The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.
HarperCollins Publishers: NY, 2001.

Pratchett tells a twisted version of the Pied Piper. Maurice the talking cat and his talking rat friends and piper boy are pulling their last piper scam, except the current town already has a scam going on. The rat catchers of the town are stealing and selling food to the river trade and blaming it on the rats. Rats are hated, poison and traps everywhere, though there are no rats to be found.

The mayor's daughter, always in search of an adventurous tale, befriends the newcomers and joins with them to expose the scam and reorganize human-rat relations.

The story takes place in Discworld, with only a few references-place names, magic, mention of wizards, werewolves, vampires, etc. It has the bizarre wit expected of the series.

I enjoyed the philosophical conversations, mostly with the rats, and the second look at human interaction with animals. There are a few hilarious moments, as is typical of Pratchett. It is amazing what he can do with a few lines. One of the funniest is a reference to Discworld which is less meaningful if you haven't read more of the series (the coach robbery).

I found the book in the YA section of the library. I do not know if it was written for YA or if it was catalogued as such because of the 2 young characters.

related-rats, cats, musicians, swindlers, human-animal relationships, humorous stories, Discworld

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