Friday, February 27, 2015

Classic MG Read-along: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH readalongFebruary's  pick for the Classic Middle Grade Read along with the Midnight Garden was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien.    You can follow along or join in the discussion at or #tmgreadalong on Twitter.  

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

Published March 1st,1986 by Aladdin Paperbacks
Genres: Middle Grade Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 233 pages
Format: Paperback
Source:  Purchased

Synopsis from Goodreads:  "Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service."

This is my first time reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.  I'd enjoyed the movie adaptation, The Secret of NIMH, especially with Dom DeLuise as Jeremy the Crow. And I enjoy reading animal stories, Redwall, Mouseheart, Nightshade City to name a few featuring rats/mice.  Yet, I  recall being confused about the magical elements in the movie, especially when it came to Nicodemus.  I always felt like it was never really explained where his magical powers came from.  The movie also had a creepy feel to it too, which at the time I really didn't like.    I think everything seemed to  flow better in the the book, but this isn't meant to be a blog post comparing the two.   

The story had a slow beginning for me, but then it really picked up.  Although the central theme was on Mrs. Frisby's struggle to relocate her home, there was also this larger backstory on how the rats of NIMH became so intelligent and their connection to Mrs. Frisby's family that I really got caught up in.   I was a little disappointed though whenever Mrs. Frisby's story took to the backburner.  Mrs. Frisby is such an admirable, brave character.  She puts herself in harms way to save her children, just a lovely mom. 

 I enjoyed the mice and rats perspective on the world, like scavenging for food as the season's changed, trying to avoid Dragon the cat.  But, the science of the experiments and the ways in which the rats learned to read were my favorite parts.  Although, I can't help now thinking about the ethical treatment of animals for research purposes.  And, how did I not know that NIMH stood for the National Institute of Mental Health?  There was also all of these moral issues to reflect on, like how the modernization of the rats was turning into their downfall and how they wanted to move away from stealing off of others to live.  Nicodemus was concerned that eventually the rats would be found and what would happen to them then?  

"Why move? We've got a better place to live right now.  We've got all the food we want.  We've got electricity, and lights and running water.  I can't understand why everybody talks about changing things." "Because everything we have is stolen." 
"That's silly." " Is it stealing when farmers take milk from cows, or eggs from chickens?" 

It's was also so easy to get caught up in the characters, lovely Mrs. Frisby, Mr. Ages, Nicodemus and Justin. Then add in the mystery behind Mrs. Frisby's husband, Jonathan, and overall I was very entertained.  

Favorite quote   “All doors are hard to unlock until you have the key.”

No comments:

Post a Comment