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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Hardcover – March 1, 1971


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Mrs Frisby & the Rats of NIMH (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 35 Anv edition (March 1, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689206518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689206511
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (450 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There's something very strange about the rats living under the rosebush at the Fitzgibbon farm. But Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with a sick child, is in dire straits and must turn to these exceptional creatures for assistance. Soon she finds herself flying on the back of a crow, slipping sleeping powder into a ferocious cat's dinner dish, and helping 108 brilliant, laboratory-enhanced rats escape to a utopian civilization of their own design, no longer to live "on the edge of somebody else's, like fleas on a dog's back."

This unusual novel, winner of the Newbery Medal (among a host of other accolades) snags the reader on page one and reels in steadily all the way through to the exhilarating conclusion. Robert O'Brien has created a small but complete world in which a mother's concern for her son overpowers her fear of all her natural enemies and allows her to make some extraordinary discoveries along the way. O'Brien's incredible tale, along with Zena Bernstein's appealing ink drawings, ensures that readers will never again look at alley rats and field mice in the same way. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

From the Publisher

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She 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. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service.END --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Robert C. O'Brien In real life, Robert C. O'Brien was Robert Leslie Conly. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, attended Williams College and graduated from the Universtiy of Rochester. While there he studied piano at Eastman School of Music, and at one time considered being a musician. Instead, he became an editor and writer for Newsweek magazine from 1941 to 1944, and for Pathfinder from 1946 to 1951. From 1951 until the time of his death in 1973 he was employed as a writer and editor by the National Geographic Magazine. He made his home in New York City before 1944 and in Washington, D.C. after that. He also had a home in Morgan County, West Virginia, after 1965, a place he loved and visited as often as he could. He was married and the father of one son and three daughters. His books include The Silver Crown, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, which won the Newbery Award, and A Report From Group 17. His last book, Z is for Zachariah was nearly completed at the time of his death; the last few chapters were written from notes by this wife and one of his daughters.

Customer Reviews

The story is well paced and the characters are unforgettable.
Shannon Deason
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is the story of a widowed field mouse named Mrs. Frisby, whose youngest son, Timothy, has fallen ill.
Justin Redmond
This is a children's book, but adults will enjoy giving it a read now and then.
Samuel Krikorian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Oddsfish VINE VOICE on April 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorites (if not my favorite). Stories just don't come better than this one, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH will be around for a long time.
The story is about Mrs. Frisby who is a mouse with four small children. One them gets sick and is unable to move even though their home is about to be plowed. Mrs. Frisby is a typical mother; she will do anything to protect her children. In this case, she appeals to the mysterious rats that live under the rose bush. There, she learns all about these mysterious rats in the most interesting and entertaining flashback in children's literature.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is one of the best books that I have ever read. I read it in a day (when I was eleven) the first time, and I have read it three times since. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH will always have a special place on my extensive bookshelf, and it should definately be read by people for years to come.
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200 of 231 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is an ideal book to use to introduce older elementary students to the more sophisticated notion of subtext. My 11-year-old said, "Mom, I want to read better books," like her older siblings were doing. I said, "First you have to learn to read books better." And I handed her this one. I've used this with my oldest four (we homeschool) and it really, really makes them rethink reading.

I want to say ahead of time that I completely disagree with all the other reviews I've read about why this is a great book. It is a truly fine book, but not, in my opinion, for the reasons so frequently listed. If you are looking for escapist animal adventure and fantasy, go elsewhere. If you want an intense study of supremacist thinking, this is your book.

I have my 11 year olds read the book and come back with a summary, we chat, and basically all my kids had the same reaction as most kids: good story, great read, action, adventure, brave mouse, inventive heroic rats, etc.

I then start to ask questions. "How long did it take for the rats to move Timothy's house?" 1/2 an hour. "Was it hard for them?" No. "Why was Timothy sick?" General sickliness and dampness in the old location. "Who was Timothy's father?" Jonathan, the NIMH mouse. "Friend of the rats?" Of course. "Then why didn't they take care of Jonathan's family after he died?" Silence. "Let's retrack... How did Jonathan die?" Helping the rats. "Did they make sure at least that his widow and children had a warm, secure place to live?" No. "Did they check in on her from time to time?" No. "Did they make sure she had enough to feed her children?" No. "Did they take on the education of her children knowing she was unable to?" No. "Did they ever offer anything at any time?" No.
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71 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on October 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
One of the great delights of returning, in adulthood, to the literature that enchanted us in childhood is
the discovery of the great themes and subtexts to which we were oblivious then but which are so
obvious now. Mrs. Frisby is a perfect illustration of this phenomenon. When you are young you are
captivated by the animal adventure tale and your easy identification with the lowly mice.
But read it now and you realize the Biblical antecedents of the story, how the rats of NIMH, like Man,
are given the gift of knowledge by their creators and how this awakens in them a sense of morality.
We recall that the rats have determined to go off and live on their own, but it's all too easy to forget,
or never to notice, that the reason for their decision is that they are determined not to live by stealing.
Seeing clearly this additional component, that the rats have become moral creatures, makes their
struggle even more heroic and adds a depth to the story that makes it easy to see why this novel has
endured and struck a chord with readers, young and old, for some thirty years now. It is an altogether
deserving classic.
GRADE : A+
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I would recommend this book to mystery readers. You must have the skill to put things together for you to truly understand the book. I think the best part of the book is the flow and subtly of the chapters. The story never goes off-topic and every big word had meaning. Another prominent feature of this book is its way of describing its characters. From the most important character to some of the least, each character is given a good description so you know exactly what the character is like. I would recommend this book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, mainly to mystery readers, as I believe they would enjoy the book the most.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Marcella on November 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
One day, while browsing in the children's section of my local book store, I came across Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I was a huge fan of the movie The Secret of NIMH as a kid. This was one of those movies that I watched over and over again, driving my parents crazy. I bought this book hoping that my children would love the story as much as I did.
The verdict: We all loved this book. This was my first time reading it as well. I loved the story. Robert O'Brien wrote a fantastic story full of drama. The story line is very intriguing. He takes you on a journey through the eyes of Mrs. Frisby and Nicodemus. Mrs. Frisby's drive to save her son would warm anybody's heart. The story if full of strange and wonderful characters that are very lovable and endearing. We each had our favorite characters that we were cheering for the entire story. My kids also loved the pictures in the book. There weren't a lot but every chapter had at least one scene sketch. I had many hours of enjoyment reading this book to my kids. They enjoyed it as well. So from the adult and from the kids point of view this is definitely a winner.
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