Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for The amazing Maurice and his educated rodents
The amazing Maurice and his educated rodents



Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, Publishers, 2001, 2002.
Physical Description:
241 pages.
A talking cat, intelligent rats, and a strange boy cooperate in a Pied Piper scam until they try to con the wrong town and are confronted by a deadly evil rat king.


Call Number
Pratchett, T.
TEEN FICTION Pratchett, T.

On Order



Carnegie Medal Winner * New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age * VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror * ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults * Book Sense Pick

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 beloved 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!

Author Notes

Terry Pratchett was on born April 28, 1948 in Beaconsfield, United Kingdom. He left school at the age of 17 to work on his local paper, the Bucks Free Press. While with the Press, he took the National Council for the Training of Journalists proficiency class. He also worked for the Western Daily Press and the Bath Chronicle. He produced a series of cartoons for the monthly journal, Psychic Researcher, describing the goings-on at the government's fictional paranormal research establishment, Warlock Hall. In 1980, he was appointed publicity officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board with responsibility for three nuclear power stations.

His first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971. His first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. He became a full-time author in 1987. He wrote more than 70 books during his lifetime including The Dark Side of the Sun, Strata, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort, Sourcery, Truckers, Diggers, Wings, Dodger, Raising Steam, Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales, and The Shephard's Crown. He was diagnosis with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2007. He was knighted for services to literature in 2009 and received the World Fantasy award for life achievement in 2010. He died on March 12, 2015 at the age of 66.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

(Intermediate) Maurice the cat is the brains of the operation. The rats create the plague-widdling in the jam, doing the backstroke in the cream-then the stupid-looking kid (Keith) pipes them all out of town for a fee, to be shared by all conspirators. But the rats, newly sentient after ingesting some magical refuse, are beginning to get scruples, and the town of Bad Blintz turns out to have worse problems than a few rats. The town's rat catchers are running a scam of stealing food and selling it downstream, while they're breeding extra-large rats for use baiting terriers in a rat pit-but there's an even more awful and secret evil lurking behind them. Three rats, Darktan (a trap-hunter and safety expert), Sardines (a tap-dancing plaguester), and Dangerous Beans (a philosopher who guides the others through the pitfalls of self-awareness), lead the other rats in rooting out the evil, aided by Keith (not as stupid as he looks), Malicia (mayor's daughter, storyteller, royal pain), and Maurice the cat (who begins to get a few scruples himself). Pratchett's absorbing, suspenseful adventure is speeded along by the characters' wisecracking patter and deepened-as when Darktan emerges alive from a trap with new ideas about the afterlife, or Dangerous Beans formulates his Thoughts for changed rats-by a willingness to tackle the questions of existence. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Satiric adult SF superstar Pratchett (The Last Hero, p. 1254, etc.) resets the Pied Piper tale on Discworld, with predictably unpredictable results. Here the rats themselves are pulling off a profitable scam, masterminded by Maurice the cat. The animals, their intelligence accidentally magically enhanced, infest town after town, until the desperate inhabitants pay their human accomplice to pipe them out. But the rats have developed consciences; and when they agree grudgingly to just one more "plague," they run up against an evil combining the worst of human and rat natures-and that only human, rat, and cat together can defeat. Much of the charm here resides in the way the animals remain true to their natures-the rats, each with a distinct personality, still fight, steal, and stink, while Maurice is as self-centered as only a cat can be-yet still remain far more appealing than the foolish humans around them. Pratchett hasn't blunted his wickedly funny pen for younger readers; the only apparent concessions to a teen audience are the adolescent humans abetting the rats, and the story's relative brevity. He retains the lethal combination of laugh-out-loud farce, razor-sharp satire, and the underlying passionate idealism unique to the confirmed cynic that makes his adult Discworld series so popular. A lot is packed in amidst the humor: ruminations on good and evil, dreaming and doing, leadership and compromise. But this is at heart a story about stories, so necessary as consolations, inspirations, and guides, but also so dangerous when allowed to replace independent thought. Excruciatingly funny, ferociously intelligent. (Fiction. YA)

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-9. The Amazing Maurice, an opportunistic cat, talks Keith, a "stupid-looking kid" who plays a flute, and a horde of rats (with names like Dangerous Beans, Darktan, Hamnpork, Big Savings, Peaches, and Nourishing) into working pied-piper scams on various towns. In Pratchett's first Discworld novel for young readers, the motley crew readies itself to take on the isolated hamlet of Bad Blintz. Unfortunately, it didn't count on running into the mayor's conniving daughter (to whom everything is part of a fairy tale) or a pair of rat catchers working an evil scheme in the tunnels and sewers beneath the town. What ensues is scary mayhem, leavened with a big dollop of comic relief as the scammers become heroes and, eventually, cut a deal with the townspeople. Kids who like Brian Jacques' Redwall series and Robin Jarvis' Deptford Mice trilogy will feel pretty comfortable with the fast-paced (sometimes gory) action here. --Sally Estes