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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Rats of NIMH #1)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  121,808 ratings  ·  2,197 reviews
Some extraordinary rats come to the aid of a mouse family in this Newbery Medal Award-winning classic by notable children's author Robert C. O'Brien.

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with
Paperback, 233 pages
Published March 1st 1986 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1971)
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Flush by Carl HiaasenWatership Down by Richard AdamsHoot by Carl HiaasenMrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'BrienJulie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
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4th out of 111 books — 42 voters
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The dog dies...a cautionary list.
34th out of 150 books — 149 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wendy Darling
I am very fond of extraordinarily handsome rats. <3 Even better than I remembered, and now I have to read the sequel to find out what happened to everybody.

Reread for our monthly classics readalong--discussion on the blog this Friday!
This was one of my all-time favorite books when I was a kid; I must've read it eight times. So I was pleased to find that it holds up well, and I still found it very entertaining (although it seemed a shorter). I did notice some things that I don't think really registered when I was younger. For one, I was thinking as I read that Mrs. Frisby is a pretty unusual character for a children's book. She's an adult, which is not common to children's novels; usually the protagonist is the same age or a ...more

1. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH mostly takes its place in Mr.Fitzgibbon farm. Mrs. Frisby who is a widow has 4 children. One day, one of her brightest kid Timothy becomes sick. The plowing was soon starting, but Timothy couldn't move out of his bed. Even after eating the medicine Mr. Ages gave, Timothy had a big chance that pneumonia will recur. That is when Mrs. Frisby started to find ways they could move without getting Timothy sick again. She went to her neigh
This book captivated me from start to finish when I read it - for the first time - as an adult. It's such a beautiful story of courage and morality and heroism. It's hard to imagine anyone not being moved by "The Rats of Nimh" and its characters are well-developed and not easily forgotten. I thought about this book for days afterward, and I was sad when it ended.

There are really two stories going on at once; O'Brien cleverly brings the two together slowly by revealing their connection detail by
Stefan Yates
This is a book that I had fond memories of from originally reading it in the 4th grade. I was considering buying it as a gift for my niece, who's that age, so I thought that I should read it again myself first. Naturally, I was a bit concerned that my memory of the book would be let down by the passage of time. Thankfully, I was wrong.

This is a great story full of memorable characters and plenty of adventure that keeps the pages turning. Children and adults alike will enjoy this award-winning no
I suggested this book to my stepdaughter. She read a few pages and declared it to be boring. Oof, shot right to the heart. I loved this book when I was kid. LOVED. I reread it to try to figure out if there was something wrong with me, with her, or with this book.

Decision--nothing wrong with any of us. I read the first few pages and realized why this doesn't appeal to her. It's a bit of a slow start and, my apologies to kids these days, I don't think most kids these days have the same level of p
Ty Melgren
A lot like Watership Down but slightly less important and infinitely easier to finish. It's probably been ten years since the last time I read this which is weird to think about. If you live in Springfield, I'm starting a book club and this is the first book we're reading; come to the downtown library tomorrow evening if you wanna be in it. You don't have to have a copy or have started reading it yet.
Feb 27, 2015 Brenda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brenda by: Read-along with The Midnight Garden
The story had a slow beginning for me, but then it really picked up. Although the central theme was on Mrs. Frisby's struggle to relocate her home, there was also this larger backstory on how the rats of NIMH became so intelligent and their connection to Mrs. Frisby's family that I really got caught up in. I was a little disappointed though whenever Mrs. Frisby's story took to the backburner. Mrs. Frisby is such an admirable, brave character. She puts herself in harms way to save her children, j ...more
Davis Dunavin

Will I ever find a talking animal book to equal "Watership Down"? Doubtful. And that's okay.

But in my latest jaunts through the great kid lit of the 20th century, "Mrs. Frisby" is a standout. O'Brien sets up a talking-animal world with what seem at first some loose conventions, and while his young audience may not notice, the genre-savvy reader immediately notices something is up. Mrs. Frisby and her family can read? They can use medicine? Heck, they know what a postcard is? Then O'Bri
I forgot how much I love this book. I was a little nervous re-reading it because I hadn't read it since I was a kid and I was worried that it wouldn't hold up well, but I needn't have worried. The book is just as wonderful now as it was then.

One of the things I find very interesting now is the way that humans are portrayed. Not bad or good, but just very human. Going about their lives not really appreciating how they affect everything around them. But also not entirely clueless.

This book will al
Great book. I unfortunately watched the movie first which mostly ruined Robert C. O'Brien's story so don't waste your time with the movie. This is a wonderful book that I will one day move from my bookcase to my son's bookcase when he's old enough to read. Easy 5 star.
I think it was my second-grade teacher who read this to us in class, like a chapter a day, or something.
I was so into this book, I made my mom take me to the library where I checked it out so I could read ahead to find out what was coming. But I didn't want the entire thing spoiled, so I only read a chapter ahead.
In fifth grade, this was available through RIF and I remember seeing the copy on the folding table among all the many other free books. I snatched it up so fast, grabbing up from under
Kristi Lamont
Not sure how I managed to get to almost 50 without reading this classic children's book. In a way, though, I'm glad I did; I was able to appreciate its marvelousness on all levels as a result!
This may be my favorite book of all time.
Emily Beeson
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien

I picked this book up at a yard sale a while back, and it was promptly shelved. Hesitant to read it to my kids, there it sat. The hesitance stemmed from my memories of the rather creepy movie version I used to watch as a kid.

I was wrong to wait. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is a delightful story, full of mystery, adventure, science, and compassion. In short, we loved this Newbery Award winning classic.

Mrs. Frisby may be just a little mouse
Jul 23, 2012 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anybody
Recommended to Jason by: Me/Movie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Just read this book with my four-year-old son. It's hard to know what percentage he understood, but as long as he is still interested and asks me to read another chapter then I keep going and don't worry too much about comprehension since I figure it develops by reading and discussing. He was even more motivated to read it when we picked up the movie (The Secret of NIMH) from the library and I told him we could watch it after we finished reading the book.

I know I've read the book before, but I d
Papia aziz
I loved this book!!It's a fiction book and it's about rats! Mrs.Frisby a widow have four children and one day Timothy gets pneumonia. She goes to Mr.Ages which he gives frisby some medicine. But Mrs.Frisby heard that spring is coming and the humans will plow their house down. But timothy cant walk because he's sick. Mr.ages takes frisby to a owl and the owl tells mrs.Frisby to go to the rats. That's when she encounters with the intelligent rats. They live in a place that a human lives. The rats ...more
I was taken aback at how involved I became in the story of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. From page two, I accepted the short brisk writing style of O’Brien and went with these mice on their long and taxing journey. I thought Mrs. Frisby was, at first, a bit too simple of a character but as the story progressed you certainly find more depth. I found the illustrations to be gorgeously drawn and the climax of the novel perfectly executed. With the many childrens books I’ve read, this is definit ...more
V. Gingerich
Story begins nicely, goes into (fascinating) back story for most of the book, comes back to present and ends spectacularly. Love it in spite of it all. Students love it, too.

I remember the first time I read it, or rather, my teacher read it to me. He said, "You'll never, ever look at rats the same way again."

Susie Finkbeiner
My kids enjoyed this one. It's slow moving, so if kids are used to flashy, quick stories, they might be surprised by this one. Most of it is backstory and I would have loved for the NIMH part to be a different book because it really could have been fleshed out more. However, this was written at a time when this was common for kids books.

Sep 23, 2015 Cinged rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cinged by: Given to me by a boy in my 5th grade class
Shelves: favorites
In 5th grade a boy gave me this book for valentines (he didn't give anyone else a book, and I had never talked to him before, didn't even know his name!) and I ADORED this book until I lost it 15 years later. I always kept it either near me or in my car to read whenever I had time to kill, no matter how many times I've read it. I am very sorry that I lost it, and will have to purchase it again (though the sentimentality can't be replaced).

The story is about a widowed mouse of three or four chil
Wendy Bousfield
Feb 17, 2015 Wendy Bousfield rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Wendy by: Michele

This YA story of sentient animals is a gem! Mrs. Frisby, a field mouse, lives with her four children on the prosperous farm of Mr. Fitzgibbon. During the winter, the family lives in a cinderblock in a field. Just before the Fitzgibbons plow the field in preparation for spring planting, the mouse family moves to their summer home on a stream bank. A crisis arises the Frisbys’ cozy, predictable lives when Timothy, the youngest son, contracts pneumonia. Even though Mr. Ages, a white mouse doctor, p
I adore this book.
Towards the end of the school year, my fourth grade teacher started reading this book to the class after afternoon recess — one chapter each day. Then, just as the plot started to ramp up and get really interesting....the school year ended. We didn't finish the book. And, of course, by the time I got to the public library to check it out, one of my classmates must have beaten me to it.

And then 20 YEARS went by.

That is a really long time to not know how a book ends.

Perhaps it was my teacher's
Imagine if your friend told you a story about how she had gone to the store to buy medicine for her sick kid. But on her way she got delayed when she helped out a nice lady who was having car trouble. Then at store she realized she had forgotten her purse at home! And out of nowhere it turns out that that nice lady with car trouble had been Beyonce and she shows up and pays for the medicine! This book is a lot like that, except that in this case your friend is a mouse and Beyonce is an escaped l ...more
My 3rd graders simply adored this story, as did I. The characters are so interesting and relatable, and even though on its surface it's a children's book about rats, it deals with all sorts of significant and real themes - illness and death, prejudice, animal experimentation, the ethics of stealing to survive, and whether choosing a life of independence is worth the hardship, to name a few. I like that the author doesn't come right out and answer the tough questions or even imply that there is j ...more
I continue to take part of the Classic MG & YA challenge hosted by the ladies of The Midnight Garden and this month's book was for the first time since I joined, a re-read!

I read Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH when I was still in primary school and I think it was one of the first books I got from the public library as opposed to getting it from my school's library.

To be perfectly honest I didn't remember all that much about the book, to my shame, even if of course I knew I had read it and
I read this once as a child, but my primary memories involved the movie, which I had seen numerous times, and with which I have a strong attachment. Suffice it to say that while I continue to enjoy the movie as a piece of nostalgia from days gone by, I was pleasantly surprised by the book, which doesn't include the worst and most non-sensical parts of the movie (i.e. anything to do with magic or medallions). Instead, the book offers what to me reads like something of a parable, as one group of c ...more
I read this book when I was about six years old, having plucked it off the shelf at the school library because it had a mouse on the cover, and because I had wanted to challenge myself to read a really thick book (200-odd pages of course being like a fantasy epic to a six-year-old). I loved it even though it was a bit sad, and I was so proud of myself for having finished it that I boasted about it to everyone. I learned all sorts of new words, like "pneumonia", which I was only informed halfway ...more
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Favorite book of all time (before you were 10)? 4 10 Oct 05, 2015 10:22AM  
Parents Reading B...: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH 9 20 Jun 11, 2015 11:25AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien 6 24 Feb 06, 2015 07:37PM  
whos your favorite rat mine is justin 4 30 Aug 15, 2014 07:45AM  
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Robert Leslie Conly (better known by his pen name, Robert C. O'Brien) was an American author and journalist for National Geographic Magazine.

For more complete information on this author, please see:
More about Robert C. O'Brien...

Other Books in the Series

Rats of NIMH (3 books)
  • Racso and the Rats of NIMH
  • R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH
Z for Zachariah The Silver Crown A Report from Group 17 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh with Related Readings (Glencoe Literature Library) Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (A Puffin Book)

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