always a sure-fire secret passage lever. Every adventurer knows that.’
And more... ‘Ye-es,’ she said. ‘That usually works, in stories. It’s often the stupid person who comes up with the good idea by accident.’ She crouched down and peered into the hole. ‘There’s a sort of little lever,’ she said. ‘I’ll just give it a little push …’
There was a clonk under the floor, part of it swung back, and Keith dropped out of sight.
‘Oh, yes,’ said Malicia. ‘I thought something like that would probably happen …’
More Fairy tales... ‘My granny and my great-aunt were very famous story-tellers, you know,’ said Malicia eventually, in a strained little voice. ‘Agoniza and Eviscera Grim.’
‘You said,’ said Keith.
‘My mother would have been a good story-teller, too, but my father doesn’t like stories. That’s why I’ve changed my name to Grim for professional purposes.’
‘I used to get beaten when I was small for telling stories,’ Malicia went on.
‘Beaten?’ said Keith.
‘All right, then, smacked,’ said Malicia. ‘On the leg. But it did hurt. My father says you can’t run a city on stories. He says you have to be practical.’
Cats:Lords of Creation... Maurice watched them argue again. Humans, eh? Think they’re lords of creation. Not like us cats. We know we are. Ever see a cat feed a human? Case proven.
Alien crop circles... It’s just like crop circles. No matter how many aliens own up to making them, there are always a few diehards who believe that humans go out with garden rollers in the middle of the night—’
Recent adventures... Remember last month? When she tracked down the Mysterious Headless Horseman?’
‘Well, you must admit he was a horseman, sir.’
‘That is true. But he was also a short man with a very high collar. And he was the chief tax-gatherer from Mintz. I’m still getting official letters about it! Tax-gatherers do not as a rule like young ladies dropping on them out of trees!
...and more adventures... ‘The Mystery of Smuggler’s Windmill, sir,’ said the sergeant, rolling his eyes.
‘Which turned out to be Mr Vogel the town clerk and Mrs Schuman the shoemaker’s wife, who happened to be there merely because of their shared interest in studying the habits of barn owls …’
‘… and Mr Vogel had his trousers off because he’d torn them on a nail …’ said the sergeant, not looking at the mayor.
‘… which Mrs Schuman was very kindly repairing for him,’ said the mayor.
‘By moonlight,’ said the sergeant.
‘She happens to have very good eyesight!’ snapped the mayor. ‘And she didn’t deserve to be bound and gagged along with Mr Vogel, who caught quite a chill as a result!
The (almost) end of the rats... And that was almost the end of the story.How the crowd yelled when rats erupted from every hole and drain. How they cheered when both pipers danced out of the town, with the rats racing along behind them. How they whistled when the rats plunged off the bridge into the river.
They didn’t notice that some rats stayed on the bridge, urging the others with shouts of ‘Remember, strong regular strokes!’ and ‘There’s a nice beach just downstream!’ and ‘Hit the water feet first, it won’t hurt so much!’
Even if they had noticed, they probably wouldn’t have said anything. Details like that don’t fit in.
And the piper danced off over the hills and never, ever came back.
Well, I have definitely learned a lot about rats. I have mixed feelings about this book. Terry Pratchett is usually SO GOOD at mixing light-hearted silliness with a more macabre subject matter, but this time something felt a little… off. The rats are great at first, a nice blend of ratty grossness and the angst that comes with sudden enlightenment… or puberty. The rat characters are well-developed and as authentic as a bunch of talking rats can be. Maurice the cat is also a wonderful character.
But something is not quite right towards the middle. I think things went all pear-shaped with the introduction of the disembodied voice that turns out to be a Rat King, a phenomenon I would have much preferred to remain ignorant of. The whole rat-king business doesn’t seem to quite fit, or maybe I’m just to squeamish to handle the idea of a bunch of live rats with their tails fused together. Ew. In any case, the disembodied voice business just didn’t jive with me and felt out of place in this story.
Also, I got fuddled with this book in the middle section, trying to figure out whether it’s really meant to be a children’s story or a weird children’s-story-for-adults thing. There are some very very oblique sexual references having to do with the more enlightened rats, and some other things that threw me off. Perhaps it’s that the rats are not quite “Mr. Bunnsy” enough for children- they walk and talk like story-book creatures, but they still pee on everything and eat each other and commit little ratty murders. And that’s troublesome. It’s also troublesome that the rats talk about philosophy, clearly not something we want children exposed to. I guess the easy-reading laugh-a-minute feel of most of the discworld books got diluted somehow in this one.
Despite how hinky the middle section is, the ending is really quite satisfying, at least to me. I suppose a law student would a contract to be a good narrative resolution. It feels more authentic than the middle bits and pokes a bit of fun at authority, tourism and government, so all’s well that ends well.
Here’s my advice- go read everything Terry Pratchett has ever written, starting with Good Omens and then blasting through Discworld like it’s your job. Read A Hat Full of Sky and the Wee Free Men, which are also geared for a younger audience. Throw this book on the end of the list and see how it goes. And, for the sake of everything good and decent in the world do NOT do a Google search for “Rat King.” Just don’t.
Maurice is an intelligent talking cat that has masterminded a scheme where his gang of intelligent talking rats and a human boy go from town-to-town implementing a plague of rats and then having the boy pipe them out of town for a fee. The group arrive at the town of Bad Blintz for one last job only to find a town that already has a rat problem. A very odd one.
This is only my second read of this story since soon after its publication, and I had considered it a lesser work from the author. Not since The Light Fantastic has a reread changed my opinion of a Discworld book more. I loved everything about these books, from the power of leadership, to the idea of a philosopher rat going ahead of his fellows to disarm ideas like other rats would disarm traps, to the boy Keith and his absolute acceptance that the talking rats and cat are just a different sort of people. Even the idea of a rat utopia that is floated at the start of the book is examined and rejected for a much better reality.
Even more powerfully, and timely in 2019, is the rejection of authoritarianism that doesn't care about individuals or negotiation.
This is Terry Pratchett's first YA Discworld novel and as to be expected it is a lot of fun.It's based on the Pied Piper story with Maurice the talking cat, a band of talking rats (they all ate something strange at the dump) and a stupid looking kid who plays the flute. They go from village to village scamming the villagers into paying for the piper to rid the town of rats who are running amok, widdling on the cheese and swimming in the cream. The rats are very cute with names they've taking from supermarket items such as Nourishing, Hamnpork, Peaches and Dangerous Beans. Some are trap disposal experts and some are champion widdlers sent out to cause maximum distress to housewives.
This story starts with the troop arriving at a strange village where nary a rat is seen and two resident rat catchers are up to something very bad....
I very much enjoyed Terry Pratchett’s first foray into young adult literature. I know he’s written a handful of YA books (many of them also set in the Discworld), but I wish he had written more. He was very good at it!
One thing I loved as a kid, and which I still love now, is when children’s books have darker edges to them. Kids live in this world same as adults. They worry about death and violence and hunger. Like, kids are people, too, and their literature shouldn’t ignore or sugarcoat those aspects of humanity. The best kids and young adult books are always the ones that know this. I guessed going in Pratchett would be that kind of author, and I was right.
The Amazing Maurice is a cat, a cat who can talk. His companions are rats, rats who can talk. And think. (It all has to do with a pile of magical refuse they all ate out of at the back of Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork, long story.) What they have chosen to do with their sapience is to befriend a lonely young boy and use him to perpetuate a scam on a bunch of villages, where all the rats invade a town and do rat things (pee on stuff, eat it, etc.) until the village decides to employ the services of a piper who is conveniently in town, at which point all the rats will magically fade away. (This is a twisted take on the Pied Piper tale.)
But when they get to a town that already has a rat problem, and things there are very strange, their scheme takes a turn.
The best part about this book, aside from criminal talking animals, is the existential crisis all the rats are going through. They all have names like Dangerous Beans and Hamnpork and Sardines, but some rats are smarter and more enlightened than others. So there’s this whole thing about rats learning what it means to be people and not rats that was as moving as it was ridiculous. It also works really well as a contrast against the “villain” of the book, a rat king, which was disgusting, don’t google it it’s a real thing.
Even if you haven’t read any other Discworld books, this is worth checking out, especially if you have young readers looking for some reading that’s smart and a bit cheeky.
Talk to the paw, because the whiskers aren't listening. Overdrive has informed me that I listened to the entirety of this. I say, it's debatable.
Here's why Pratchett is a miss with me. I want to experience the story as a character. This requires a deep point of view. But Pratchett always does this (to the tune of Row Your Boat):
Tell, tell, tell, the tale, tell the fricking tale. If you want to be shown, you can go to Hale.
Yes, one minute you are a star whistling through the cosmos, the next, a cat in the alley. It's just how Grandpa Terry rolls. He also uses modern slang in a medieval setting, which pulls me right out. Not to mention a cast of a thousand fools, every frickin' time.
Instead of a main character who will do anything to achieve a goal, we usually have a lunkhead who rolls around in the mud until something happens. Maybe this is better read, but I'd avoid the audio book.
Υπέροχο βιβλίο από έναν ευφάνταστο παραμυθά! Καταιγιστική περιπέτεια εμπνευσμένη από το Μαγικό Αυλό, με πολλούς ποντικούς που κατευθύνει ένας ραδιούργος γάτος (everybody wants to be a cat... παραραμ!!! καλά, μπορεί να θέλει να γίνει και ένα εξελιγμένο τρωκτικό βέβαια...)
Έχει και ηθικό μήνυμα στο τέλος!!
Δεν προτείνεται σε όσους δεν αρέσουν οι ποντικο-μονομαχίες...
12/9/08 first read: I find it amazing how many important concepts Terry Pratchett manages to pack into this little 278 page book!
7/22/13: Reread. Love the way the rats develop their civilization: thinking, writing, teaching, learning, religion, protecting their future, and that of those weaker than themselves. Even hints of suffrage for females. Best of all is Darktan (and others) learning the responsibilities of leadership. As always with Pratchett, simple and fun--but deep down so very very wise.
Also: I really need to reread Watership Down. Wish I hadn't lost my copy somewhere. Argh!
This is a Discworld novel though don't expect any of the usual characters to appear - there are no wizards - apart from Death and the Death of Rats, who make only a fleeting appearance. Yes, some animals do perish in this book, but don't worry remember how many lives cats have.
This is a lovely story with a squad of rats to enjoy, each with their own distinctive characteristics. Do Maurice, the rats, and the piper succeed in their aims and fleece the residents of Bad Blintz as they have with so many other towns on Discworld? No. Do they reach a compromise with the citizens to achieve a mutually beneficial living environment for both sets of animals? Well, you will have to find out. There's even a human love story running through the narrative as well as some life lessons for us all. What more could you want from a book?