Title: Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines.
Author: Margery Sharp.
Genre: Fiction, children's lit, YA, adventure, fantasy, animals.
Publication Date: 1966.
Summary: Accompanied by the adoring Bernard (and a couple of professorial mice, more trouble than anything else), Miss Bianca ventures into the sinister reaches of a salt mine, in a response to a call for help from Teddy-age-eight. No child ever calls Miss Bianca in vain!
My rating: 8.5/10.
♥ “What d’you think of it?” he asked anxiously.
“Is that all?” asked Miss Bianca involuntarily.
“Well, I’m only a beginner,” said Bernard.
“And a very promising one,” said Miss Bianca, swiftly recovering herself. “That double rhyme in the middle is quite perfect!”
“It took me hours,” admitted Bernard. “But do please make any criticism that strikes you.”
Miss Bianca hesitated. Though she didn’t want to hurt his feelings, she was also too true an artist to pull her punches.
“To be frank, dear Bernard, I do seem to catch a sort of echo,” said she, “of our National Anthem...”
Bernard’s face fell.
“‘Cheese, cheese, beautiful cheese?’ D’you think that’s where I got it from?”
“Just possibly,” said Miss Bianca. “But do not be discouraged; I myself admit the influence of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Should we now perhaps join our friends in the igloo?”
What followed must almost be incredible to anyone who has not spent at least two days in the dreamy, twilit, unnatural atmosphere of a salt mine. Upon this slightest breath of criticism, Bernard instantly went off to drown himself.