Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is a 1971 children’s book by Robert C. O’Brien, with illustrations by Zena Bernstein. The winner of the 1972 Newbery Medal, the story was adapted for film in 1982 as The Secret of NIMH.
The novel relates the plight of a widowed field mouse, Mrs. Frisby, who seeks the aid of a group of former laboratory rats in rescuing her home from destruction by a farmer’s plow, saving her son from pneumonia, and of the history of the rats’ escape from the laboratory and development of a literate and technological society.
The work was inspired by the research of John B. Calhoun on mouse and rat population dynamics at the National Institute of Mental Health from the 1940s to the 1960s.