Miss Bianca is a white mouse of great beauty and supreme self-confidence, who, courtesy of her excellent young friend, the ambassador’s son, resides luxuriously in a porcelain pagoda painted with violets, primroses, and lilies of the valley. Miss Bianca would seem to be a pampered creature, and not, you would suppose, the mouse to dispatch on an especially challenging and extraordinarily perilous mission. However, it is precisely Miss Bianca that the Prisoners’ Aid Society picks for the job of rescuing a Norwegian poet imprisoned in the legendarily dreadful Black Castle (we all know, don’t we, that mice are the friends of prisoners, tending to their needs in dungeons and oubliettes everywhere). Miss Bianca, after all, is a poet too, and in any case she is due to travel any day now by diplomatic pouch to Norway. There Miss Bianca will be able to enlist one Nils, known to be the bravest mouse in the land, in a desperate and daring endeavor that will take them, along with their trusty companion Bernard, across turbulent seas and over the paws and under the maws of cats into one of the darkest places known to man or mouse. It will take everything they’ve got and a good deal more to escape with their own lives, not to mention the poet.
Margery Sharp’s classic tale of pluck, luck, and derring-do is amply and beautifully illustrated by the great Garth Williams.
Margery Sharp’s mouse-centric 1959 adventure, The Rescuers, has only been out of print for a decade, but it is well worth revisiting. For one thing, it has just been reissued in handsome hardback as part of the New York Review Children’s Collection, with drawings by Garth Williams. For another, this new incarnation provides an excuse to rescue the story for a generation of children who might otherwise know only the animated 1977 Disney movie of the same name. As with most children’s classics, Ms. Sharp’s original work is much funnier and more interestingly textured than the high-fructose movie version.
—Megan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal
Miss Sharp’s delicate and sophisticated humor is good fun for wise children from age 10 to 100.
—Jerome Cushman, Los Angeles Times