Thursday, April 17, 2008

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

1972 Newbery Winner

Mrs. Frisby the mouse is faced with a real dilemma. Her youngest son is sick with pneumonia and is too weak to move from the house. Yet Mrs. Frisby must find a way to move him, for very soon the farmer will plow up the field in which her family is living. Desperate for help, she visits the owl for advice. He tells her that there is just a chance that the rats might help her. Her deceased husband did them a service once.

Mrs. Frisby is quite surprised to hear this. What connection could her husband have had with rats? Nevertheless, she goes to visit the rats’ headquarters. And it is then that she hears a very surprising story, about her husband, and the rats of NIMH.

The biggest problem I had with this book was the balance between the stories of Mrs. Frisby’s dilemma with her son and the rats of NIMH. I wished the author had focused more on either one or the other of the stories, rather than balancing pretty much equally between the two. That part just didn’t work so swell for me.

However, the writing was good, and I wouldn’t be one to deny that this was a very exciting book. I wouldn’t hesitate to hand it over to a kid.

There were some unsatisfactory loose ends, but I understand that the author’s daughter, Jane Leslie Conly, wrote a sequel called Rasco and the Rats of NIMH. If someone was really dying to find out what happened, and wasn’t a real purist, that could be read in conjunction with this book.

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