Margery Sharp


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(1905–1991), British author who lived principally in London and published adult and juvenile fiction as well as articles and plays. Sharp enjoyed a modest success with her adult novels and plays. The best known of these is The Nutmeg Tree (1937), produced in New York under the title Lady in Waiting (1940) and later as a feature film entitled Julia Misbehaves (MGM, 1948), featuring Greer Garson, Peter Lawford, Walter Pidgeon, and Elizabeth Taylor. Sharp achieved her widest fame for her juvenile titles in the “Miss Bianca” series published between 1959 and 1979. The Rescuers (1959), first of these, is an enchanting story of the Prisoners' Aid Society, a mouse organization dedicated to serving prisoners everywhere. It became an ALA Notable Book in 1959 and introduces the two mice who dominate the series. The first of these is the glamorous Miss Bianca, a white mouse who is the pet of the ambassador's son and lives in a lovely miniature palace. Bernard, hero of the last two stories, Bernard the Brave (1977) and Bernard into Battle (1979), is her faithful sidekick and devoted admirer in the earlier books. Together, they extend the work of the society from cheering up prisoners to rescuing those unfairly imprisoned. In most cases, these are human children who have been kidnapped or hidden away. Miss Bianca is self- confident, beautiful, and clever. Bernard is a prosaic, brown, simple working-class mouse who is also strong, able, creative, practical, and always modest. While simple, the books are very well written, with sophisticated language, subtle characterization, and imaginative plots that allude to a broader mistreatment of children by adults. The first and second (Miss Bianca, 1962) became a feature-length animated film (The Rescuers, Walt Disney, 1977), which was both successful and the focus of related merchandise sales such as dolls, picture books, and coloring books. Sharp's books still attract a wide readership of both children and adults.

From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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