Some of the books on the 100 Best Chapter Books list are ones that I read as a kid and remember liking quite a bit. In a way, it scares me to go back and read them as an adult in case they aren’t as good as the younger me thought they were. Luckily, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien is just as good as I remember — maybe even better! I even think that it might deserve to be higher than #33 on the list.
It is primarily the story of Mrs. Frisby, a widow and a mouse, who lives in a brick in the middle of a farmer’s field. Though her family must relocate before the spring plowing destroys their home, she can’t move her family because her youngest is recovering from pneumonia. So she goes to visit an owl for advice. He seems to think that she can get help from some mysterious rats that live under a rosebush by the farmhouse. So she travels to ask for help and ends up getting much more, including the history of the rats and, surprisingly, her husband.
Mrs. Frisby’s story was compelling, especially for a mother to read. But the really interesting part for me was reading the tale of the rats and their journey to and from NIMH — the National Institute of Mental Health. I wish that I had read this book with Z but there just wasn’t time to fit it in. I will definitely offer it up as a bedtime story in the next year or two though.
But as many times as I read The Secret of NIMH as a child, I must have watched the film ten times more. It makes sense because it came out in 1982, when I was seven. I didn’t have a chance to watch it yet but, since it’s almost our spring break, I have a feeling that Z and I will be watching it soon!
Next up is The Westing Game which I had never heard of before but, as always seems to happen now, I have seen referenced a few times recently. It sounds like a fun story (the adventures of Sam Westing’s sixteen heirs after they are challenged by him to unravel the secret behind his death — via Wikipedia) so I’m hoping for another stellar read!
Schedule – April through August
note: dates are not necessarily set in stone – posts may go up a day or two before or after
- April 30 - #9 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1978)
- May 15 - #17 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (1964)
- May 31 - #38 Frindle by Andrew Clements (1996)
- June 15 - #58 Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (1930) — 1st in a series
- June 30 - #100 Love that Dog by Sharon Creech (2001)
- July 15 - #42 Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright (1957)
- July 31 - #19 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1932)
- August 15 - #18 The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (1964)