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

cover art for Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of NIMHIn case, like me, you have not read this book in a long time, or maybe haven’t yet shared it with a kid in your life, I am here to tell you: dust off Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of NIMH and read it again!  This is a terrific book, as sure to appeal to modern young readers as it did when it was first published in 1971.

There is so much here: family drama, medical ethics, evolution, questioning stereotypes (the rats will be bad guys, right?  Because rats are ALWAYS bad guys!  Nope!  Not here), and ultimately, our responsibility to be productive members of society; all nicely packaged in a highly readable story, exciting enough for older kids but gentle enough to read aloud even to preschoolers.

My favorite kind of book: fun to read, and plenty to talk about at the dinner table, too.

Mrs. Frisbee, the widowed mouse, has a dilemma: her son Timothy is gravely ill and must stay in bed, but if Mrs. Frisbee doesn’t move her nest very soon, the field where they live will be plowed, endangering the whole family.  Mrs. Frisbee is a proactive mouse, and she seeks counsel: from a crow, a wise owl, and finally the mysterious rat clan who lives under the rosebush on Mr. Fitzgibbon’s farm.

Why the rats?  How can a bunch of rats help a widowed mouse?  And even if they can, why should they?

Well, these are no ordinary rats.

I will not spoil this fantastic book by telling you their secrets.  Trust me: read it and find out for yourself.

For readers aged 8-12, or as a read aloud for kids 5 and up.