Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents

by Terry Pratchett


According to the blurb on the jacket, this story is aimed at young readers. As usual though that's a matter of taste. At 270 pages there's nothing particularly juvenile about its length. And, like a Harry Potter book, there's nothing to stop adults from enjoying it too.

The Amazing Maurice concerns a talking cat and his band of talking rats, some of whom wear clothes. This is no Tale of Peter Rabbit though, it's altogether darker. It is set in the Discworld, although very few of the old familiar characters make an appearance. The exceptions are of course Death, and the Death of Rats.

The animals team up with a stupid-looking boy who happens to play the pipe. They have been going from town to town, ridding each one of a 'plague' of rats and getting rich into the bargain.

Then they reach the town of Bad Blintz in Uberwald, where some strange things are going on. The people are starving, rats have a price on their tails, and there are no other rats to be found at all. Terrible things lurk in the cellars, worse even than Nanny Ogg's home brew. Although it's loosely based around the Pied Piper stories, in typical Pratchett style it does not turn out as you might expect.

Pratchett makes you care what happens to these rodents, in spite of the fact that they are rats. They all have distinct personalities, so the reader tends not to think of them as cute snuffly furry things which only have short lives anyway. He also raises some difficult questions about who we eat and how we treat 'lesser' beings. Maurice has a code that he won't eat anything that can talk to him. He also experiences the disturbing stirrings of a conscience. The rats too begin to ask questions about death, souls and heaven. Their new intelligence makes everything a lot more complex all of a sudden.

However it's not a book with a great deal of existential angst. The adventure is fast-paced and frightening. Seen from a rat's-eye view many simple things are threatening and more lethal than the rats. They dodge poison, traps and other obstacles to get to the heart of the mystery.

The plot is perhaps a little simpler than Pratchett's adult work, the moral less ambiguous. There are fewer jokes, although some good ones, and more action. Yet it's suspenseful to the last page. And if you think you know how it's going to end, you're wrong. Or you've already read it.

One of his best.

Book Details

Year: 2001

Categories: Books

  YA     Fantasy

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5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson

More about Terry Pratchett


Johnny Pom mkII     9th November, 2004 11:38am

Read this book. In fact, read all the pratchett you can get your hands on. This man is a genius. He has to be the funniest author in the history of funny authors. His books are more entertaining than watching vin diesel attempting to act. (he still needs a strepsil). BUY THIS BOOK!

Shahyan Bakhtiyar     11th December, 2005 07:34am

I think this is quite a boring book if u are looking for a story in it......Except that the story highlights alot of problems prevelent in the society !!!

Kazie d     28th January, 2006 19:24pm

great we did a play at school about the book and i was tyhe rat king

kelsey     26th May, 2006 01:27am

I got this book for free at a garage sale, figuring I might read it. But when I started it, and could not put it down! It was so good, I loved the characters. I thought it was very suspenseful, and it kept me guessing until the last page!BUY IT!!!

safa     3rd October, 2006 16:57pm

this playscript is amazing just like maurice.......we read the scenes in the class and i was malicia........well it is very interesting and especially its central theme is fatanstic

Lexi     25th November, 2006 07:46am

I really loved this story, but did anyone else want to know more about Stupid Looking Kid?

It did say that he was an orphan left on a doorstep with a note, and the note had strawberry yoghurt on it, so was he Ronnie Soak's (Chaos) child?

It has been annoying me for ages! But yeah, it's such a good story, isn't it?

Cazlottzar     8th February, 2007 20:14pm

I, myself do not like this book. I am in p7 and we were reading this book. My friends and i think this book was to jumpy and dull. I did not enjoy it and i now have to do a book review on it and do not have a clue what to write because it was just to confusing for us to understand.

Melanie     8th February, 2007 20:15pm

I hated this book

Abeera     29th October, 2007 15:56pm

Well i am still reading this book with my class and i have just read it half but honestly till i have read i found it interesting and gave us the real picture of what we humans are up to these days

Shameen Rehman     17th March, 2008 11:21am


Christina Boyer     6th April, 2008 22:10pm


Harry Needham     25th April, 2009 05:32am

This has to be one of the best books I have ever read. It was my first Pratchett and I couldn't put it down. I was rushing through my schoolwork just to be able to read it. I am now thoroughly addicted to Pratchett. He is the greatest author of our time.

Katy     25th October, 2011 17:57pm

My daughter's primary school is doing this as a musical and she is really excited about it. She can't stop singing the songs.

Ros     31st October, 2011 12:00pm

That sounds like so much fun, Katy, and a bit of a change from the usual school plays.

I think the book is a bit advanced for most primary school kids, but when you break it down to a play script it's simplified and more visual, so hopefully they will want to read the book when they're a little older.