Book Review: RT, Margaret and the Rats of NIMH

Well, my son and I finished up our read aloud of the NIMH series with the third installment — RT, Margaret and the Rats of NIMH by Jane Leslie Connly — and while it was enjoyable, I didn’t feel it held quite the same power as the first two (and nothing compares to the first one). It may be that introducing humans as the main characters instead of animals took away some of the magical qualities of the story. Or it may be that the plot device — two kids lost in the woods, rescued by the rats, have to keep the secret — just didn’t have quite enough conflict to keep the novel going as much as the other two did.

That said, my son loved it. He is quite sad that the series is now over, and we both chewed over some of the mysteries left unexplained in this third book – where has Nicodemus gone (he is nearing death in the book and has a “journey” that he embarks on) and where have the rats gone (when the kids take adults to Thorn Valley, the rats’ home is deserted and more).

Still, jumping into the world of the rats and their adventures, and concerns, is highly entertaining and this third book still keeps that part of the story alive, and allows you to think about rats in a different way. It also makes you wonder about those scientists in their labs, using rats and mice for experiments. At one point, my son said, “I don’t like the people in this book. Only the rats.”

But RT (real name: Artie) and Margaret as fine as characters, too, undergoing character changes as Margaret learns to be a bit more self-reliant and less harsh with the world, and Artie (who starts the book out as as a sort of “mute” child) begins to find his voice, and (in a nice touch) begins writing the story of the rats with a crayon on the wall of his closet, so that it won’t be forgotten.

Peace (in NIMH),


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