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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Last updated Monday, January 4, 2016

Author: Robert C. O'Brien and Zena Bernstein
Illustrator: Edward S. Gazi
Date of Publication: 1971
ISBN: 0689206518
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2016

Synopsis: Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service.

Note to readers:
•  The book is long and you will not be able to finish in the time period. Read as far as time allows.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Where do you think the story takes place?
•  Have you ever seen a rat carry something? What about the rat and the piece of pizza in New York?
•  Looking at the front cover, what do you think the rat/mouse is carrying?


•  Delirious: not able to think or speak clearly especially because of fever
•  Authoritatively: having the confident quality of someone who is respected or obeyed by other people
•  Hypochondriac: a person who is often or always worried about being ill
•  Vigorous: done with great force and energy
•  Relentlessly: remaining strict or determined
•  Perched: to sit on or be on something high
•  Laboriously: requiring a lot of time and effort

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where do Mrs. Frisby and her children live?
•  What or who do Mrs. Frisby and her children fear and why?
•  Who does Mrs. Frisby go to see to help Timothy?
•  Do you think plants or herbs can help you get better if you are sick? What vegetables do you eat to stay healthy?

Craft ideas:
•  Create the Frisby family using construction paper. Pattern is on Pinterest.
•  Check out our craft ideas on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/january-2016-crafts

Special activities:
•  Come up with ideas as a group as to how Mrs. Frisby can move her sick son Timothy.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!