The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett (Discworld novel 28) – Published by Doubleday (Random House Children’s Books) in 2001
Where to begin? Well, this is categorised as a children’s book and I suppose it must be, after all, it won the 2001 Carnegie Medal, awarded to the writer of an outstanding book for children. It is apparently aimed at children from around the age of 8 or 9 who enjoy fantasy based stories, but, in my view, it is best suited to adults from around the age of 11!
I suspect the Discworld series is rather like Marmite and, until I read this book, I’d have said I hated it, having tried and failed to “get into” the genre; I admit I was only tempted to read this one because the central character is a cat (the Amazing Maurice).
Described by some as a twist on the story of The Pied Piper, it is so much more. A clever and thought-provoking lesson in ethical behaviour, with an embarrassing disclosure (Oops!) and complex inter-species relationships, this is a wonderfully moving and amusing story, with rats (and a cat) you really care about. In a brilliant and densely plotted story, Peaches, Dangerous Beans and the rest of the gang discover they need to be careful out there.
This is both a classic to read and re-read and a wonderful legacy. As the author himself says, ”…some stories end, but old stories go on, and you gotta dance to the music if you want to stay ahead.”
Terry Pratchett, writer and campaigner, 1948-2015. RIP.