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Book Club Kits: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Robert C. O'Brien

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Book Summary

Mrs. Frisby and her four young mice are facing a serious dilemma. They must move from their home in order to survive. Even more troubling is that Mrs. Frisby’s youngest son Timothy is sick with pneumonia and unable to move in the cold weather. On a quest for help, this brave, widowed mother encounters special helpers in the forest. She realizes that what she once thought were her enemies are truly remarkable creatures who come to her aid. Mrs. Frisby also learns secrets of her late husband’s past that prove that he was a very unique and brilliant creature of his own.

Discussion Questions

  • How do you usually feel about mice and rats? What about when you were reading the book? What would your parents say if you caught a wild mouse and wanted to keep it as a pet?

  • If you could be any of the creatures in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH for just one day, which one would you be?

  • Can you think of a time when you made something cool out of scraps like the rats did?

  • What really enabled the rats’ escape was not just that they were smarter, but that they were taught to read. How did reading help them escape?

  • How many times a day do you use reading? What would it be like not to be able to read (even though you may be very smart)?

  • If you were given a choice about taking shots to make you smarter, would you take them? What if the medicine had only been tested on rats? What if it had never been tested at all?

  • The rats weren’t given a choice about taking shots. Almost all of our medications are tested on animals before people take them. Humans benefit tremendously, but the cost to the animals is very high. Is it right to test medications on animals? Would you be willing to take medications that had never been tested?

  • The Plan was going to enable the rats to live without stealing, but their lifestyle would be a lot different. (No electricity, growing their own food, etc.) If you were a rat, would you take Nicodemous’ side or Jenner’s side?

  • Being right can be extremely inconvenient. How much of civilization would you be willing to give up to be right? For instance, if all car companies were owned and run by evil people, would you be willing to stop using cars? Or if plastic were extremely harmful to the environment, would you be willing to stop using it? (This means no computers, no markers, no phones, no baggies, etc.)

  • Mrs. Frisby was very courageous and took lots of risks. Can you think of some? One risk she took was leaving all of her children behind to go on a life-threatening journey to find something that might help one of the children. If she hadn’t made it back, none of the three children had a good chance to live without her. Was this fair to the other kids? Is this something you would want your parent to do?

The Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Movie