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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

(Rats of NIMH #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  164,332 ratings  ·  3,612 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 dilemm ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Aladdin Paperbacks (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.
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 ·  164,332 ratings  ·  3,612 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!
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
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, read-pre-12-07
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
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪SomeBunny Reads (Phoenix)•*¨*•♫♪
“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
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
The Captain
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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...
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
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
Yigal Zur
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
brilliant saga of educated rats
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???
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
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 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
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
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
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
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.
Jenny Baker
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
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.
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.
Sanjay Gautam
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Way better than expected.
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
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up for a Middle Grade March book that has been made into a movie. I wasn't sure whether or not a middle grade book written in 1971 would hold up so I didn't go into this book with a lot of enthusiasm but in the end I was pleasantly surprised.

A story in which all of the main characters are animals did something to pull on my heartstrings in a way that human characters wouldn't. I loved how all of the characters in this book worked together to help each other without expecting
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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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You’d think that with, well, everything this year has had in store for us, readers would flock to sweet stories with happy endings. But as...
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“When you’ve lived in a cage, you can’t bear not to run, even if what you’re running towards is an illusion.” 25 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.” 12 likes
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