Friday, January 8, 2010

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. Obrien

Winner of the 1972 Newbery Medal, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, from the author of Z for Zachariah and The Silver Crown, is a thoroughly imagined tale of mice, medication, and one of the toughest moms in all of kids' lit. Mrs. Frisby is a widow, with four small children, one of whom is gravely ill. In order to keep her son Timothy alive, she must contract the help of the rats of NIMH, former lab rats who, after being subjected to steroids, tests, captivity and other such calamities, escape into the countryside. It is not long before it is revealed that Mr. Frisby was the only suriviving mouse for said experiments. Mrs. Frisby, who is not gifted as the rats are or her husband was, braves owls, cats and rat poison in the name of familial love. What I found most striking about this book was the complexity of the rats' world. Though talking rats and mice and crows and shrews do not exist, the world they inhabit in this novel comes across as completely reasonable, and the tests the rats describe have a surprisingly element of realism. Perfectly suited for reading aloud with the whole family, (with a few slyly funny moments, to boot) this book was a pleasure to reread. It was also made into an awesome movie in 1982, entitled The Secret of Nimh.


  1. Maggie -- I recently reread 'Mrs. Frisby' and I totally agree. I couldn't put it down! It's just a fantastically written; fast-paced; smart; really, really good read. Have you read either of his other ones? I'm avoiding the sequels to 'Mrs. Frisby' since he didn't write them. (Maybe that's being too cautious?) Say hi to Bob for me -- we used to work together at Kepler's. Warmly, Molly McCall

  2. YeS! there is another awesome book by him called THE SILVER CROWN which I wrote about last year. It's a dark adventure story. And of course, I will tell Bob you say hellos.