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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)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  169,391 ratings  ·  3,868 reviews
Life has been hard for Mrs. Frisby ever since her husband died. When her youngest son becomes dangerously ill and needs to be moved in order to avoid the farmer's plough, she doesn't know what to do. A wise owl advises her to ask the rats for help, but Mrs. Frisby is hesitant--how could a rat help her?

Then she learns a surprising truth. Not only did the rats know her husba
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published 2006 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 1971)
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Mike Although the sequels were not written by O'Brien (they were written by his daughter), they are both very good. …moreAlthough the sequels were not written by O'Brien (they were written by his daughter), they are both very good. (less)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  169,391 ratings  ·  3,868 reviews

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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!
We live just three houses down from a farm, so we frequently have the pleasure of hearing a goat bleat or having a curious horse reach their head over the fence for a quick nuzzle. We also have the occasional misfortune of horse-flies in the summertime and the rare autumn visit of a mouse who makes it past the notice of our savage (and somehow still fabulous) cat.

When this happens, when a mouse runs past my foot while out in the yard, or, Heaven forbid, comes anywhere near the structure of our h
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-pre-12-07, own
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Rats of NIMH #1), Robert C. O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is a 1971 children's book by Robert C. O'Brien. the story was adapted for film in 1982 as The Secret of NIMH.

Mrs. Frisby is the head of a family of field mice. Her son Timothy is ill with pneumonia just as the farmer Mr. Fitzgibbon begins preparation for spring plowing in the garden where the Frisby family lives.

Normally she would move her family, but Timothy would not survive the cold trip to
Rats are the better humans maybe.

When I read this story aloud to students a few years ago, I remember thinking it is one of these crossover novels that speak to children and adults on different, but equally satisfying levels.

There is the human intrusion into the natural state of biology.

There is the inevitable fallout.

There is the fable.

There is the fantasy about community building.

There is the hardship and the there is the perseverance to deal with it.

There is good old adventure and storytelli
[Book #38 for my grad school Children's Lit class] ...more
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
“When you’ve lived in a cage, you can’t bear not to run, even if what you’re running towards is an illusion.”

I grew up watching Don Bluth's animation movie The Secret of NIMH, and I had no idea this was a book. Then I found this little second-hand book on Amazon and I knew I had to read it! This story is just so much fun. I love those children's books told from the perspective of animals, because it really forces you to change your point of view when approaching a story (those poor mice really
The Captain
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: younger-readers
Ahoy there me mateys!  Here I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin' it again . . .

In the last couple of days, I had to take a road journey and decided to listen to an audiobook on the way.  I wanted something I had previously read before and saw this one was available from the library.  The First Mate had never heard of it and I was appalled.  I adored the 1982 movie and the book when I was little but hadn't read or wat
Paul E. Morph
I approached this with the usual trepidation you get when going back to a childhood favourite after nearly four decades away... deep breath... but I needn’t have worried. This book is every bit as charming, moving and, let’s be honest, a teeny bit scary as I remembered. If you like an intelligently written children’s book that provides some food for thought, you could do a lot worse.

I can’t help but wonder if James Herbert read this before he wrote ‘The Rats’, though... brrr...
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much as a young teen, I read it over and over and over. This is probably the book that started me off on my lifelong love of fantasy, together with Watership Down.

I re-read this as part of my MacHalo Reading Challenge 2016, 4. Re-reading a childhood favourite.

The beginning was a little boring and the very traditional gender roles of the mice annoyed me a bit at first. But once Mrs. Frisby met the rats and they told her their story, the book picked up a lot. I had forgotten
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
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fivestars
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
I read this several times as a kid. I was most fascinated by the experiments at NIMH (a real government organization!) and would read just those chapters over and over. It’s an intelligent book and expects young readers to understand it. It is not condescending to the young audience.

At fifty years old, the book shows traditional gender roles that some may find offensive. Yet Mrs. Frisby, a housewife mouse with no special enhancements from NIMH of her own, shows amazing courage, strength, and com
Yigal Zur
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
brilliant saga of educated rats
BAM Endlessly Booked
How is it these rats can illuminate their entire underground nest with Christmas lights, but every year thousands of Americans cannot decorate their trees???
Francesca Calarco
If you are looking for a specific brand of children’s book that is simultaneously wholesome, while containing legitimate sci-fi horror elements, then look no further than Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

I’ll admit, I recently found myself re-watching Don Bluth’s film adaptation The Secret of NIMH, which peaked my curiosity to seek out the source material. While I first saw this film as an adult, I cannot say that this story evokes much childhood nostalgia for me as it does for the many others
Rachel Aranda
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, audiobooks
This is the Newberry Award winning book for 1973, and this was there main reason I wanted to read it. Normally it's a mixed bag with books that win this award for me, but this time I can say this book deserved the award. This is a really good book.

This is an interesting introduction to science-fiction for young readers. I mean rats and a few mice with special intellectual properties that want to build their own successful community... What's not to be interested in? The story has aged really wel
This one was just ok for me. I enjoy a story from an animal's perspective, so that part was cool. But the sci-fi aspect of this turned me off a bit. I love how the rats banded together to help the mice, and the backstory behind that (although that's the bit that brought in the sci-fi aspect).

I also alternated between reading and listening to this. Am I the only one who finds Barbara Caruso's narration prissy and annoying lol. Not sure, but I think when I go back to reread the first three Anne o
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a kid a long time ago. I was probably 10 or 11, but I don’t remember really. I also had only very vague memories of the book and 2 odd specific ones: that the mice had to move their house to the lee of the stone, and of the hysterical shrew. I also knew I had really loved it.

I’m really glad I decided to read this to my son and that they had it at the library.

It’s quite exciting as stories go and the rats’ story within a story was wonderful. It is so well written that it was a pl
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
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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 is my very own book order copy from back in Ye Olden Tymes, when I was a wee Jessie.

One of my favorite movies then, and still much loved, I also loved this book. My kids really loved it, too, and got super into it. But I have to say, this is one of those that did have improvements made for the movie. The character of Jeremy Crow, who is only briefly in the book, is much more fun in the movie. And the bulk of the book is Nicodemus describing NIMH, rather pedantically.

Also, the book ends wi
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was the best book about rats and mice I have ever read!!! It was fun and the story line was great. I kind of feel bad for them now.... (not that bad where I want to save them or have one as a pet) Great characters and a mommy mouse that loves her family so much she will put her life in jeopardy to save them. Feel good book full of imagination.
This one was delightful. The age difference between myself and the target audience was not at all an issue for enjoyment. It felt like the Secret of Nimh movie that I loved in my childhood, followed along with the main story. Mrs. Frisby makes me realize how many strong single mother figures I had in stories and entertainment as a child. I guess it helped shaped my high view of them in my life now as a single mother.

I loved getting more details about the time that Jonathan and the rats spent at
Jason Pettus
The Jason Pettus 2020 Autumn Reading Challenge (join us!)
#16: One of your favorite books as a child

I read some advice recently that said that to lessen the burnout and stress so many of us are feeling during the pandemic right now, it can be helpful to re-read a beloved book from childhood and wallow in the pleasant nostalgia the experience creates; and this is why I thought it'd be nice to add this task to my 2020 Autumn Reading Challenge, because I know there's a lot of other people suffering
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-america
When I was a college student, I remember that a local, independent theater (remember those?!) was screening “The Goonies”. As a child it was one of my favorite films. In addition to being able to quote it from memory I had Goonies figures, a board game, and other assorted paraphernalia associated with it. Visibly excited, I asked my girlfriend at the time to come with me to this seemingly seismic event. While she seemed somewhat less impressed than I was (might have been a cultural thing) she a ...more
Katja Labonté
5 stars & 5/10 hearts. I really enjoyed this story. It was not what I expected at all! I loved how the rats were presented as really nice, since they are usually presented as nasty, especially to mice. The Frisbys were all so sweet and real. I LOVED Justin, and Brutus… <33 And I could’t help liking Paul and his little brother. I loved how realistic the story was. And that bittersweet ending… oh my word. And the writing style is just so sweet and well done. Another lovely all-ages book & family r ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was always one of my favorite movies as a child, though I still love it now, and I was very excited to read the book. I wasn't disappointed. This book was thoroughly entertaining and extremely amusing. I loved it from the very beginning. Mrs. Frisby and her family were loving, resourceful, and easy to like. I loved reading about the rats and their adventures

This was a wonderful story about heroism and courage and it will worm it's way into your heart. The story is very well written and the
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood-reads
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
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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. His daughter is author Jane Leslie Conly.

For more complete information on this author, please see:

Other books in the series

Rats of NIMH (3 books)
  • Racso and the Rats of NIMH (Rats of NIMH, #2)
  • R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH (Rats of NIMH, #3)

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