Monday, October 16, 2006

The Rescuers, by Margery Sharp

I stumbled across this book at the library when I went to pick up another title. The Rescuers waved at me from the shelf. I rather enjoyed the Disney cartoon classic (1977) by the same title when I was growing up. The characters of Miss Bianca and Bernard saving young Penny and her stuffed teddy bear from Madame Mudusa and her hungry pet alligators were just fun. The idea of two mice being sent out to rescue a young and very cute orphaned girl is imaginative. I didn't realize that the Disney version was based on a series of books.

The Rescuers is a quick read and is entirely unlike the cartoon classic, although still just as fun. The character's were most definitely based on Sharp's vision for them. Miss Bianca is a "high society" rodant and Bernard lives in the pantry. However, their roles were something of a reverse between the book and the movie. The book portrays Miss Bianca as living the high life with no knowledge of life in the "real world." The smell of tobacco makes her sick and in the book she has to overcome the habit of fainting at the slightest provocation. Bernard, on the other hand, is more on the ball and "to the rescue" sort. In the movie, these roles are rather reversed.

The other difference between the book and movie is that the mice in the book belong to the Prisoners Aid Society and their mission is to comfort prisoners and, in some cases, to help them escape from jail. This is the mission for Miss Bianca, Bernard and another mouse by the name of Nils in the book. Still I can't help but sing the tune in my head as I read, "R-E-S-C-U-E . . . Rescue Aid Society! Heads held high! Touch the sky!..." (Gotta love Disney songs.)

The Rescuers is a very cute book. An old library card taped in the back of this library copy has it stamped as acceptable reading for "Grades 5 and up." However, I think it would be an excellent read-aloud book for kids much younger than that! It's a story in keeping with The Wind in the Willows and Charlotte's Web. Very fun. Here's a list of the other books in Sharp's Rescuers series:

The Rescuers (1959)
Miss Bianca (1962)
The Turret (19??)
Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines (19??)
Miss Bianca in the Orient (19??)
Miss Bianca in the Antarctic (19??)
Bernard into Battle (19??)
Bernard the Brave (19??)
Miss Bianca and the Bridesmaid (19??)

I may have to pick up some of these books from time to time and slowly read through the series.

1 comment:

At A Hen's Pace said...

I knew the movie was based on a book, but never knew if the book was worth reading! Thanks for the review!

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