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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Children's Lit.
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...
Published on April 6, 2001 by Oddsfish

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rats!
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...
Published on November 28, 2006


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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Children's Lit., April 6, 2001
By 
Oddsfish (United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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172 of 198 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to use to start teaching subtext, February 2, 2012
By 
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. "So a friend dies helping you and though you have abundant resources and it would not be inconvenient in the least, you do absolutely nothing?" Silence. "Let's look more closely at these rats..."

And we begin to read the book together and read how they respond, how they never offer to help anyone no matter how simple it would be or how important it would be for the other animal, how they hoard their resources and their knowledge, how their 'friendships' are based on how useful or beneficial the other animal is to them, how they see nothing wrong with any of that. How cold their feelings are towards others (at one point they watch mice, being blown away, trying desperately to grip smooth metal with their tiny nails, tumbling by to their deaths, "like leaves" and only one rat helps one mouse, a favor the mouse repays over and over and over again when in fact it was very little effort or danger for the rat to help him).

We begin to talk about their morality. Much is made by the rats that they don't want to live by stealing anymore. Rats are scavengers, not thieves. When these rats are first picked up, they were living off the refuse of the market, they are not thieves. It is not until after they have been genetically altered that they actually refuse to eat garbage and break into grocery stores and begin actually stealing. They do a lot of hand-wringing about how can they live without being thieves. The same way all the other animals on the farm do it: by foraging! But that is never an option to them. No, they must create their own farming community. But how... Oh, by STEALING everything they need to do it. And not once is it even considered that they could do much good around the farmer's house by repairing his equipment or otherwise blessing this family that they are so busy stealing from. What a different book it would be if the farmer were to be overheard saying to his wife, "I thought I would have to pay $2000 to get the tractor fixed, but I went out there this morning and it turned over and ran like it was brand new. I can't explain it. More than makes up for the $200 in seed that we lost last year." But they never, not once, offer to do anything for anyone whom they are stealing from, regardless of how much they are stealing or how easy it would be to do.

Their moral compass is also shown to be in a spiral when they come across a dead old man in a forest who has left a truck full of tools that are the perfect size for rats (he repaired toys). Who does the truck belong to? The heirs, says the leader. But we don't know who they are or how to get in touch with them, say the rats. Okay, then I guess it's ours if we want it, replies the leader. And they proceed to strip the truck. I then ask my 11 year old, "If you were to come across something that belonged to someone else, not a small thing that could be seen as lost or discarded but something big (like a vehicle full of equipment!) but you had no way to get in touch with who owned it, what would you do?" "Leave it alone." "Right. Would you assume that that gave you the right to take anything you wanted?" "No!" Right...

And the kids start to think, start to notice, start to reread sections. "Mom! Like here!" and "I never noticed this, but look!" And what they eventually start to see is that nowhere in the novel does the idea of helpful, inventive, heroic rats who aid a poor little mommy mouse even exist! The summary on the back of the book is a sham. The glowing reviews are shams. These rats are supremacists.

And the older the kids get the more they begin to realize that these are fascists. Only we matter, and we matter because we are the strongest, the most intellectually superior, and therefore all of our actions are justified. We are not responsible for weaker neighbors. If they can not survive, that is no concern of ours. We guard what is ours jealously. You are only welcome if you serve a purpose, and only as long as you serve that purpose. We owe you nothing. And you must take all the risk (that was a moment of revelation to one of my kids -- the rats used the mice to take all the risk!) before we will deign to even notice you. We will create a new society, one without any weakness, one without difference, one without you, only us.

Even at the end of the book, when the rats and the brave mouse mommy (she is that!) have been through the roughest of rough times together, do they invite her to join them? Let her family know where they are going? Say they'll come back and visit? No. They are off to build their utopia.

There is only one rat who shows some compassion, some genuine sense of friendship, and even he does some incredibly cold and calculated things.

So I give this book 5 stars and I challenge anyone to reread this after reading this and not see something new, something very quiet, but very loud. Ah, subtext...

We have to read books better. It is my job as a homeschooling mom to teach my kids how to do that. This is an absolutely wonderful book for that. Thank you, Robert O'Brien.

P.S. If you really want to see the truth of it, read the sequel, Racso and the Rats of NIMH written by his daughter. She completely ignores the original undertones and just goes with the surface stuff and writes her book as though these rats were always friendly and helpful and compassionate. The rats are almost unrecognizable...
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69 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars their struggle is our struggle : who knew?, October 14, 2001
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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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book for you, December 15, 2005
A Kid's Review
I read this book with my classroom and it was a very awesome book that I loved to read. We weren't aloud to read ahead and it was really hard not to. If you are reading this review you really could read this. This is a book for people who like adventure and suspense. This book deserves 5 stars because it is very interesting and you can't put it down! It has a lot suspense, adventure and is very interesting at all times! I never got bored or tiered of reading this book. If you are a teacher I recommend you read this with your class, I'm positive they will love the book like I do!!! I watched the movie "Secrets Of NIMH" when I was younger, it was a good movie but I don't remember all of it was quite a long time ago. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend this to everyone who is looking for a really good book! This book has got everything to intelligent rats to evil farm boys to toy tinkers! I can't wait to read the second and the third book! If you read this book I hope you will really enjoy it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, November 15, 2010
By 
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rats!, November 28, 2006
A Kid's Review
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, June 2, 2002
By 
Virgil Xu (Cerritos, CA USA) - See all my reviews
I chose this book because one of my friends said that this book is kind of boring in the beginning, but gets more exciting as you go on. I also saw this movie which I thought was pretty good so I told myself that if the movie is good I should try the book. In this book I learned a couple of new words that became very useful to me. When I read this book I understood every part of the book that I felt I was actually standing at the scene watching everything happen.
I recommend this book to anybody who likes adventurous and surprising stories. This story is about a mouse named Mrs. Frisby. Mrs. Frisby's husband died one day, but she never knew how and where he died. Mrs. Frisby has to move to their summer home, but her youngest boy Timothy is very ill. She quickly goes to the doctor Mr. Ages for help. She gets the medicine, but Mr. Ages told her that she should go to the rosebush where the rats lived. On the next day she goes to the rats. First they don't let her in, but when she said that she was Mrs. Frisby they respected her like she was a queen. Slowly she found out that the rats were highly intelligent lab rats that ran away. Mrs. Frisby made a deal with them that if they help move her house she would help them.
My favorite part of the story is when Mrs. Frisby enters the rat's home and see that they had light bulbs, electricity, elevators, and even a library and school. The rats told her that when they were at the lab the scientists inject fluids into them which made them more intelligent and bigger. Only group A of the rat and the mouse group survived. They became so smart that they could read the instructions on the handle bar to open their cages. Slowly they got the tools they needed to get out of the lab through the air vents. Only two mice followed the rats and their names were Mr. Frisby and Mr. Ages.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended if you like animals and adventure!!!, June 23, 2005
A Kid's Review
This is an amazing book of rats evolving into a more intelligent race with the help of scientists' studies and a once a day injection. They can read and write. And when a mouse named Mrs. Frisby, when needs help most, it comes from the most unexpected place!!!

Anyone one with some imagination (including some cool adults) can read this book and enjoy!!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT AND ADVENTURES BOOK TO READ! J.A.V, January 2, 2005
A Kid's Review
I read this book with my dad.The story in this book is about a tiny mouse named Mrs. Frisby that saved her family. One of her children is sick and they have to move realy fast because the tractor is comming to harvest in 5 days. She had a lot of adventures before she meets the rats.

One of Mrs. Frisby's adventures was that she went to visit the owl to get some advice to move her house to a safe place. With the owl's advice and the rats help she could move her house to the safe side of the rock. Mrs. Frisby saved her family.

I give four stars to this book because it didn't tell us how Nicodemus hurt his eye. The book is fun and adventures to read!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You are never too old for a good story., December 31, 1999
By 
I fell in love with this story in 1979...I was six. I recently reread this book and enjoyed it just as much. The characters are all live and three dimensional and this "children's book" has a depth that I find lacking in some of more recently published adult fiction. I gave my nephew my copy of this book and he loves it just as much as I do, and whenever we are together we read some it. A wonderful book and a must have for ANY library.
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Mrs. Frisby and the rats of Nimh
Mrs. Frisby and the rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien (Hardcover - January 1, 1974)
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