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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

(Rats of NIMH #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  155,604 ratings  ·  3,204 reviews

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilem
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1971)
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Popular Answered Questions
Tim Cummings Yes. Two sequels, both written by the author's daughter:
- Rasco and the Rats of NIMH
- R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  155,604 ratings  ·  3,204 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!
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Cathy (cathepsut)
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
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
BAM The Bibliomaniac
How is it these rats can illuminate their entire underground nest with Christmas lights, but every year thousands of Americans cannot decorate their trees???
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
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ema by: Io Nuca
„Doamna Frisby și șobolanii de la institut” mi s-a părut o carte tare faină, care trece cu brio testul unui cititor adult: e inteligentă și plină de imaginație, foarte bine scrisă, cu un suspans bine dozat și o încărcătură emoțională puternică. Am citit-o cu mare plăcere (uneori, chiar cu sufletul la gură) și mă gândesc și acum la unele lucruri pe care le-am aflat de aici.

Robert O'Brien ne introduce într-o lume a rozătoarelor, și o face atât de veridic și cu atâta îndemânare, încât te trezești c
Rachel Aranda
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, owned
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
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 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I liked the way the rats were intelligent and i also like the part were brutus is guarding the gate. i also saw the movie.
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
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a real childhood favorite of mine!

Mrs Frisby is a small mouse who lost her husband recently.
Trying to be a single mom living on a farmer's corn field is hard enough, but when her son Timothy gets pneumonia right before winter, she needs help - quickly.

A big group of seclusive rats living under a rosebush is her only hope as they know things no normal rat would know. And since her late husband was friends with them, it seems reasonable to ask them for help.

However, the rats' secret is as
Ty Melgren
Sep 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nils | nilsreviewsit
‘When you’ve lived in a cage, you can’t bear not to run, even if what you’re running to is an illusion.’
Isn’t that quote just beautiful? What a fun, sweet and informative little book Mrs Frisby and The Rats of NIMH was. Robert C. O’Brien, creates such a lovely tale about Mrs Frisby’s family being in dire danger from Farmer Fitzgibbon’s plough and how she has to enlist a group of rats to help her solve her dilemma. These were no ordinary rats though, as they held an incredible secret.
There is s
Shawn Thrasher
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books as a kid; it was a nice feeling to have it stay golden when reading it as a adult. It goes to show you that a well written book with strong characters and an intriguing plot is good no matter who the "intended audience" is. The story is still as exciting and intriguing as it was back then; between this and Watership Down (and others, so many others), an imaginative child could see secret societies of animals everywhere. I had two disappointments as an adult. One is small ...more
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tiffany PSquared
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For the life of me, I cannot remember how this book came to be on my bookshelf years and years... and years ago. It just seems like it was always there, enticing me to pick it up and read it.
But who would ever want to read a book about some rats?
Apparently, lots of people - including me... eventually.
After watching the book grow dusty on the shelf for several summers, I finally picked it up and gave it a try. What had I been waiting for? It became my favorite book and I read it at least 4 more t
Amy T.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh starts out feeling like a simple sweet woodland animal tale, similar to Peter Rabbit, but with mice instead of bunnies. However, it turned out to be so much more! Action, plot twists, a dead husband’s mysterious past, mutant rodents with electricity underground: all this in addition to the sweet Beatrix Potter-style gentle mother love. A fun read that kept both my nine and eleven-year-old’s rapt attention.
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it

"Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma." (From Amazon)

Loved the movie version as a kid and then read it in school and liked the book.
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody
Recommended to Jason by: Me/Movie
Shelves: child-lit, 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pam Baddeley
At the time of writing, about a month after finishing this children's novel, I suddenly realised I have forgotten to record it on Goodreads so my memories of it are already somewhat faded.

My recollections are that there are some interesting characters, especially the owl and a few of the rats, and that the story was quite entertaining. It begins when Mrs Frisby, a widowed mouse, has to find help because her young son Timothy is ill and she is warned by another mouse, who dispenses medicine, that
Chris Gager
Something light is in order according to the reading mood I'm in right now. NO GRIM STUFF! For some reason there's a version of this listing Seymour Reit as the author. I changed that, assuming it was a boo-boo.

This is my second mouse-focused fantasy book. The first was "Redwall" "Stuart Little" is not about a mouse, though most people seem to think it is. As I recall it, the description given of Stuart is "a little boy who looked a lot like a mouse."

This is the kind of book I need to be reading
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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
  • R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH
“When you’ve lived in a cage, you can’t bear not to run, even if what you’re running towards is an illusion.” 20 likes
“I have lived in this tree, in this same hollow," the owl said, "for more years than anyone can remember. But now, when the wind blows hard in winter and rocks the forest, I sit here in the dark, and from deep down in the bole, near the roots, I hear a new sound. It is the sound of strands of wood creaking in the cold and snapping one by one. The limbs are falling; the tree is old, and it is dying. Yet I cannot bring myself, after so many years, to leave, to find a new home and move into it, perhaps to fight for it. I, too, have grown old. One of these days, one of these years, the tree will fall, and when it does, if I am still alive, I will fall with it.” 8 likes
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