Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Racso and the Rats of Nimh

Racso and the Rats of Nimh

Jane Leslie Conly
Illustrator:  Leonard Lubin 
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
HarperCollins, 1988   ISBN: 978-0064402453

Young Timothy Frisby is on his way back to school. Because of unforeseen circumstances, the little mouse has to walk there, but he is confident that he can do it without too much difficulty. After all, Thorn valley isn’t that far away and Timothy should be able to get there in four days, just before the new school term begins.

Along the way Timothy meets a young rat called Racso who tells Timothy that he too is on his way to Thorn Valley. He wants to join the colony founded by the super intelligent rats of Nimh because he wants to learn how to read and write. Someday Racso wants to become a great scientist and a hero.

The rats of Nimh are curious about how Racso knew where to find them. They have done their best to keep their whereabouts a secret because they don’t want certain humans finding out about them. Racso prevaricates, and tells lies because he does not want to tell the rats of Nimh what his real background is. His citified ways and some of his ideas upset the older rats, but they soon discover they have a lot more to worry about than a young rat who does not always know how to behave.

They first become aware of a problem when the water level in the nearby river begins to rise. When they investigate up and down river, the rats discover that a large company is in the process of building a dam which will, when it is completed, flood their entire valley.

We first met the rats of Nimh in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, a book that was written by Robert C. O’Brien. In this well written tale Robert C. O’Brien’s daughter continues the story of the rats where her father left off. There are many familiar characters from the first book who have new challenges to face. In addition, we meet a charming new character who evolves as the story unfolds. Making many mistakes, Racso stumbles along trying to do what he thinks is best, and in the process he learns what true friendship and courage is.