Deane's Blog

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Good ReadsDeane Watters2 Comments

Do you have a memory that includes a mouse or a rat? Opening our Kid Lit book club discussion of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH with this question led to some squeamish tales!img_1728

We heard testimonies of personal encounters that made our skin crawl!

One poor mouse got caught by the paw in a trap and dragged itself to a vent where it fell but stayed alive, flapping that trap for hours, until a way was found to get it out.

Another mouse was such an escape artist that it was given the name Houdini! After flying out of the toaster when the heat got intense, being chased by a broom numerous times and running across the floor in front of everyone and then disappearing for days on end, she was found dead on the front door step for no apparent reason.

One of our club members actually did research on rats when she was in grad school. After euthanizing the rat, she would remove its corneas and continue her study with a microscope. Imagining a dead rat in her hand while removing a part of its eye, certainly seems out of the ordinary...

Brian and I were on a ranger-led tour at Mesa Verde National Park when, shocking everyone, a rat fell "splat" onto the rock right into the midst of our group. "You might want to back away," the ranger advised.

These accounts led to a few bat stories where we all shuttered as the details were revealed.

But there is not much to squirm about in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH! This delightful story actually makes you forget that the main characters are rats and mice! The adorable Mrs. Frisby could be the sweet little neighbor lady next door who loves her children and will do anything to keep them safe. Even the rats in this story are likable, kind, smart and honorable.

With themes of loyalty, friendship, trust and bravery, this tale keeps pulling you to read more, wondering what will happen next.

Can you envision the scene where Mrs. Frisby, who will do anything to save her sick little son, gathers her courage, jumps on the back of Jeremy the crow, flies far above the forest and steps out into the hollow of an old tree to approach a wise old owl to ask for help? Those large, round, yellow eyes appear extremely menacing as the owl asks her to step into his home. Don't owls eat mice? But her love for Timothy emboldens her and forward she moves.

If you would like a warm, entertaining, thought-provoking read, I would encourage you to pick up this book. It led our Kid Lit book club to forget the squirmy long-tailed tales that colored the beginning of our evening's discussion and left us with a sweet story with a mostly-happy ending.


Do you have a favorite piece of children's literature? Let me know in the comments. Perhaps we'll pick it to read in one of the coming months.