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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

  1. 5 out of 5

    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!

  2. 4 out of 5

    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 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 their summer home. Mrs. Frisby obtains medicine from her friend Mr. Ages, an older white mouse. On the return journey, she saves the life of Jeremy, a young crow, from Dragon, the farmer's cat– the same cat who killed her husband, Jonathan. Jeremy suggests she seek help in moving Timothy from an owl who dwells in the forest. Jeremy flies Mrs. Frisby to the owl's tree, but the owl says he cannot help, until he finds out that she is the widow of Jonathan Frisby. He suggests that Mrs. Frisby seek help from the rats who live in a rosebush near her. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و نهم ماه اکتبر سال 2017میلادی عنوان: خانم فریزبی و موش‌های صحرایی؛ نویسنده: رابرت سی اوبراین؛ تصویرگر زنا برن اشتاین؛ مترجم: نگار شاطریان؛ تهران: انتشارات دنیای اقتصاد، کتابهای دارکوب‏‫، 1395؛ در 255ص؛ مصور، شابک 9786008004639؛ موضوع داستانهای نوجوانان از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م‬‬ عنوان: خانم فریزبی؛ نویسنده رابرت سی. اوبراین ؛ مترجم: پرستو پورگیلانی ؛ ویراستار: فرزین سوری؛ تهران پیدایش، ‏‫1398؛ در 328ص؛ شابک 9786222440176؛‬ زمستان به سر آمده، و روز شخمزنی مزرعه نزدیک است؛ «خانم فریزبی» و چهار بچه موشش، که خانه شان در همان مزرعه است، چاره ای ندارند جز اینکه، همانند هر سال، از مزرعه اسباب کشی کنند؛ چون یکی از همین روزها، سر و کله ی تراکتور صاحب مزرعه، پیدا میشود، و غرش کنان چنگک تیزش را، درون خاک میکشد، و گام به گام مزرعه را زیر و رو میکند؛ در آن روز هیچ حیوانی نمیتواند، از مزرعه جان سالم به در ببرد، و تمام خانه ها، و لانه های زمستانی، ویران میشوند؛ اما امسال مشکلی وجود دارد: پسر کوچک «خانم فریزبی» بیمار است؛ اگر در آن هوای سرد، اسباب کشی کنند، بدون شک او خواهد مرد، و اگر اسباب کشی نکنند، همگی جان خود را از دست میدهند؛ روز شخم زنی هر لحظه نزدیکتر میشود؛ تا اینکه «خانم فریزبی» با «موشهای صحرایی» آشنا میشود؛ موجوداتی مرموز، از نژادی خارق العاده، و با هوش بسیار بالا، و آنها راه حل بسیار خوبی برای مشکل او پیدا میکنند...؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 12/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    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 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 couple years older than the intended audience. And she definitely thinks like an adult; she notices things like how young Justin seems, worries about taking care of her family, misses her husband. It's kind of cool. The other thing I noticed was just how few female characters there are in the book. There's Mrs. Frisby and her daughters, Auntie Shrew, Isabella (a young rat Mrs. Frisby meets in the library), and that's really about it. Justin and Nicodemus make reference to "the wives," who are certainly shown as capable and industrious, but don't really have a part to play in the book. This lack is somewhat counterbalanced by what a brave and strong character Mrs. Frisby is -- but it DID annoy me that she didn't even get a first name. "Mrs. Jonathan Frisby," indeed. It's not enough to make me give the book a lower score, but I found it a little irksome. I don't think it really mattered to me too much as a kid, though; mostly I think I had a huge crush on Justin. :)

  4. 4 out of 5

    ¸¸.•*¨*•♫ 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 “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 live every single day of their life avoiding to get killed! No wonder they get heart failure poor little creatures). As I said, this book was a lot of fun bur honestly, I like the movie more. It might be because of Don Bluth's genius; but I also didn't like the illustrations in the book (all mice and rats look exactly the same) and I didn't think the author did such a great job imagining how a rat would think and act in this particular situation. I don't think I will go on with the series, but I still love this story because of childhood memories, so I can't help but rating this book so high. I have a soft heart ahah!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    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 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 storytelling. What else can one ask of a children's book? It also has RATS!

  6. 4 out of 5

    The Captain

    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 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 watched it in over a decade or more.  I got excited to revisit it. Absolutely no disappointment here!  For those who don't know the story, Mrs. Frisby is a field mouse with four children.  Her son Timothy gets pneumonia and cannot be moved from their winter home.  The problem is that the farmer is about to plow the fields.  If Mrs. Frisby doesn't find a solution about what to do for Timothy then he will die. When I was little I was mostly fascinated by the rats of NIMH and how they came to be.  While I still enjoyed that section, this time I was much more focused in Mrs. Frisby's journey and her kindness and determination.  She is just a regular mouse but her love is her strength and I was surprisingly very moved by her adventures.  It was also nice to revisit old friends like Justin and Jeremy.  I did think it was interesting that even in the world of rodents that the males held all the power and made all the decisions.  I didn't notice that as a child.  So it be even more extraordinary that a older widowed mother mouse is the hero.  I was more inclined to think the rats saved the day when I was little.  Now I know where the true strength lies. I very much enjoyed the audiobook and thought Barbara Caruso did an excellent job with this one.  After listening to this I very much want to rewatch the movie.  I will wait until the First Mate and I are back together and order him to watch it with me.  Arrrr! Side note: Goodreads listed this as a series and I was confused.  Turns out the author's daughter wrote two additional books in the series.  No offense but I like this book as a standalone!

  7. 5 out of 5

    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...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    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 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 a lot of the storyline. Some parts were pretty exciting, others emotional. There was drama, angst, a good plot, suspense... A nice rollercoaster. In the end I liked the story so much that I wouldn't mind reading a sequel, to find out how the story continues for our heroes.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    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 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 detail through an absorbing flashback. The entire book's tone is one of being invited into a secret that only you, the reader, are accepted into. The science aspect is interesting and makes the animal characters even more realistic and memorable. I've read reviews about what the author's intention was, pointing to the various themes - from science playing with nature to self-determination to morality - present in the story. This ambiguity make "The Rats of Nimh" all the more interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    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 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 my taller classmates, swiping like Swiper has never swiped. It was the movie edition which means it was the same story but with pictures from the Don Bluth film adaptation in middle. I adored that movie ("A sparkly!"), my family and I had seen it at the Drive-In and have been quoting it ever since. I loved this book as it was read and as I read ahead. I loved it when I got it from the RIF table. I loved it every time I read it. It's deeper and more nuanced than the animated film, of course. Scarier, too. It's a wonderful story with some science, some mystery, and a lot of bravery.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    brilliant saga of educated rats

  12. 5 out of 5

    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???

  13. 4 out of 5

    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 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 who grew up with the brave, widowed Mrs. Frisby and the ingenious, yet secretive rats. Unraveling as a story within a story, there are a lot of really interesting characters presented who each provide missing pieces for the “secret” storyline, and/or serve to better contextualize the greater world of sentient animals living on the farm. My only critique would be that given the large cast of rodents (and birds) in such a small book, I was given just enough plot cheese to nibble on without ever really feeling full on complete character development. My nitpicking (of a children’s book) aside, I’m sure the intended audience would still very much enjoy a tale like this. The entirety of my own childhood was filled with talking animals, and this is a truly unique story that any kid (or adult) with such proclivities could appreciate. Long live rat civilization.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    WARNING!!! CONTAINS SPOILERS: 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 WARNING!!! CONTAINS SPOILERS: 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 neighbors, but couldn't find any solutions that could even help a bit. One day, the crow she saved few days ago suggested her to go see the owl. There, she found a solution to go see the rats. The rats were very pleased to help her because of her relationship between Mr. Frisby. The rats moved Mrs. Frisby's entire house for her family to be safe and warm. Soon, winter went by, alarming the buds to wake up. Timothy eventually got well, and they lived happily ever after. 2. The main conflict in the book is when Mrs. Frisby's family is in danger from the plowing day. Normally, her family would have moved to a different house up in the mountains to survive from the plowing. However, because of Timothy's sickness, they couldn't take a chance of moving. If Mrs. Frisby hadn't found any solutions, they would have died from the tractor. However, after Mrs. Frisby's hard work, the rats decided to help her solve the problem. Eventually, the problem was solved, leaving Mrs. Frisby's family safe and happy. 3. I personally loved this book because it was very sweet. It wasn't scary or violent, but warm and caring. How Mrs. Frisby tried to save her children gave me an another thought of rats, who really cared of each other just like humans. Even though we ignore and sometimes hate rats, I learned that we should still respect them, because they are part of our planet.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    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 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 of Green Gables series, I will be sure to choose other narrations. There is just something about her voice that makes me feel like I'm on the floor in kindergarten class at story time. Just bugs me. Which didn't improve my rating for this one. Anyway I'm glad I read it. I thought for sure I'd read it as a kid, but nothing in this rang any bells, so maybe I never did.

  16. 4 out of 5

    DivaDiane

    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 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 pleasure to read aloud. I would almost give it a 5, so 4.5* My son is now asleep, so I’ll add what his favorite bits were tomorrow.

  17. 4 out of 5

    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 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 novel and it is written in such a way that it really doesn't seem that juvenile. Overall, a great story with a lot of heart. I'd recommend it to just about anyone.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Aranda

    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 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 well because there isn't anything to date it, like mentioning popular fashion choices of the time, so really anyone can read it. I only have 3 small complaints. The first complaint is that the pacing of the story can be a bit slow. Still that could be due to the fact books were written at a slower pace in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The second complaint is that I'm not super happy that we don't know what happened to Justin the Rat either. I like the idea of him and Mrs. Frisby getting to know each other better. Lastly, what happened to Jenner!? Were 6 or 7 rats killed? Is he alive or dead? There are so many unanswered questions that we'll never know because Mr. O'Brien died before he could write a sequel. His daughter did continue the series but as her own writings, which I'm not counting as a true continuation since Mr. O'Brien didn't have any say for those books. Back to this book... In my opinion, it might be better to read this book by oneself instead of in a group. As this book is a pretty easy read to breeze through. Personally I listened to the audiobook with my fiance for our reading dates. The narrator was quite nice to listen to and seemed to match the story well. However you choose to read this story you'll be happy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    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 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 with the reader knowing that two of the rats died, but not which two. The only thing we can say for sure is that Brutus is all right, though he has to leave for their new home in Thorn Valley on his own. Did Justin die? TELL ME!

  20. 4 out of 5

    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 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 from catastrophic burnout these days besides just me. And what do you know, it worked! One of my three all-time favorite books as a kid (the others being Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and E.L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler), this 1971 novel by longtime National Geographic contributor Robert Conly (writing here under the pen-name Robert C. O'Brien) is remarkable precisely for how naturalistic he portrays the talking animals in his tale -- other than their ability to speak English, the various mice, cats, crows, owls and other creatures found around this New England farm community behave exactly in the way that children might observe their real-life counterparts in the real-life wild, lending his universe a verisimilitude that makes it easier to get sucked into the story than if they were all wearing tiny little human outfits and driving tiny little human vehicles (despite lazy illustrators for later editions depicting exactly that). That makes it all the more jarring, then, when we discover that there's a group of rats on the edge of the farm that can do exactly that, manipulate human machinery and read and write themselves; and that sets us upon the flashback-told adventure that takes up half the book's page count, involving secret experiments at the nearby National Institute of Mental Health that turned out wildly more successful than they had even guessed (inspired, I just learned today, by actual intelligence experiments conducted by John Calhoun at the real-life NIMH from the 1940s through '60s), leading to super-intelligent rats who manage to escape the facility before their human overlords have even guessed that the rats are smart enough to do so. This is then intercut with a contemporary, more mundane, but still thrilling adventure on the farm itself, as our plaintive widowed titular mouse hero discovers that one of her children is too sick to make their semi-annual pilgrimage from their winter home in the farmer's garden to their summer home in the nearby creek, threatening to kill the family when the farmer decides to do his spring plowing in another five days, and must approach the secretive and intimidating rat colony for help. The whole thing just really set my imagination on fire when I was a little kid, whether that's the brilliant reveal back at the lab that the rats can now not only read the "TREE" flashcard the scientists have made for them, but now the tiny fine-print parking lot sign in the background of the tree photograph; or the exquisitely logical way that O'Brien establishes the circumstances by which these super-intelligent rats manage to obtain rat-sized tools and rat-sized motors and undetected access to electricity in the first place; or the way he ends the story on an ambiguous, open-ended note, encouraging his child readers to write their own further adventures in their heads for our crafty rats and their unknown future fate. (Wow, what I wouldn't have given as a kid to visit the secluded, mountain-surrounded eden where the rats were heading at the end of the book, where it's intimidated that they had the ability to possibly create an eventual entire town for a thousand creatures, complete with industrial agriculture and a hydroelectric dam.) It does everything a children's book is supposed to in a perfect world -- entertain, inspire, instruct, promote creativity and intelligence, build an expansive mythos -- and reading it at the age of 51 was exactly the kind of transformative journey away from the pandemic and back into my childhood that I was precisely hoping it would be. In this spirit, I encourage you to re-read your own favorite childhood tale soon; and if you've never read this one, I strongly recommend that you do so for the first time, even if you're a cynical little burned-out middle-ager like myself.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    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 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 patience that we used to. I could definitely see why this book appealed to me back in the day, and it's the same thing that appeals to me now--Mrs. Frisby and all of the main characters (Mr. Ages, Nicodemus, Justin, etc.) are all so darn practical. And smart. And do what's best. They're so GOOD. And I always loved the crazy rat experiments that made them super smart and never aging (they even tricked the scientist!). I also always loved that this crazy adventure was happening essentially in some person's backyard to a bunch of little animals. Spring season plowing kicks off everything, a story that includes poisoning (multiple times), death (by cat, electrocution, and...poisoning), questions of ethics (should the rats keep stealing from the farmer as rats do...or should they begin to farm in their own wonderful utopian society they create in some fabulously beautiful valley?), and I already talked about the rat experiments. This book has it all, even a cliffhanger that makes me want to run out and find the sequel, which strangely enough, I can't remember reading as a kid. I hope it doesn't disappoint.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kusaimamekirai

    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 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 acquiesced, perhaps out of a morbid curiosity, to my mania and off we went. What I saw at the theater however, bore no resemblance to my memory of it. It would seem that the 20 years between viewings had allowed some romanticizing of the film to build up in my brain when the reality was, it just wasn’t that good. As my girlfriend so aptly put it “Was that it?”. I lead you on this diversion into my youthful disappointment because “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh” was for me, the book equivalent of “The Goonies” as a child. It was one of a handful of books I read cover to cover countless times, entranced by these rats living underground and outwitting the stupid humans. Unlike “The Goonies” however, “Nimh” seems to have only gotten better with age. The adventure is still there for sure, but beneath that there are some fascinating themes about humanity, how we perceive “lesser” creatures, and community. It’s a wonderful read for children of all ages. Even big ones like me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessa

    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 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 characters are those with depth and are extremely memorable. This story is an adventure that you won't be able to leave and you'll be sad when the story ends. This book is easily one of my favorites and I'm glad I read it! I gave this book 5 magical stars!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elika

    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 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 always hold a special place in my heart.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Baker

    3.5 stars

  27. 5 out of 5

    Trit

    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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    Way better than expected.

  29. 4 out of 5

    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 ‘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 something I find really endearing and eye opening to see the world of humans through the perspective of a weak and frightened animal. This is where I feel this book absolutely succeeded. Much as I found with Watership Down, Rats of NIMH really made me think about how humans treat animals; how we effect their lives in so many ways, how little we show consideration, for example caging wild animals for our own enjoyment. This book however never portrays humans as a vile evil enemy. It merely shows the necessity of both humans and animals need for survival, and how these can conflict each other. I really enjoyed that aspect, as it made this book appealing for both adults and children. I also enjoyed the cat as the main villain, which was quite amusing to see! 🐀 I’ve watched the movie adaptation of this book - The Secrets of NIMH and I think they’re both fantastic, although I wish a few bits that were in the movie could have featured in the book too, I really wanted rats with swords! Overall if you’re looking for a fun adventurous but also slightly philosophical children’s read, this is definitely one to pick up.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Thrasher

    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 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: the illustrations, which I vividly remembered, lack some connection to the world of the story that I didn't really notice as a kid (and I feel guilty about even bringing up as an adult, it makes me feel like a troll). Also, I think (I hope) that if this were written today, that one of the rats would be a smart, kick ass girl engineer rat; in 1971, however, women's lib was just making waves, and the book is a product of its time (yes, I realize that Mrs. Frisby, the main character, is a brave, strong and true female character, but this book could definitely not pass the Bechdel test). A quibble and a critique aside, it's still an amazing book, well worth the read, and justifiably still in print after all these years; I kept wondering to myself at O'Brien's genius at coming up with this crazy smart (and believable!) plot.

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