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The Rescuers by Margery Sharp

The Rescuers (original 1959; edition 1994)

by Margery Sharp, Garth Williams (Illustrator)

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7361419,177 (3.87)43
Title:The Rescuers
Authors:Margery Sharp
Other authors:Garth Williams (Illustrator)
Info:Little Brown & Co (Juv Pap) (1994), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Rescuers by Margery Sharp (1959)

  1. 00
    Miss Bianca by Margery Sharp (editfish)
    editfish: This book is a sequel to 'Miss Bianca'. It's not a serial book and you won't miss much (if anything) by reading them out of order, but the first book is very touching and explains how Miss Bianca got into the business of helping children at risk.
  2. 00
    Basil in Mexico by Eve Titus (cmbohn)

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My Vintage Book Circle liked this better than I did. I'm not much of one for talking animals. The illustrations by Garth Williams are really wonderful. A good adventure story for younger boys. ( )
  njcur | May 5, 2018 |
The Rescuers is a brilliant book, all about how mice go and save a Norwegian prisoner from the dreaded Black Castle. It is said throughout the world that mice are the prisoner's friend; they have a council called the Prisoner's Aid Society, and they go into tremendous efforts to cheer them up. But nobody, even a mouse, can cheer a prisoner from the Black Castle.
But, as the chairwoman points out, they can rescue one. All the mice say that this is absolute nonsense; how could a tiny mouse (well, a normal size to them) ever free a prisoner from such a secure prison as that? Well, the old and grand secretary thought that also, but the chairwoman seemed adamant with the idea. She picked Miss Bianca, a fiendish and beautiful mouse that the world had heard of, to find a fantastically brave mouse to do the job. She also chose Mr. Bernard to pursuade the delicate mouse to do so. Miss Bianca, after a reluctant row with him, soon decided to find someone; and she was on her way to see him, when she came across a Norwegian, and very brave, pirate mouse.
Now, Miss Bianca was hurriedly jotting down a particularly awful map of where the Prisoner's Aid Society was positioned, when Nils thought that she may as well come with him and show the way, instead of him mistaking a rosey hat for duck-and-goose-ponds. So, though her misson was, it seemed, already accomplished, Miss Bianca chose to go with him, and Bernard did too.
When at last the three mice found themselves at the very foot of the evil Black Castle, they thought nothing of where they were to sleep, and, moreover, live, over the course of the mission. "Mission Accomplished" would not, highly unfortunately, be shouted out at any time soon.
But the mission is indeed accomplished, and the Norwegian prisoner, who happens to be a poet, is finally rescued. He is set free, and the Rescuers win many medals, the 'Nils-and-Miss-Bianca-Medal', the 'Jean Fromage', and so and so. But then, the Black Castle owners have no prisoner. They need another. How will the Rescuers get along in the next sequel? ( )
  LaviniaRossetti | Sep 6, 2016 |
When first published in 1959, Margery Sharp had initially intended The Rescuers for adult readers like her other novels. But ever since its release with illustrations by Garth Williams (Charlotte's Web) it has been increasingly popular with children. Sharp eventually went on to write 8 more books in the series about these mice and their adventures.

At first glance, this book definitely appears to be a children's book; the New York Review Children's Collection edition from 2011 features Williams' illustrations every fifth page or so. But the themes in this book are overarchingly adult. For those familiar with either of the Disney films inspired by Sharp's novels, be assured that we are talking about a very different story here - there is no Madame Medusa or McLeach in sight. Rather, the primary antagonist is much darker - an anonymous government that has imprisoned (for reasons suspiciously unknown) a Norwegian poet in the deepest dungeon of an impenetrable prison ominously named Black Castle. The Prisoners' Aid Society (in the films, the Rescue Aid Society) is much the same but, as the name might indicate, has a focus on the incarcerated.

The constant presence of emotionally hopeless poetry throughout the book is probably a bit much for kids. Miss Bianca's torn feelings of whether to continue her life as a pampered pet or resolve to teach drawing to bring in money as the wife of a pantry mouse are positively mature. And the invisible and oppressing government (physically embodied only briefly by a literal fat cat) is a bit abstract for younger readers. But this miniature fantasy is charming, full of bravery and heart - and even a bit of grown-up reality.

I now find myself facing a curious perspective: Yes, more often than not, the book is better than the film - you'll hear that all the time from professional and amateur critics alike. Even though I have a deep and unflinching love of both films (yes, both) and I still cannot help but have that feeling. Sure, the stories are quite different, but Sharp's witticisms and daring characters now seem to exist beyond the page in name only: here, Bernard is braver, Bianca is humbler, the situation seems fraught with more danger than even the films can portray, and the sweet, neat, comfortably-tied-up endings are nowhere to be found.

www.theliterarygothamite.com ( )
  laurscartelli | May 21, 2016 |
An excellent story of daring and adventure. Don't miss the illustration of Bernard "armed to the teeth" in defense of his lady. ( )
  LaurelT | Dec 11, 2015 |
Extraordinarily well written, but in a sense written as much for adults as children. The feminism is overt, but simultaneously feminine. The romance is so splendidly funny. This was the start of a series, and the sequel, Miss Bianca, is nearly as good. ( )
  themulhern | Nov 15, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margery Sharpprimary authorall editionscalculated
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stehn, MalinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, GarthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, GarthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Ladies and gentlemen," cried Madam Chairwoman Mouse, "we now come to the most important item on our autumn program!"
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Two enterprising mice live up to the motto of the Rescue Aid Society, "We help anyone...anywhere," when they rescue a kidnapped orphan.

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