by Terry Pratchett
The American cover is not the least bit cute or enticing, so I'm showing the English version even though that's not the one I was able to hold in my hands.
Some books I've read recently are based on fairy tales; this book takes the Pied Piper tale and "turns it right on it's head" according to the front cover. I think that's an apt description. Maurice is a talking cat who has teamed up with a "stupid-looking boy" and some talking mice in a Pied Piper-like scam.
Pratchett's characteristic humor defuses the ick factor allowing me to actually like the rats and tolerate their environment. In fact, I found myself cheering for the rats, which is to be expected since they are the heroes along with Maurice, the boy and a town girl.
I found myself thinking this was the perfect book to engage the interest of young boys. Although, I need to add a word of caution: the book gets quite terrifying in the last half. I didn't have any nightmares, but I could imagine that some children might. I think this book should be categorized as YA, not children's. The scary part ends and the book finishes on a lighter note. I really liked this book and highly recommend it to adults and cautiously recommend it to young adults.
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents was awarded the Carnegie Awards in 2001. This award is given for outstanding children's or YA literature.