This week’s ‘Wit and Wisdom’ is of ‘The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents’. I am currently re-reading this book and it makes me smile just as much as the first time I read it.
Maurice is a cat, who talks, and overseas and overseas a pack of rats – all of who can also talk. Maurice also has a human, called Keith, and together they go to various towns and infest them. This is when the human comes along with his magic pipe to lead the rats away. They earn some money and Maurice is a happy cat – well until the last village they decide to dupe.
This village is poor and it is said that they have a rat problem – the only issue is that Maurice and his rats can find any other rats but they two find two very well fed and apparently successful rat catchers. An adventure ensues to include the mayor’s daughter (Malicia) and a ‘rat-king’. Beautiful images are conquered in your head of dancing rats and sarcastic cats whilst there are also much darker and sad events in the book. It’s definitely a good read – for adults and children.
Imagine a million clever rats. Rats that don’t run. Rats that fight…
Maurice, a scruffy tomcat with an eye for the main chance, has the perfect fiddle going. He has found a stupid-looking kid for a piper, and he has his very own plague of rats – rats who are strangely educated, so Maurice can no longer think of them as ‘lunch’. And everyone knows the stories about rats and pipers – and is giving him lots of money…
Until they try the trick in the far-flung town of Bad Blintz, and the little con suddenly goes down the drain.
Someone there is playing a different tune. A dark, shadowy tune. Something very, very bad is waiting in the cellars. The educated rats must learn a new word.
– Everyone needs their little dreams. If you knew what it was that people really, really wanted, you very nearly controlled them.
– Cat singing consists of standing two inches in front of other cats and screaming at them until they give in.
– ‘You were stolen away at birth, I expect [says Malicia]. You probably are the rightful king of some country, but they found someone who looked like you and did a swap. You were probably found on doorstep.’
‘I was, yes,’ said Keith….’There was just me and a blanket. And a note.’
‘A note? But that’s important!’
‘It said “19 pints and a Strawberry yoghurt”,’ said Keith.
– ‘They’ll tell my father I’ve been telling stories and I’ll get locked out of my room again.’
‘You get locked out of your room as a punishment?’ said Maurice.
‘Yes. It means I can’t get at my books. I’m rather a special person, as you may have guessed,’ said Malicia, proudly.
– The thing about stories is that you have to pick the ones that last.