Book Cover
Title Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH / The Secret of NIMH
Series The Rats of NIMH
Author Robert C. O'Brien
Cover Art MGM / United Artists
Publisher Scholastic - 1982
First Printing 1971
Category Children
Warnings None


Main Characters


Mrs. Frisby, Timothy, Nicodemus, Mr. Ages, Justin, Jeremy, Brutus, Jenner

Main Elements Anthropomorphic




Ever since last summer, Mrs. Frisby has been worried about Timothy, her younger son. Timothy has had pneumonia - he almost died - and now he's too frail and weak to be moved. But if the Frisbys don't move immediately, they'll all be killed!

Mrs. Frisby is frantic. Then she hears about the wonderful Rats of NIMH - rats who are strong, smart, able to do almost anything. They've escaped from the lab at NIMH. They can save the Frisbys. But will they?




The movie was one of my top 5 favorite childhood movies. It was spooky and strange, yet magical and exciting. The owl was creepy, and Nicodemus like some sort of Merlin. For those of you who have seen the movie will be familiar with the book but will notice some big discrepancies. Personally, I think the book makes more sense.

The story and the characters are just wonderful. You grow very fond of them, and even though you never get to meet Jonathan, Mrs. Frisby's husband, you end up liking him as well. Discovering the history of Jonathan and the Rats is a major part of the story, and is most interesting than even the story itself. The mystery of how the rats became what they became, and how Mrs. Frisby will be able to convince them to help her save her children. While researching this review I discovered that O'Brien's daughter wrote two sequels, completing a trilogy. I'm tempted to track them down as I'd like to know what happens to the rats after they leave the farmer's rosebush.

This book has won a couple awards and other accolades and for good reason. If you were a fan of the movie as a child I suggest reading the book even as an adult. And if you are lucky enough to still be a child yourself, I think you're really going to like it whether or not you've seen the movie!




Posted: September 2011

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