Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Common Sense Media says

A compelling mix of fantasy and science fiction.




Newbery Medal and Honors

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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

This review of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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, okay 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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Teen, 13 years old Written byiambriana April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

If you don't like to be kept guessing and wondering, skip this book!

This book is a pretty good book but some questions you'll think about are never answered...some pretty big ones too. It never even tells you in one section o the book about which of the mice died! That is a BIG issue and I would walk away from this book at your library and go pick out something else adventurous if you don't like to be kept guessing...
Kid, 12 years old October 22, 2009


This book is far too boring! I couldnt finish it!
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!"


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