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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH


by Robert C. O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby Timeline and Summary

  • Scurry, scurry, scurry. A mouse's work is never done. Mrs. Frisby goes all over trying to make sure her family has enough food.
  • Timothy gets a cold and Mrs. Frisby gets a panic attack that sends her in search of Mr. Ages, who she hopes can help her save Timothy.
  • On her way to Mr. Ages' house, she takes the long way to avoid being eaten by Dragon, that big bully. Smart move, Mrs. F.
  • As she is cruising through the fields to get back to her babies, she hears a bunch of squawking and sees a crow tied up to a fence post by his foot.
  • Even though she is scared, she goes to help the crow, who introduces himself as Jeremy. When she unties him, he offers to give her a ride home on his back, which gives her the chance to ask his advice about Timothy and the problem with her house.
  • Not being the smartest guy in the world, Jeremy can't help. But, luckily for Mrs. Frisby, he knows someone who can: he tells her to go to the Owl and flies her there.
  • Terrified, Mrs. Frisby hops on Jeremy's back and talks to the Owl.
  • At first he won't help her, but then he learns her last name is Frisby. Whoa! Total about-face. Now he is willing to listen.
  • Owl tells her to "go to the rats." This sounds like an insult, but really he is just giving her some advice. 
  • Mrs. Frisby, still terrified, does what she is told and goes to visit the rats. At first, they won't let her in. 
  • Eventually, she is permitted inside, where she is amazed by the rats' luxurious living quarters and begins to wonder what their deal is.
  • The rats agree to help her. However, like the Owl, they only agree to help after they learn that she is a Frisby.
  • Mrs. Frisby volunteers to put the sleeping potion in Dragon's food dish, but she ends up getting caught by one of the farmer's kids, who puts her in a birdcage and wants to keep her as a pet.
  • Luckily for the rats, Mrs. Frisby overhears the farmers talking about a group of mysterious exterminators who are coming out to destroy the rats.
  • Justin arrives to set Mrs. Frisby free and she tells him and Nicodemus about what she heard. This saves the day and allows the rats to figure out a plan to avoid being captured or killed. 
  • The Frisbys live happily ever after and the novel ends with Mrs. Frisby telling her children the story of the Rats of NIMH.