Children · Robert C. O'Brien · Stand Alone

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



I love the premise of this story and found it to be very charming and adventurous. The plot was entertaining, the characters were lovable, and the world-building was terrific. This is a highly recommended read for any child who loves suspense and adventure and for those who love anthropomorphic animals. It’s a sweet story of friendship, courage, love, and adventure that anyone will enjoy.


Mrs. Frisby recently lost her husband, and now with her son ill she is afraid for his life upon Moving Day, which is when they have to move out of the garden or risk their lives with the farmer’s plow. After receiving some advice from a wise old owl, Mrs. Frisby goes to the Rats for help, and these are not your average Rats….

I happily found myself enjoying Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH much more than I thought I would. Once the Rats are introduced into the story it gets so much more interesting. These are some of the most intelligent Rats you will ever encounter.

Once you find out who the Rats are and where they come from the story really picks up. As far as I know there are not many books that deal with the after effects of rat testing and this one explores it rather well. It was intriguing to ‘see’ how the Rats handled their new intelligence, how they lived, and all their thoughts about various things. This was my favorite part of the book.

The pacing of the book was great and I never found myself skimming or bored with what I was reading. I was engaged from the very beginning. I also didn’t find it to be too predictable, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. I had assumed that it would end happily, and glad that it did, but I had no idea as to the means of the happy ending. There was also plenty of mystery surrounding the Rats, as well as Mrs. Frisby’s husband (everyone appeared to know him rather well, but why?), which was fascinating and I was eager to find out this information.


Since the story takes place on a farm there isn’t too much detail that needs to be given, but the author does a great job nonetheless. Everything is described perfectly down to the smells. Even the homes of the mice, owl, and rats are very descriptive giving you the perfect picture as to what it is really like to be there. I wasn’t at all bored with the descriptions either. The author was concise.

“Its ceiling and walls were a smoothly curved arch, its floor hard and flat, with a soft layer of carpet down the middle.  The light  came from the walls, where every foot or so on both sides a tiny light bulb had been recessed and the hold in which it stood, like a small window, had been covered with a square of colored glass—blue, green or yellow” (76).


This book has some flaws in regards to its characters. Although I loved the rats and mice and other critters, and I thought that as an entire group they had personality, there wasn’t enough to distinguish one rat or mouse from another. I was hoping that each of the main characters at least would have had more personality. A couple of Mrs. Frisby’s children had more character/personality than a lot of the other characters even though they didn’t play a major role in the story.

Of course, Mrs. Frisby had quite a bit of a motherly personality, but I wanted more. Just because its a children’s book doesn’t mean the characters can’t be unique and interesting.

I found the interactions between the different animals to be refreshing. They all help each other and are kind to one another no matter what animal they are. I thought this was an important part of the book and something I think humans need to learn.


The writing was spectacular! I actually don’t have any complaints about it. I never once thought that the author was even talking down to the reader. Complex sentences and vocabulary were used, thereby making this a great read for children and adults alike.


The cover is okay, but not very eye-catching. It needs something more, and although the title fits the book rather well, I don’t think that the cover does. Since the rats play a huge role in the story I feel like they deserve a spot on the cover with Mrs. Frisby.

~Review Spotlight~

The Sandguppy                         Becky’s Barmy Book Blog

Book Haven

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