The Rescuers (book)
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First UK edition
|Illustrator||Garth Williams (US)|
Judith Brook (UK)
|Publisher||Little, Brown (US)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Miss Bianca|
The Rescuers is a British children's novel written by Margery Sharp and illustrated by Garth Williams; its first edition was published in 1959 by Collins in the United Kingdom and Little, Brown in the United States. The novel is the first in a series of stories about Miss Bianca, a socialite mouse who volunteered to lend assistance to people and animals in danger.
The story begins during a meeting of the Prisoners’ Aid Society, an international organization of mice dedicated to accompany and brighten the lives of prisoners. When the old clerk informs delegates about the case of a Norwegian poet imprisoned in the Black Castle, the moderator lady suggests changing the traditional rules of the organization and try to rescue him. Despite the clerk's doubts, the company decides to try to carry out her proposal. To achieve this, they know they will need a Norwegian mouse who knows the language of the captive and they know that Miss Bianca, a privileged white mouse, will travel to Norway by plane accompanying her owner, an ambassador's son. The moderator asks Bernard, a resident of the pantry, to locate Miss Bianca in her magnificent porcelain pagoda and convince her to undertake the mission to find the bravest mouse in Norway.
Kirkus Reviews described the book as "an absurd and beguiling fantasy" that was "made to order for Walt Disney—but a strange departure for Margery Sharp", and shortly after its publication, Walt Disney Productions began developing an adaptation of the novel. The result was the animated film The Rescuers, released in 1977 and based primarily on the second novel in the series, Miss Bianca, with elements from the original novel.
In his 1997 collection of essays on children's literature, A Child's Delight, Noel Perrin noted that the book is very different from (and in his opinion far superior to) the movie, commending the book for its inventive plot and for the "ease and freedom", "elegance", and "irony" of Sharp's writing.
In 2011, a decade after going out of print, the book was reissued in a new edition by The New York Review of Books. Reviewer Meghan Cox Gurdon of The Wall Street Journal noted that the book "is much funnier and more interestingly textured than the high-fructose movie version."