Classic Readalong Discussion: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

February 27, 2015 2015, middle grade, readalong, sci fi or futuristic, Wendy 32

Genres: science fiction

classic readalong nimhToday’s readalong discussion is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH! Are you ready to have your heart warmed by a valiant young mouse? To swoon over a dashing rat captain of the guard?  (Yes, you read that correctly.) We all loved this month’s book, so let’s dive right in.

As always, while we’re always hoping that our discussions will encourage new readers to pick up these books, we do discuss specific spoilers in each story.


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Wendy: I’m very fond of extraordinarily handsome rats. :D

Layla: I first read this in junior high school (and still have my copy today, boo-yeah!). I remember avoiding Frisby for awhile because I was really into fantasy novels and thought the cover / title were unappealing. Boy howdy was I wrong. I loved this book as a kid and I still love it now; it has officially withstood the test of time for me. However, it did take me until the age of 30 (i.e. now) to figure out what NIMH stood for. I JUST got that, you all. *slow claps*

Wendy: It didn’t even occur to me as a child to wonder what NIMH stood for, but as an adult I figured it out! I loved The Secret of Nimh movie as a child, then loved the book, and I’m happy to find that it’s even better than I remember. I appreciate O’Brien’s style and technique so much better now-the organic way everything is revealed, just as Mrs. Frisby would have discovered it, is in marked contrast to the way many MG/YA books are hustled and rushed for us.

Layla: I haven’t seen the film, but I’m curious now.

Kim: I purposely did not read this book as a child because I perceived “NIMH” as some sort of fantasy realm. And fantasy is for…losers, you guys….obviously. I just wasn’t interested in reading a book about fantastical rats. More was the pity for me then! And yes, I was totally surprised to discover what NIMH was an adult. I was still expecting a total fantasy land.

Wendy: How past Kim would have been surprised at present Kim.

Layla: My favorite part of this book as a child was obviously all of the parts where the rats are being experimented on, because I was a predictably grim little nugget. I remember being utterly fascinated by all of the tests that they had to undergo. As a child I wanted the scenes at NIMH to be longer. I liked tests in school. I liked reading about tests in school. I liked reading about tests at NIMH! Guess what, that’s still true. It’s maybe a little sick (they’re being experimented on, I knoooow) but I was really curious to see how else they’d be tested. I.e., I wanted to know about them running through a maze where they had to read! while they do that out in the wild in the maze OF LIFE, I wanted to know if the scientists would ever figure out just how smart the rats had become.

Wendy: The tests were very cool! It would have been great to see more specifics of that, though I very much enjoyed what was portrayed. I loved the brief observations from the people, too, when Justin escapes the first time and does exactly what they expected him to do. The way they talked about him, and the intelligence and reasoning portrayed by the rats, was the most fun part of the book for me, too.

Layla: Something I missed entirely the first time I read this book – which was one of my childhood favorites, mind you – was the entire discussion about evolution. Yep. I knew there were rats and that they were super smart. And that they had to help Mrs. Frisby. But the entire storyline about them trying to start over and live independently and by a new ethical code? MISSED IT. So I was really surprised and interested in that this time around. How do you feel about that? I mean, it’s interesting, it’s almost what might now be a survivalist mentality (but without the apocalyptic overtones?). But is also kind of a callback to 19th-century American philosophy, maybe? The emphasis on being self-sufficient and self-reliant and the idea that these things are a moral good. (Although the novel also develops these things as an evolutionary good as well). Also, I know very little about 19th-century utopian communities but that is what this reminded me of in some ways.

Wendy: I missed this as a child, too! I didn’t consider all the ramifications that you have in relation to philosophy, but I do think it’s fascinating that this story of animals evolving also includes their ethical evolution as well as their physical one. They consider the moral ramifications of their behavior in a way we don’t see the humans do in experimenting on animals. I’m curious what message O’Brien meant to send–it’s very subtly done. I don’t get the impression he’s anti-science at all, but perhaps he’s just advocating for the responsible  use of it.

Layla: I don’t think anti-science, but I think there’s definitely some anxiety there over maybe what kind of science it is and how it’s practiced. If it’s being used to save little baby mouse lives, I think it’s good. If it’s being used to make your life easier (i.e., taking electricity from humans to power rat-elevators), it’s more ethically suspect. And I think there’s also some fear and trepidation over how much control you really have over the experiments you’re running … i.e., that the mice and rats learn much faster and better than the scientists could have ever suspected. Come on, guys, don’t teach the rats to READ and leave instructions to opening their cages around!

Wendy: Silly scientists. Always creating their own worst nightmares.

Kim: If I had read this as a child I imagine I would have become a very ardent fan of rats in general. And also probably been very vocal against animal testing.

Layla: Did you guys see this? Apparently Frisby was based in part off of Calhoun’s experiments. Super interesting – and in a kind of meta way, too. Rats as surrogates for humans and/or human anxieties in experiment! Rats as the same in the book.

Wendy: I actually did know that in passing, though I hadn’t read that article. Fascinating.

Layla: I now really want to read fanfic that is set like … thousands of years after Frisby, but beginning from the moment where scientists experiment w/ rats at NIMH and then like is about how the rats evolve over time and take over the world and/or live peacefully with humanity. Whatever floats your boat. But I really want fic about this.

Wendy: I’m not a big fan fic person, but I would read the shit out of fanfic that involved interspecies shipping between rat and mouse. Has anyone read the sequels? Do we know if Justin lived?! If I recall correctly, the movie is pretty clear that he dies. This was devastating to young Wendy, and it still gives me a pang. I do believe this is the first time I’ve had an animal on my “crush-worthy boys” shelf. He’s so strong and brave and kind! Arrrrrgh.

Kim: I have never supported a sentence Wendy has said as much I support the first sentence in the above paragraph.

Layla: True. That. I assumed he died. Does he not die? Do I need to check Wikipedia?

Wendy: It’s ambiguous in the book, though strongly implied that he dies, of course. There’s still that tiniest sliver of hope…

Layla: I checked. Kim, be sad no longer! Justin lives! O’Brien implies he dies, but don’t worry, his daughter resurrects him. That’s what happens when you’re a fan favorite, Spike can tell you. Also, for crush-worthy animals, let me remind you both of the fox from Disney’s Robin Hood. He is the only animal I will stick on my crush-worthy boys and girls shelf. [Insert a mental picture of that total fox here!] Oooo-de-lally!

Kim: If O’Brien didn’t write it I can’t really accept it as canon that Justin lives. It pains me to say that it sounds like wish fulfillment on his daughter’s part. Especially because it is clear that, at best, O’Brien wanted it to be ambiguous whether Justin lived or not and that this was probably on purpose. Sometimes we don’t get resolutions in life. It’s good for young readers to know that.

Wendy: Yeah, as much as I love the idea of Justin living, it’s also a disappointment that the daughter went that route. It seems clear what O’Brien meant us to infer, and it rather takes away the nobility of his sacrifice/death as well. At least, insofar as just the bare facts of it–perhaps she handles it well, I don’t know.


Layla: Would you go with Jenner or would you try to be a part of The Plan? I would absolutely go with Jenner. If we have just spent a few years building a whole new rodent civilization, I don’t want to destroy it willy-nilly! On another note, a thing I liked about this book was that Jenner doesn’t turn out to be a villain. He’s not on board with the plan, but he doesn’t come back and try to sabotage everything, the way I suspected that he would. My expectations as a reader were totally wrong! And I liked that.

By the way, we just had a snowstorm in NC and I was without power for 12+ hours and I was really unhappy. Never leaving civilization, Nicodemus, and you can’t make me. TEAM JENNER ALL THE WAY.

Kim: Um 5000% I would go with Jenner. It’s a very beautiful and noble vision to be all, “We will build our own land. We will not steal and will be totally sufficient.” But my goals basically envision watching Netflix and drinking wine so…yes, I will steal off of humans. Sorry, noble rats of NIMH. I am but a worthless human!

Wendy: I don’t think the amount of electricity the rats were using would have been significant–and blowing up all the equipment does seem extreme. Jenner is definitely more nuanced/interesting in the book, even though we don’t see much of him. That was the one change from book to movie that I have mixed feelings about–while I understand the want for an antagonist you can see for a visual medium (versus the humans, which you mostly do not), he and Jeremy are both much more typical.

Layla: Favorite character? Mine is maybe Nicodemus. Or Dragon. He has seven claws, you guyssss. Also, my favorite line of the WHOLE BOOK is: “We all help one another against the cat.”

Wendy: I know it’s a cliché, but Justin is my favorite. <3 So gallant and kind! But I love sweet, brave Timothy as well. Considering his possible death and trying to reassure his mother. I also love Mrs. Frisby and her quiet determination to do everything she needs to–I particularly love the scene when she’s flying on the crow’s back. I love the Owl. (HE WON’T EAT YOU IN HIS OWN HOME. PROBABLY.) I love Jeremy, unable to resist shiny objects but sure of his debt to his small savior. And I love Jonathan. It’s rare to have a character who is completely absent from a book in a physical sense but whose personality comes through so strongly. Just about everyone is so kind. And decent. It’s comforting.

Kim: Wait, how is it cliché to love Justin?? He is very clearly and obviously the best. As I was reading this (for the very first time, mind you) I’m like, “Wow. Justin is an obviously great character worthy of all our admiration. In fact, this is weird, but if he wasn’t a rat I would quite fancy him!” So now I guess now I have a rat on my “book boyfriends” shelf. And also every single character Wendy lists. Timothy is such a sage old soul. I loved how he asserted, “I didn’t know. I thought it.” My heart pangs a little with wishing I could’ve known Jonathan, he was such a real character even though not present.  I understand this was very much a book of the 60’s, but I would’ve loved to know what Mrs. Frisby’s first name is, though!

Wendy: It’s probably Jane. There are so many J names in this book, did you notice? Jeremy, Jonathan, Justin…

Layla: … not? I assumed loving Nicodemus would be, tho!

Wendy: You know, I read a few reviews after I finished that mentioned how the readers were annoyed with the “it’s no job for a lady” remark, which they regarded as extremely sexist but I didn’t take offense to at all. I mean, she’s a widow and a mother of four, not to mention a small mouse who has never done anything daring. I read that as a chivalrous protest, not an anti-feminist “you’re incapable of doing this” remark. And indeed, she proves she is capable of more than even she knew. Did anyone here get his or her feathers ruffled by that?

Layla:  Eh, I didn’t want to throw the book across the room or anything, but yeah, I was bothered by that. Chivalrous protest, sure, but that feels like benevolent sexism to me. There are good reasons for her not to do it of course – she’s the sole provider for four baby mice, although I’m sure the rats would step in if needed.

Wendy: Interesting. Being that the author wrote the story to specifically show that this small creature could and did overcome the odds, perhaps he was actually making an argument for independence? And against prejudice/preconceived notions, whether it was against females or those who appear frail on the surface. Mrs. Frisby surprises us, as does Timothy–and even Jonathan.

Layla: Here’s a question though – why don’t they just poison Dragon? As a general question, it’s something I’ve been wondering about. It would really save you the treacherous trips running to his bowl every time you want to do something if you just … poisoned his food. Come on, super-smart rats. Don’t tell me you didn’t think of it.

Wendy: Maybe it’s against their moral code. Though perhaps if they’d known what was to come… :(

Layla: WHEN THE RATS GET BLOWN AWAY OMGGGGGG. Most terrifying moment ever.

Wendy: That was TENSE. And the aftermath, when you can’t see who didn’t make it out? So terrible. And of course the worst possible scenario probably happened. *mourns the handsome rat forever*

Kim:  Yes, that was very heartwrenching. And um the ever lurking menace of a seven-toed cat?!?!?!? No thank you!

Final ratings?

Wendy: 4 stars. Love love love. I think I did try to read the first sequel when I was young, but being disappointed by it. I don’t remember it all, so I’d like to try it again sometime.

Layla: 4 stars! Loved it as a child, loved it now. A nice, wholesome story about rats taking over the world as we know it.

Kim: If Justin lives it’s a 4. Otherwise, 3.5. I have no shame. Altogether, it’s a lovely story and charmingly told. With subtly revealed depth of character and depth of plot. This was a totally different story than I went into expecting! But I loved the ingenuity, and the heart of the characters, and how they were all brought together to help each other.

Wendy: You’re contradicting yourself, Kim! To rate that way, but judge book two on Justin living, hah.

Photograph by Kate Posey from Bookish Illuminations.


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March Readalong: The Secret Garden

Spring is a time of rebirth–and it’s the perfect time to fall in love with one of our very favorite books! If you haven’t read this yet, NOW IS THE TIME. We all love this book to pieces and we are determined to get everyone else to love it as well. And obviously if it’s one of your favorites, we hope you’ll join us in hugging it and delighting in its many pleasures.

Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Discussion Date: Friday, March 27th
Hashtag: #tmgreadalong

the secret gardenWhat secrets lie behind the doors at Misselthwaite Manor?

Recently arrived at her uncle’s estate, orphaned Mary Lennox is spoiled, sickly, and certain she won’t enjoy living there. Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier. Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty–unaware that she is changing too. But Misselthwaite hides another secret, as Mary discovers one night. High in a dark room, away from the rest of the house, lies her young cousin, Colin, who believes he is an incurable invalid, destined to die young. His tantrums are so frightful, no one can reason with him. If only, Mary hopes, she can get Colin to love the secret garden as much as she does, its magic will work wonders on him.

This title should be easily available in libraries, and it’s also just 99 cents to a few dollars on Amazon depending on the format. And there are so many beautiful editions of this book available, we’d love to see yours! Use hashtag #tmgreadalong to share them on Twitter, or email them to us and we’ll post some on our Facebook wall.

— If you’d like to get a head start on April’s book, we’ll be reading A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle.


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What did you think of our brave mice and rats this month? Are you joining us for The Secret Garden?


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32 Responses to “Classic Readalong Discussion: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH”

  1. E

    Have to say, I really didn’t enjoy this one, much to my disappointment. I love this type of book, but this didn’t do it for me. Sorry! Really looking forward to The Secret Garden though!

    You know you were asking for British classics? Well, here are a couple of favourites from my childhood: The Little Princess, Wind in the Willows, The Railway Children, SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS <3, Narnia books, lots of Roald Dahl (e.g. Mathilda), lots of Jaqueline Wilson (e.g. Double Act), The Water Babies (quite hard as a child though), The Princess and the Goblin… okay I'll stop there! I could keep going for a long time, but you were probably just being polite when you offered anyway.

    I'll do a proper review of The Secret Garden, as I know it's one I enjoy :)

    Lots of love E xx
    E recently posted…The Last Ever Mr B’s Reading Year

    • Wendy Darling

      E! I just spent 10 minutes searching for your comments on the blog so I could tell you that we’re reading MARY POPPINS in December, in case you’d like to join in? I know it’s not on your list here (we did just read THE WITCHES in October!), but perhaps you love that one as well.

      Thank you for the recommendations for the other books, too. Right now I’m not sure what we’re doing with the classics discussion for next year, since participation and readership are low. Kim and I both looooove A LITTLE PRINCESS though, and that’s one I’d definitely like to do if we continue in 2016.

      I just popped onto your blog, am glad to see you are doing okay. Hope all is well in your corner of the world. <3
      Wendy Darling recently posted…The Rest of Us Just Live Here: Review

  2. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    You know, I never read this book and I think it all stems from the fact that the movie kind of freaked me out as a kid. It was one that we had on tape (probably recorded from TV) so we watched it more than once. But I remember it being a really traumatic film (the one scene I vividly remember is when there’s a flood). For whatever reason, I thought the movie was really scary and sad and so I never sought out the book to read. I should really try it though and go back and watch the movie because I am pretty sure my perception of it is off.

    • Wendy Darling

      I’ll be honest, movie Nicodemus is kind of freaky. The glowing eyes! The warts! The long nails! The stern demeanor! Young Wendy was very intimidated. I don’t blame young Thuy for being that way, too. I don’t remember the flood at all, but I wonder if that was substituted for the gassing in the book, since that would make more sense visually.

      The book is sad, too, and a bit scary, though both those things are momentary and not to horrible.
      Wendy Darling recently posted…Crimson Bound: Blog Tour Sign-Up

  3. Katie @ Bookish Illuminations

    So glad you chose this book for Feb.! I really enjoyed re-reading it.

    I grew up with the book, but I mostly remember the animated film! My brothers and I watched it so many times. But parts of it were traumatic to my younger self, especially when Mrs. Frisby is helping with the moving of the home. It’s slightly different in the film than in the book–that particular part. I also distinctly remember the part showing the rats in the lab and felt so bad that they were abducted. But then again, I loved that they escaped and had superior intelligence.

    O’Brien’s fantasy is just the kind of story I loved as a young reader and I still appreciate. The last time I re-read it was in grad school and I actually wrote a paper on this book and The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban about the concept of journey in both the books. There’s an interesting theme of identity to explore too.

    Like Wendy, I’m also curious about the message O’Brien was wanting to send it readers—especially in terms of this notion of the rats developing morality. So fascinating.

    I love the idea of Layla’s of Nimh fanfic! That would be brilliant.

    Really enjoying the different votes for either going with Jenner or not. That’s a hard call, but if I was comfortable there, it would be hard to want to make such a big change. Then again, the idea that the rats might “found out” could be a threat strong enough to make me want to leave and try to be self-sufficient.

    Also agree with Layla—the owl’s line about the cat—just perfect!

    I hate that part at the end where the rats’ home gets gassed. And Justin. I love him too, so the thought that he was killed is heartwrenching…My younger brother and I recently watched the Nimh movie again and he also said that he was a bit traumatized by some parts in it. The Rats of Nimh is definitely an important part of my childhood though…

    Fantastic discussion, ladies! I’m so excited about next month’s chat on The Secret Garden.
    Katie @ Bookish Illuminations recently posted…I need your help! Which YA book should I choose for my Summer College Composition Course?

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the reread, Katie! Yay.

      The book does have a few key differences from the film, but I very much like them both as well. I was saying to Brenda below that although the magic amulet thing does seem a bit strange in this rather science-grounded book, it seems as though they might’ve made that choice so that Mrs. Frisby could help drive more of the action in the climax of the story.

      Identity is also an interesting theme I hadn’t really considered. It must be so strange to forge your own path when it’s so different from everything that has come before, and what is expected of you.

      Ugh, the gassing was so sad. :( I’m definitely going to watch the film again soon, it’s been too long.

      And yay for TSG! Look forward to your sharing more enviable experiences in England related to that book.
      Wendy Darling recently posted…Crimson Bound: Blog Tour Sign-Up

  4. Carina Olsen

    Gorgeous discussion post girls. <3 You are all kinds of amazing, hih :D I watched the movie a while ago, and I really enjoyed it. Sigh. It's cute :D I shall rewatch it soon, as I also got a movie that claims to be the sequel, and I'm curious :D Hoping it's just as good. Anyway. I'm so happy that you all enjoyed this gorgeous book :D I think the cover is so pretty. Sigh. And I'm curious about this. I'm hoping to read it one day. <3 As I did like the movie :) Anyway. Thank you all for sharing. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Unchanged Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

    • Wendy Darling

      I love the film! It’s been awhile since I saw it, so it’ll be interesting to see how it compares to the book as an adult. I hope you do give this a go sometime, especially since you liked the movie, too. C’mon Carina, you know you want a rat book boyfriend, too, hee hee.
      Wendy Darling recently posted…Crimson Bound: Blog Tour Sign-Up

  5. Angela @ Angela's Library

    OH MY GOSH, LAYLA! I am so glad you mentioned the fox in Robin Hood – as a kid I was convinced I was going to marry him when I grew up. I’m relieved to hear I’m not the only one with an animal on my crush list! :-P

    Thanks for this post; it really makes me want to re-read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. It’s been 12 years since I read it in 6th grade, and I remember being underwhelmed at the time. After reading your discussion, though, it sounds like there was a lot of stuff I missed that I might pick up on and enjoy this time around.
    Angela @ Angela’s Library recently posted…Review: Ember by Bettie Sharpe

    • Layla

      Right? I mean, that fox is uncomfortably attractive. I don’t understand, but I don’t think we’re alone. (The Toast has an article on Disney foxes and it notes that Robin Hood is the “high water mark for fox civilization.” And that just seems kind of undeniably true to me.)

      Oh man, go read that book again. Admittedly, I’m biased here, because I loved it at 12 and I loved it at 30. But I did find it richer and more interesting than I did at 12? Maybe give it a try if you have the time. On the plus side, you might also find another animal to add to your crush list – Kim and Wendy both seem fond of Justin.
      Layla recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

    • Wendy Darling

      I really must watch ROBIN HOOD again if you and Layla both are so in love with him! I remember him being charming (all foxes are, really), but it’s been so long since I’ve seen it. I’ll have to see how he stacks up against Justin.

      Apparently I need to start an crushworthy boy animals shelf, hah.

      And yay! I wonder if you will feel differently revisiting the book as an adult? I’ve found such FASCINATING insights from these discussions, even with books I’m incredibly familiar with and have read dozens of times. Hope you’ll join us for THE SECRET GARDEN this month, too!

      • Angela @ Angela's Library

        Oh yes, you should definitely watch Robin Hood again! I watched it last weekend (no shame!) and was just as delighted as when I was a kid. Also, as you said, you do need a crushworthy animals shelf – mine is inhabited by all of those dashing, heroic mice from Brian Jacques’ REDWALL series. ;-)

        Can’t wait for the The Secret Garden discussion later this month! It was the first “real” chapter book I read as a kid and brings back so many fond memories.
        Angela @ Angela’s Library recently posted…Review: FML by Shaun Hutchinson

    • Layla

      It is, it is! I mean, it’s also super dark – Timothy’s health is constantly in peril! And the rats and mice are being experimented on! But it’s a good read. You should check it out?
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Review

  6. Brenda

    I think the movie turned me off of the book as a kid. The magical Nicodemus and the necklace just seemed out of place and confusing to me. I too never realized NIMH was an acronym, I always thought it was a magical place. It was really interesting reading that the story was inspired by the research of Dr. Calhoun. I enjoyed reading this as an adult, and got caught up in the experiments and morality issues. I would have gone with Jenner, the amount of electricity that they were using really was not that much. Or at least not destroy everything, as a backup in case things didn’t work out. Looking forward to The Secret Garden in March.
    Brenda recently posted…Classic MG Read-along: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

    • Layla

      Yeah, it’s weird, right? Because the book (and one assumes to some extent, the film) roots the rats’ extra abilities in science. Like, pretty clearly the result of scientific experimentation, so it’s weird to then be like, well, screw heightened abilities, there’s also this MAGIC STONE you can wear. (Though I haven’t seen the film, I wonder if that takes away from the film in any way.)

      YES NIMH IS A PLACE. I thought it was a magical place, too. Like, “Ah! The Land of Nimh! Far, far away.” But no, baby!Layla. No. Wrong. It took me so long to figure that out. I’m glad I’m not alone.

      The Calhoun stuff is super interesting! Interesting, too, that the experiment is interpreted differently as our own understanding of human populations shifts. It was fortuitous that that article popped up on my newsfeed when it did.

      Right? Going with Jenner is the obvious answer. Don’t like … salt the fields until you’re sure The Plan is going to work, okay, guys?
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Review

    • Wendy Darling

      I agree, the magic was unnecessary in the film, but I think they did it in order to allow Mrs. Frisby to play a more active role in the finale and moving the stone herself, rather than having the mice do it. I understand that to a certain degree, but you’re right, the science is so cool that the magical amulet came out of nowhere. As it does, clearly.

      And yay for THE SECRET GARDEN! So excited to start. :)
      Wendy Darling recently posted…Crimson Bound: Blog Tour Sign-Up

  7. Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I never saw the film version of this but I was OBSESSED with this book when I was younger. I was all about the science and morality within it and I distinctly remember reading the entire series, though none were as memorable as this one. I forced my younger brother to read this a few years ago too because it’s just THAT GOOD. So glad you ladies enjoyed this one and I’m thrilled to hear it withstands the test of time–I definitely want to re-read it at some point myself. :)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…ARC Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

    • Layla

      How’d your younger brother like it? I don’t remember whether or not I ever tried to force my sister to read this.

      You know, I thought I hadn’t seen the film, but I’m starting to question whether that is actually true or not. I actually think I might have, and now I definitely want to watch it. (Apparently a very young Wil Wheaton is the voice of one of the mice children, FYI.)

      Oh, man. I didn’t remember any of the morality stuff in there AT ALL. Like at all. It was only on a re-read that that become present to me in any way. I was all about the science stuff? It’s weird how I missed that; those things are so intertwined on a re-reading of the novel.
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Review

    • Wendy Darling

      Forcing other people to read my favorite books is also one of my favorite activities. :D I hope your brother appreciates having a sister who thrusts wonderful books at him!

  8. Pili @ In Love With Handmade

    I was truly very excited to read Mrs Frisby because it was my first re-read in all the books since I’ve joined the readalong, and then when I stopped to think about it, I was highly ashamed, because I barely remembered anything about it! *hangs head in shame*

    But once I started reading it, I began to remember the feelings that lil Pili had the first time she read the book. I think I was even more fascinated this time around with all the back history of the rats and their experiments at NIMH and I wanted more details of all their time there, since we’re just give a few stories only, but I remember that although I thought it was interesting, mini Pili wanted to go back to the current action!

    This time around I was more intrigued about how Nicodemus emerged as the leader when it seems clear that Justin was the one that had the ideas and the initiative, but I guess Nicodemus was more a moral leader and someone that managed to keep them all in agreement. I really liked that even if Jenner decided to leave, he was not trying cause trouble, and I probably would dislike the movie if they make him a bad guy…

    I felt that there were plenty of moral lessons but none felt forced or too preachy! And I loved how Mrs Frisby shows everyone that she is so much more than just a tiny mouse! I rooted for her so much more this time around! I remember being awfully disappointed that we didn’t get to see more about the rats started their new home and civilization, and I am still disappointed that we don’t see more about it. I’ll be the awfully callous one, but I remember I was more worried about poor Timothy all the time than Justin, until I realized there was no “look back” to the rats and their life in the end with Justin being there at all!

    I already got myself a really lovely (and illustrated) copy of The Secret Garden, and I’m more than ready to start it in March! Now to look for a copy of April’s book!
    Pili @ In Love With Handmade recently posted…Friday Reads: Mrs Frisby and The Rats of NIMH!!

    • Layla

      I actually think it’s lovely that this has been your first re-read. It’s nice to be introduced to new things! For me, I’d forgotten so much about it – except for how much I loved it as a child – that this was basically like reading it for the first time. Which is also a bit what Tuck Everlasting was like for me, I guess.

      Like you, I absolutely wanted more detail at NIMH. It’s hard, because obviously the rats have places to go and colonies to build and colonies to move, but I too wanted more detail about the tests they had to take and more of a … process for their sudden super-smartness.

      It is interesting that Nicodemus ends up as the leader! What a good question. You’re right, Justin had the ideas and the initiative and like … sneaks around before Nicodemus gets out of his cage, and is obviously wonderful in all kinds of ways since both Wendy and Kim love him. ;) I do wonder why he doesn’t end up as the leader. Age? Is Nicodemus older?

      Yessss. I wonder if the sequel introduces us to the rats’ new home at all. I’d be super interested in seeing what that’s like – especially a few years in!

      Layla recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

      • Pili @ In Love With Handmade

        I’d be totally willing to read the sequel if it takes place in the new rat civilization!

        And yes, I think Nicodemus was older, but I’m not 100% sure on that. Maybe he was just the better orator of the two, so he ended up being the face of the leadership while Justin was the brains & bravery of it?
        Pili @ In Love With Handmade recently posted…Saturday Pages: Pointe by Brandy Colbert!!!

        • Wendy Darling

          I actually thought it was interesting that Justin played such a large role in this book, but Nicodemus was the apparent leader as well–from what I remember of the film, Nicodemus looms very large in it. perhaps, as you and Layla said, it’s because he just happens to be older.

          I’m a little nervous about what the sequels might be like. I want to find out what happens to everyone, but also worried about being let down, or sad not to see all the characters I’ve loved from FRISBY.

          I’m glad this was a reread for you and that you still enjoyed it! Like Layla said, I rather enjoy reading some of these like that, too–it’s like you get the experience of the first time all over again, but with the guarantee of a book you like.
          Wendy Darling recently posted…Crimson Bound: Blog Tour Sign-Up