Book #20: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

I’ll admit that my only knowledge of this book was based on the Disney movie, The Secret of NIMH, and I hardly remember anything from that.  Only that it was like a horror movie done Disney-style.  Out of curiosity, I checked the description of reviews of the movie on www.commonsensemedia.org, and though it follows the same plot, it’s not the same as what I read aloud to my 11-year-old and 8-year-old.  The one I read was suspenseful, mysterious and heroic, not scary, violent and filled with torture scenes.  Skip the movie.

But the book? So, so good.  The heroine of the story is Mrs. Frisby, widow of Jonathan Frisby, friend and ally to the super intelligent rats who live under a rosebush on the farm.  There is the constant threat of predators, but now the problem is that moving to their summer home near the creek, and away from tilled ground at the farm, is impossible.  Mrs. Frisby’s youngest son, Timmy, is still recovering from pneumonia and can’t be moved, especially to a damp spot like the summer home.  Without the option of moving, Mrs. Frisby looks for help to solve the problem.  The help comes from the rats, a creepy owl, a raven, and another mouse, Mr. Ages.

How the mystery of the rats is revealed in the book is so carefully and beautifully done.  Never is the acronym for NIMH explained, and I liked that it wasn’t.  Why would the rats know it?  The action was unceasing and not too intense for my kids.  After reading the movie description, I can’t imagine watching that instead of reading the book and coming away with the same wonderful experience.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars all the way, man.



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