I distinctly remember the first time I read this book when I was in 5th grade. I remember getting so caught up in the story of Mrs. Frisby and her family, that I went on reading well into the night. The book was filled with so much adventure I felt like I was a part of it!! Robert O’Brien so skillfully weaves a story of love, risk, heartache, and unlikely friendships, that it’s impossible not to get hooked!
I have used this as a read-aloud in the past, and while at first, I would get a few eye rolls (” a story about rats? really Mrs. Brandy”) usually, after the first couple of chapters the kids really got into it. I am finding the same with my oldest son. When I first told him this was the book he would be reading, he looked skeptical. When he started reading however, I saw that he quickly became interested. After the first four chapters he said “Okay, you were right mom, this IS a good book.” 🙂 (Of course, now, he keeps asking “what’s the secret? what’s the secret?” and I tell him he will have to read on to find out!)
This book has many themes, including loyalty, perseverance, family, courage etc. And of course, the lesson that sometimes one very small person can accomplish very great things! There is also a plethora of materials printed to go along with the book (teacher guides, unit studies etc). I prefer to make my own questions, but you can easily find things on the internet to use with the book if you like.
Of course, we do plan to watch the movie The Secret Of Nimh, after we finish reading the book. I saw the movie when I was a kid, and I can tell you that I remember thinking the book was better (although I find that to usually be the case…because I just love books! 😉 ) I would suggest using this book as a read-aloud for grades 3 and up, and depending on their reading ability, a student from 5th grade up could read it on their own.