Thursday, February 16, 2006

9. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Rats of NIMH pictureWhat a fantastic book. I'd of course heard about the movie, but it was Jarrett who actually recommended the book. I'm quite surprised that I never came across it as a child, either read to me or read by myself. If you're not familiar with the story, it's about a widowed mouse who, in trying to find a way to help her sick son, discovers a community of very stange rats. I don't want to say anything more than that (like the méchant book flap which tells almost the whole story) about the plot, because the story itself is part of the pleasure of reading the book.

This book does a tremendous job of capturing the cozy but limited world of the small animals living on the fringe of man and wilderness. With that foundation, it then creates an exquisite sense of wonder and excitement. Each new area outside Mrs. Frisby's (the mouse widow) experienced world is a little adventure in and of itself. It's tightly structured and the characters are strong and simple. It is also an innocent book, with a sense of reality. It believes in education and kindness, but is aware of the dangers of growth and science.

I read this in a day. Strongly recommended.

6 comments:

dsgran said...

I don't think I realized that the movie was based on a book. I'll have to check it out. I was going to say that books with animals as characters wasn't my thing, but then I remembered that "watership down" was one of my favorite books of all time. I read it again a few years ago, and it absolutly held up.

Siflay Hraka!

Jarrett said...

you can read my review here, though I give away more of the plot than Olman does.

I do like this genre a lot, and that is why I read the absolutely forgettable book Mossflower.

I'm glad you liked it and found the recommendation worthwhile. Now pick up some Dragonlance, man.

Lantzvillager said...

The movie was "The Secret of NIMH"? I think that was what it was called.

Look for me to plow deep into the Hardy Boys series this year and possibly take a stab at Little House on the Prairie as well. :-)

Sounded like a neat book.

Olman Feelyus said...

I'm not sure what you are insinuating with your Hardy Boys reference. Are you suggesting that because younger people can read this book, that it somehow doesn't merit as much as an "adult" book? I have to say that this is one of the tightest, well-written narratives I've read. And though the story involves animals, all the main characters are adults (of their species) and it deals with some fairly sophisticated themes. It's a short book, but no shorter than a lot of golden age sci-fi (230 pages with slightly larger print). A good book is a good book!

Watership Down is on deck. And B. tells me that "The Secret of NIMH" is a pretty good movie.

Lantzvillager said...

Valid point. No defense necessary though as I was just poking fun.

It sounds as though a parallel could be drawn between this novel and those of Richard Adams (Warership Down, Shardik) vis a vis quality of story, animal protagonists, cross-age interest.

beemused said...

The Secret of NIMH was an excellent movie. They don't make animated films like that anymore. And like dsgran, I didn't realize there was a book. I'm definitely going to read this next.