12 April 2005

9. The Secret of Nimh by Robert O'Brien

I loved this book.

It's a short, fast read. A kids book. Winner of the Newberry Medal. Written in 1971.

The story is about Mrs Frisby, who is a mouse. She has a winter home in the garden on a farm. As the ground thaws she knows she must move her family to the summer home in the woods because the farmer is going to plow up the garden. The problem with just packing up and going is that her youngest, smartest kid is sick with pneumonia. This leads Mrs Frisby on a series of adventures to rescue her home and children from the plow.

She enlists the help of a crow named Jeremy, a wise old owl, and the rats of NIMH. These rats are special. They are the Flowers for Algernon rats without the decaying intelligence. They have set up their own community near the farm but are unsatisfiied with a life of dependence. It seems they steal their food, their electricity, and their running water from the farm. What they want is independence, a farm of their own.

I like books that have intelligent animals, books that have the theme of "there's so much going on right in front of the humans but they don't see it." The inevitable satires are okay, but what intrigues me most is how the authors portray the animal society and structure, but also how the animals perceive the humans.

Anyway.This was not the deepest book, but it was fun to read.