When Margaret and her younger brother, Artie, get lost in the woods on a family camping trip, they are rescued by rats the superintelligent rats of NIMH. Taken into the rat's community, the children are safe for the time being. But winter is coming. Margaret and Artie have to get back home. And when they do, they must protect the rats who have helped them. Everything depends on their silence... but it's hard to evade questions forever. Children's Choices for 1991 (IRA/CBC)VOYA's Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror 1990Parenting Honorable Mention, Reading Magic Award
About the Author
Jane Leslie Conly's first novel, Rasco and the Rats of NIMH,an ALA Booklist Children's Editors Choice, and its sequel, R-T, Margaret and the Rats of NIMH,were included on a multitude of state library masterlists. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed Trout Summer (an ALA Notable Children’s Book and Best Book for Young Adults) and the Newbery Honor Book Crazy Lady! She lives in Baltimore, MD.
Read an Excerpt
"This might be it."
Racso, his black beret cocked at a jaunty angle on his furry head, stood staring into the contents of a clay beaker. He took a step backward, forward, to the side, then twirled neatly around in a silent dance. "I mean, Isabella, this really, might be it!"
Isabella, a taller rat with curly whiskers, looked skeptical. "This is only the hundredth time you've said that this month, Racso."
"Yeah, but that was before I added the honeysuckle. The honeysuckle makes all the difference."
"it might make all the difference, is what you mean." Isabella shook her head in disgust. "I have to go. I'm in charge of dinner tonight."
Racso grinned. "I was hoping you were. And I've been hoping we could have carrots baked with honey, like you made last time."
"Then you should have asked right from the start., instead of acting like you'd made a great discovery. "
Racso looked injured. "You should give me the benefit of the doubt. Elvira thinks my potion made Brutus's shoulder heal a lot faster than usual. I saw him by the pond yesterday, and he was hardly limping at all." Brutus had been climbing the mountain trail the month before and had been attacked by a hawk.
Isabella rolled her eyes. "I'll put your picture up beside Louis Pasteur's."
"That's enough! No bickering in the laboratory." An older female rat stood in the doorway.
"Elvira!, I thought you were down by the brook, gathering herbs."
"Well, I'm back. And I'd like a littlepeace and quiet, if you don't mind."
"I've mixed up something new," Racso said quickly. "I added some honeysuckle to the stuff I made last week, and I think.
"Out!" She brushed his words aside, smiling. "I need to concentrate, and that means being alone."
"You can help me pull up the carrots," Isabella said. "We'll need at least a hundred."
So she was going to make his favorite dish! Racso was pleased. As they walked down the central hallway of the rats' huge nest, he couldn't help remembering his first trip down that corridor, almost two years before'. He had been a runaway from the big city, tired and scared; and Isabella had scorned him. He'd been afraid to tell her who his father was, because he was afraid she would scorn him even more. Jenner had been one of the super-intelligent rats who'd escaped from the famous laboratories at NIMH and founded their own colony. But Jenner had argued with the other leaders, and had returned to the city an exile. Later he had died a hero sabotaging a dam that would have flooded Thorn Valley. And Racso and the other rats in the sabotage unit had returned as heroes, too. After that, Isabella's attitude toward Racso had changed, and for the better.
"Gonna meet my sweetie tonight. Racso sang softly. They passed the school-out of session, because it was summer-the meeting room, the nursery, then the many_ arched doorways that led into the rats' bedrooms. Racso pointed to the door of his own room. just that morning he'd tacked a piece of birch-bark paper to the wooden door. It was decorated with flowers and hearts drawn with pokeweed ink, and in the center, in fancy lettering, was the message:
Racso, had practiced the special curlicues that went on the a's for two days before he'd made the sign, and he was happy with how they'd come out. But Isabella didn't seem as excited as he'd thought she'd be. Instead, she stood there staring at the sign and pulling on her whiskers as if something was bothering her.
"Don't you like it?"
"Uh . . . sure, Racso.
"Did I spell your name wrong or something)"
"No, you got it right. . . ." Isabella hesitated. "But there is something I'd like to talk to you about. . . .
Racso scowled. That sign was a work of art! She certainly didn't appreciate him the way she should. They entered the dining room, Isabella striding ahead. There were a few rats sharing lunch out of big wooden bowls; Racso guessed that they'd been working somewhere far off and had gotten back late. He noticed his own bowl, with his name engraved on it, near the bottom of a stack of dishes. When he'd first come to Thorn Valley, he'd been appalled by the rats' menu: vegetables, vegetables, vegetables, with here and there maybe a few fruits and nuts mixed in. He'd taught them to make candy, now a favorite treat for the whole community, but for the most part he'd just had to get used to eating their way. Sometimes he still thought about the corner deli on the street where he'd been born. At night he and his friends would sneak under the lunch counter, finding pieces of barbecue potato chips and crumbs from a jelly doughnut.
"Racso!" Isabella tossed him a bag woven out of vines, and took another one for herself. "We ought to be able to fit all the carrots in here." She took a knife from a rack on the kitchen wall. "This is all we'll need-we can cook them outdoors. That'll keep the kitchen from getting too hot."
A moment later they were standing in the big back doorway, flooded with sunlight. Thorn Valley was lovely in summer: The mountainsides were covered with laurel and rhododendron, and the meadows were yellow and pink with clumps of buttercups and wild roses. Directly in front of them a slate walkway bordered by wild geraniums led to the pine grove by the brook. Over to the right were the gardens: square plots filled with beets and turnips and lettuces and cabbages and sweet potatoes and wild asparagus and peppers.. Between these were blackberry thickets...R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH. Copyright © by Jane Conly. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I gave this book a 3 because it went into a book tat involved PEOPLE SAVING the RATS! I agree that it should have went into a different story, like Justin trying to find his family (wich was recomended already)! I have read the first two in 6 days and fell in love with the serries, i was excited to read Margret and the rats of nimh, but sadly I was greatly dissapointed!
I THINK THS WAS AN OK BOOK. I HAVE ALSO READ MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH AND I THINK IT WAS BETTER.
I've been reading ever sence I was little and when I got my hands on this series and others I couldn't stop. You and others will enjoy these books forever. I've already read the series a full eight times. I hope you have fun reading books.
This wasn't my favorite book in the series.We want to know about the rats not the poeple! 2(Rasco and the Rats of NIMH) looked like Justin was going back to find his parents. She could have wrote about that! I gave it a four becuase i loved the other books soo much!