Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH



A compelling mix of fantasy and science fiction.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know


Includes an account of the capture of the rats for use as experimental subjects. Mrs. Frisby narrowly avoids capture by a cat and is caught by a boy. The rats find the body of an old man.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Robert O'Brien's superior writing makes this alternately humorous and rousing adventure entertaining and believable, and the black-and-white illustrations enhance the story.

What's the story?

Rats who can read? In this lively tale, a widowed field mouse discovers that the reclusive colony of fellow rodents who live below the rosebush are no ordinary animals. When her family is imperiled by the farmer's tractor, she is advised to "go to the rats." A compelling mix of fantasy and science fiction keeps the pages turning.

Is it any good?


Robert O'Brien has a knack for captivating his audience by creating humanlike personalities. Adults who read MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH aloud will marvel along with their children at the adventures of the book's characters, and the realistic sketches will help younger children follow the plot.

Underlying the book's humor and fantastic elements are a set of values that children won't soon forget. The new breed of rats decide it is wrong to steal food, so they grow their own grain, and they are mostly loyal, honest, and willing to make sacrifices to reach their goals -- values that make this an outstanding book for children. And when they discover that Mrs. Frisby is the widow of Jonathan, a fellow laboratory animal who was pivotal in effecting their escape, they demonstrate an admirable willingness to help her rescue her family.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about animal research. Do you think this book supports or condemns experimentation on animals? If you could receive shots to increase your intelligence, would you want them?

Book details

Author:Robert C. O'Brien
Illustrator:Zena Berstein
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:January 1, 1971
Number of pages:233
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 10 year old Written byteemoo August 19, 2009

Read first, then see the movie!

"I really liked Mrs. Frisby. She teamed up with the Rats of Nimh to save her family. Her adventure was exciting, even when she met frightening characters like the Owl. If you like animals and adventure stories, you will like this book A LOT!"
Teen, 13 years old Written byMOVIE13 August 23, 2010
Teen, 13 years old Written bydrummerboy94 April 9, 2008

A good book

I think it is a good book and has a great moral storyline. If you like books about talking animals read this book. Their are a few hard words so i wouldn't recommend it to little kids.


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