Monday, November 17, 2008

The Secret of Nimh

Yes, I know The Secret of Nimh is a totally old book. I saw the movie when I was in elementary school, and thought it was excellent. When I taught first grade I read the book to my class. I think it might have been a little hard for them, at least for some of the students, but we talked a lot while we read and we watched the movie when we were done and compared and contrasted the book and movie. My oldest daughter is in first grade, so I convinced her that we should try these books out. My two oldest daughters both have enjoyed the first book and the subsequent two. When I watched the movie with them, I will admit I was not impressed. The books so, so much better. It seems like people have at least heard of the first book, but hardly anyone I know has read the next two.
In the second book, Racso and the Rats of Nimh, Timothy has gone off to school in Thorn Valley with the rats. He encounters, Racso, a rat from the city who also wants to attend school there. Timothy and Racso have a few struggles along the way, and therefore, don't arrive at Thorn Valley in time for the start of the school year. There are a lot of great connections to the first book that I pointed out to my girls so they didn't miss them. Jenner, the rat who left the Rats of NIMH in the first book makes an appearance as well. There was enough suspense to keep my girls begging each night for me to read more. After about 20 pages I would have to stop.
R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of Nimh is the third and final book in this set. RT (Artie) and his sister Margaret are lost in the woods near the rats' home. Artie, who is possibly autistic (although that is never stated) does not speak. Yet, when he encounters the rats, he is able to communicate with them and occasionally talks. He and Margaret are anxious to get home, yet they are becoming friends with the rats. When they finally do return to their lives will they be able to keep the rat's secrets? I am a little over halfway done reading this one out loud and I haven't warned the girls yet that this one has a little bit of a sad ending. As much as I want there to be another in this series, this third book is it.
There are so many new books coming out all the time, that kids and teachers might overlook this classic. Even after twenty plus years, there is so much to be enjoyed in all three books.

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