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The Rescuers (New York Review Books Children's Collection) [Hardcover]

Margery Sharp
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

15 Aug 2011 New York Review Books Children's Collection
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.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 149 pages
  • Publisher: New York Review of Books (15 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590174607
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590174609
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 538,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A devastating mixture of magic and fantasy."
Evening News

“Margery Sharp is an adept describer of situations; whether comic or merely piquant, embarrassing or exciting. Her dialogue is brilliant, uncannily true. Her taste is excellent: she is an excellent story teller”
The Tatler

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"You can't cheer a prisoner in the
Black Castle," said the old mouse.
"But you can get him out," said the chairwoman.

Silence falls among the mice at the meeting of the Prisoner's Aid Society when the chairwoman makes her daring suggestion. Who would be brave enough to rescue a prisoner from the terrible Black Castle? It's time to turn to – Miss Bianca!

"A devastating mixture of magic and fantasy."
'Evening News'

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No Illustrations! 1 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Rescuers is a 5 star children's novel. As a child, I loved any sort of mouse adventure stories, but none were as well written as Margary Sharp's 'Miss Bianca' series; and the best of these was easily 'The Rescuers'

However, Garth Willims' illustrations were not a part of this edition, and they really are part of the book. Try to imagine 'Alice in Wonderland' with only text and you'll see what I mean!
This will still make a good read, but I'm going to order antother edition with the illustrations: The Rescuers
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, dated, tale of mice and men... 16 Mar 2002
By Alissa Mower Clough - Published on
The Prisoner's Aid Society is a network of mice with a mission similar to that of Amnesty International, that is to cheer prisoners and work for their release. To this end, they have selected to rescue a Norwegian poet, held on unspecified charges in a citadel called the Black Castle in an unspecified European country that may or may not be behind the Iron Curtain. To do so, they must enlist the aid of a mouse who knows a) local Mouse, b) International Mouse, and c)Norwegian. To find such a mouse, Bernard, a pantry mouse with the Tybalt Star (for bravery in the face of cats) sets out to engage the services of the premier diplomatic mind of mousedom, the fabulous Miss Bianca, who lives with the Ambassador's Boy in a Porcelain Pagoda and travels by diplomatic pouch.
Miss Bianca is, in a word, a piece of work: ravishingly beautiful, with a small silver chain about her neck, she embodies Fifties ladylike femininity to a degree not seen outside of Tennessee Williams. Charming, adroitly diplomatic, but I'm afraid, a bit of a ditz, who, with a sigh, owns that she "knows nothing about machinery", frets and has a headache at the least provocation, is a fanatic for interior decoration, and is too dumb to know that most cats just want to eat her. Nonetheless, she finds Nils, a Norwegian seafaring mouse (somehow the joke would work better with a *rat*, I think), and the three go off to rescue Mr. Poet.
In the Black Castle, they face Mameluke, "the Head's" (of the prison) black Persian, subject of several of Garth William's most startling drawings. For an illustrator who's been a cornerstone of cute, Mameluke, done with all the round furriness of his work with Golden Books, is truly shocking, with a malevolent glare and alarming teeth, setting off Miss Bianca's Madame Pompidor fragility. The Poet (humans aren't named in this book, but all animals are) undergoes a series of changes in the illustrations as he goes from stunned half-starved fatuousness to handsome young manhood.
The good points of this book are many, for a sensitive parent: it's a good way to open discussions of things like world politics and diplomacy and so forth with a child in a way that doesn't take sides. The bad points are, well, it's a very campy book: its view of prison life is roughly identical to that of the boys in Huckleberry Finn, its view of poets, that of the late 19th century, and that of women...well, let's just say that the last woman I knew who acted anything like Miss Bianca was a man. The Mameluke illustrations are VERY frightening, and so are some of the others. Still, it's a good book. Give it a try.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rare children's book in which mice aid Norwegians 13 May 2005
By E. R. Bird - Published on
Disney has much to answer for. Through the years it's co-opted, retold, and twisted a whole range of interesting children's books and stories out there. No one denies this. However, Disney sometimes (without realizing it itself) does the world a boon. Take, for example, the case of "The Rescuers". Best known today as a cartoon movie in which Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart lend their voices to two adorable mouse rescuers of a little girl, few remember that the film originally began as a book series. Fewer still have read that series today. Yet for all its faults, Disney's movie still leads children to read Margery Sharp's impeccable little treasure. It is debatable whether or not people would still remember the book were it not for the film. What is not debatable is the fact that the book, for all its dated concepts and affectations, remains a wonderful classic.

The Prisoners' Aid Society is a noble institution. Run entirely by mice, the society strives to help cheer and aid a variety of prisoners held around the world. This they do for the good of the world around them, and their selflessness is to be commended. When it comes to the attention of the society that a Norwegian poet has been wrongly imprisoned in the legendary (and much feared) Black Castle, the mice waste no time in formulating a plan for the man's release. The first thing to do, however, is to locate a brave Norwegian mouse to speak to the prisoner. This would normally be a long and tedious process, but luck is with the society. Bernard, a solid sturdy brown mouse, is dispatched to enlist the aid of Miss Bianca. Miss Bianca is the white pet mouse of the ambassador's son and she has always lived in the lap of luxury. Soon the ambassador and his son will be leaving for Norway and if Bernard can convince Miss Bianca to locate a brave Norwegian rodent for their cause, the prisoner may stand a chance. Being a bit of a spoiled pet, Miss Bianca initially shies away from Bernard's pleas, but his good heart and her better nature prevail and soon she's involved in a world of intrigue and heroic mouse rescues.

It's a funny book to read today for a number of reasons. Because it was originally written in 1959, Miss Bianca is often spoken of as a lady. She's spoiled so she doesn't understand how act in the real world. So there is some interesting language regarding her complete confusion over things that "every" woman should know (like where a house's pantry is). I was personally surprised to find that for all her charms, Miss Bianca begins the novel as an ignorant little thing prone to fainting fits and ends the book a little wiser if still slightly affected. Bernard, for his part, immediately wins the hearts and minds of every person that meets him. You completely understand his selfless devotion to Miss Bianca. More shockingly to me, Miss Bianca seemingly returns Bernard's affections, even if she does place him second in her heart to the boy that is her master. Sharp's language is especially effective. Though I don't have clear memories of reading this tale as a child, the moment I came to the passage in which the evil jailer's room was covered in the bodies of beautiful impaled butterflies, suddenly everything came flooding back to me. Finally, Garth Williams the Great has lent his illustrative hand to the project. His pictures are fabulous. No author has ever quite mastered the combination of cutesy (as in the case of the mice) and downright horrific (the cat in this book will, with any luck, give every reader that sees it nightmares). Even if the text were not good, the pictures would be worth the price of purchase alone.

Books in which mice speak and interact with one another on an almost human level abound in the children's literary world. You have your "Poppy" by Avi and your "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" by Robert O'Brien. You have "Time Stops For No Mouse" by Michael Hoeye and "Basil of Baker Street" by Eve Titus. Add to the list, "The Rescuers", and you've a perfect platter of fabulous kiddie lit. This is one of those amazing classics that may forever be tied into its Disneyfication, but at least it'll be remembered. A beautiful book that more people should know.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book 12 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
The Rescuers is a book about how the brave mice Bernard, Miss Bianca and Nils a brave Norwiegan mouse, rescue and imprisoned Norwiegan poet from the horrible prison the Black House.This is a wonderful book and has many aspects that the Disney films do not cover. I would reccomend this book to anyone.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's criminal that these are out of print 18 Oct 2003
By Denise Patterson - Published on
The nine Miss Bianca books ARE old-fashioned in their views, yes, and not a THING like the Disney movie (thank goodness). You can say the same thing about a number of fairy and folk tales and that does not diminish their capacity to charm and delight. These books are filled with adventures where kindness and good hearts triumph over evil, but not in a sappy, maudlin way. What a terrible shame that these are out of print.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as I remembered! 2 Aug 2004
By Ellie Lief - Published on
Not many things in life can live up to the fond image your memory creates after many years of absence. Margery Sharp's Miss Bianca series can, I'm happy to learn. I recently bought the first three books of the series (The Rescuers, Miss Bianca, The Turret) to read with my kids. I'd read them when I was a kid and remembered -- more than remembered, I could even *feel* -- the carried-away-by-my-imagination thrill that I got when I'd first read them. Do you remember that from certain childhood books or games?

It was great; all three of us (my two daughters and I) were transported by these tales. Ms. Sharp's prose is luscious, wicked, rich. The tales are exciting, funny, preposterous. The stories are old-fashioned...there isn't a very firm commitment to reality. These are mice who rescue prisoners; reality would be inappropriate. But letting go of Facts can be asking too much of modern-day readers who are bound (by TV and movies?) to only visualize what Dreamworks would screen or Pixar would pixelate. Don't stop there! Let your imagination carry you beyond the Facts...well, anyway, have fun with some wonderful books.
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