Margery Sharp (1905–1991) published fifteen novels for adults before writing The Rescuers (1959), her first book for children. Born Clara Margery Melita Sharp in Salisbury, England, she spent part of her childhood in Malta before returning to England for high school. By the time she graduated with honors in French from the University of London, she had already begun publishing short stories; her work would later become a fixture in such American and British magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and Punch. Several of Sharp’s novels were serialized and a number became successful films, including Cluny Brown (screenplay by Ernst Lubitsch) and Britannia Mews (written by Ring Lardner, Jr.); the Rescuers series eventually numbered nine volumes and inspired two animated feature films from Disney.
Garth Williams (1912–1996) illustrated nearly one hundred books for children, including Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, A Cricket in Times Square by George Selden, and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Born in New York City to English artist parents, Williams lived in New Jersey, France, and Canada before moving to England in 1922. He had plans to be an architect but ultimately studied painting, design, and sculpture at the Westminster Art School and the Royal College of Art. Having returned to the United States after World War II, Williams found work at The New Yorker, where he met E. B. White just as the latter was finishing Stuart Little. Williams also wrote and illustrated several books of his own, including The Chicken Book: A Traditional Rhyme, The Adventures of Benjamin Pink, Baby Animals, and The Rabbits’ Wedding.
"Margery Sharp's mouse-centric 1959 adventure, The Rescuers, has only been out of print for a decade, but it is well worth revisiting. For one thing, it has just been reissued in handsome hardback as part of the New York Review Children's Collection, with drawings by Garth Williams. For another, this new incarnation provides an excuse to rescue the story for a generation of children who might otherwise know only the animated 1977 Disney movie of the same name. As with most children's classics, Ms. Sharp's original work is much funnier and more interestingly textured than the high-fructose movie version." -- Megan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal
“Miss Sharp’s delicate and sophisticated humor is good fun for wise children from age 10 to 100.” —Jerome Cushman, Los Angeles Times