My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Every once and a while an article or opinion piece comes along criticising children’s and young adult fiction as somehow lesser, (less worthy, less serious, less complex) than fiction written for adults. There are countless books that prove the opposite is true, and The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents stands out as one of the best.
This book won the Carnegie Medal, the UK’s most prestigious prize for children’s literature, in 2001 and is a wonderful novel that works on so many levels. It’s packed with fun, adventure, action, humour and races along at a great pace. It is also highly subversive, reflects on the nature of humans and our place in the world, and on some deep philosophical questions. It is a story that respects children as intelligent, discerning readers capable of understanding the good and evil that exists in the world, and everything in between. It pokes fun at stereotypes while revealing true depth of character (and sometimes lack of character) below the surface of fur or skin.
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents is, indeed, an amazing book. It’s part of the Discworld series but don’t worry if you haven’t read any other books in the series (I’ve only read a few , though I do plan to try to get to them all eventually). I read it quickly – within two days – totally drawn into its wonderful world. Highly recommended for readers of all ages.