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The Borrowers

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Beneath the kitchen floor is the world of the Borrowers -- Pod and Homily Clock and their daughter, Arrietty. In their tiny home, matchboxes double as roomy dressers and postage stamps hang on the walls like paintings. Whatever the Clocks need they simply "borrow" from the "human beans" who live above them. It's a comfortable life, but boring if you're a kid. Only Pod is allowed to venture into the house above, because the danger of being seen by a human is too great. Borrowers who are seen by humans are never seen again. Yet Arrietty won't listen. There is a human boy up there, and Arrietty is desperate for a friend.

180 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1952

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About the author

Mary Norton

102 books513 followers
Mary Norton (née Pearson) was an English children's author. She was the daughter of a physician, and was raised in a Georgian house at the end of the High Street in Leighton Buzzard. The house now consists of part of Leighton Middle School, known within the school as The Old House, and was reportedly the setting of her novel The Borrowers. She married Robert C. Norton in 1927 and had four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. Her second husband was Lionel Boncey, who she married in 1970. She began working for the War Office in 1940 before the family moved temporarily to the United States.

She began writing while working for the British Purchasing Commission in New York during the Second World War. Her first book was The Magic Bed Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons published in 1943, which, together with the sequel Bonfires and Broomsticks, became the basis for the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Mary Norton died of a stroke in Devon, England in 1992.

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5 stars
35,905 (37%)
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3 stars
21,248 (22%)
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1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,320 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
September 14, 2018
I have noticed that most people who borrow books do it in the same way the borrowers do it - to keep them indefinitely! That is how I lost my cherished copy of this classic. My sense of ownership lost a battle with my sense of missionary reading promotion. And here we are - The Borrowers are forever lost to me, at least in a visual, tangible sense. I can of course still "see" them in my mind, endlessly panicking about me - a human bean, no less! - having discovered their secret.

Lovely story full of beans, human and otherwise!
June 18, 2019
“...Borrower's don't steal."
"Except from human beings," said the boy.
Arrietty burst out laughing; she laughed so much that she had to hide her face in the primrose. "Oh dear," she gasped with tears in her eyes, "you are funny!" She stared upward at his puzzled face. "Human beans are for Borrowers - like bread's for butter!”

There are little people who live beneath the kitchen floor, inside the walls, behind cupboards and clocks: they call themselves the "Borrowers", because everything they need they "borrow" from us human beans. Arrietty is one of them, she lives with her mom and dad and no one else: she doesn't know anyone her age and so she's often bored and dreams of seeing the world. One day, her dad brings her along while going for an errand, and that's when she meets a boy, a human boy, with whom she starts a very odd friendship.

If you, like me, are an adult who enjoys reading children books, loves studio Ghibli and grew up reading fairytales, you should give this book a try. The atmosphere and the feeling of it it's just like the tales I used to read when I was child: those big illustrated books about elves, fairies and gnomes that live in our gardens. Such a classic, loving, wholesome read! Made me want to watch the anime again 💜

Profile Image for Jayaprakash Satyamurthy.
Author 38 books465 followers
June 1, 2012
I've had this book on my shelves for a few years, but I only got around to reading it after watching Studio Ghibli's gorgeous adaptation, 'The Secret World Of Arietty'. I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I got was a tougher, more tender novel than its premise - little people who live underfoot and steal everything they need from human beings - necessarily suggested.

This is a meticulous, honest book that doesn't condescend to its intended audience. The characters are all flawed, believable, even endearing with one exception. The miniature world of the borrowers is described in creative, convincing detail. The borrowers are very small people; their little hidey holes are scaled down to their own size and its only when Arietty goes on an expedition into the outside world with her father that she realises how small they really are: 'Swiftly he ran - as a mouse runs, or a blown dry leaf - and suddenly she saw him as 'small'. But she told herself, 'He isn't small, he's half a head taller than mother..'

Arietty's first encounter with the little boy who has come to stay in the house is brilliant; it's both a meeting between two children and between creatures from worlds that are alien to each other.

Her mother's reaction when the boy pries open the roof of their tiny house is another piece of fine writing: 'Homily screamed then. But this time it was a real scream, loud and shrill and hearty; she seemed almost to settle down in her scream, while her eyes stared up, half interested, into empty lighted space.'

This is a well-written, imaginative and moving novel by any standards. Writing for young readers - and I imagine that this book's natural audience would be between Arietty's age - 14 - and the human boy's - 10 - doesn't have to be a matter of writing down, and this is a good example of how to get it right.
Profile Image for Joel.
556 reviews1,667 followers
May 4, 2020
Day 17 of my Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge asks me to list the shortest book I've read, so here it is. I almost went with the Hobbit, but then I remembered The Borrowers. This is a book about a family of tiny people who live under the floorboards of a normal human home, surviving by pilfering stuff from the giants who inhabit it. I'd guess they are a few inches tall, so that's pretty short.

Certainly they weren't looking for the shortest book I have read in terms of number of pages, right? Because that is an asinine question.

I haven't read this book in, oh, 20 years, but it used to be a favorite. I always liked the idea of getting a totally new point of view on what would otherwise be very normal surroundings, and Mary Norton (who wisely spun this into a series, not that I read any of the sequels) thinks of a lot of creative uses for the household detritus the family of Borrowers uses to furnish their home -- bottlecaps become serving trays, scrap paper becomes wallpaper. They are the original freegans! (Unless you count hobos.) I think these details are what appealed to me as a child, as the story is otherwise what you would expect: the Borrowers live in fear of humans until one plucky girl is accidentally seen by a sad young boy, who doesn't turn out to be so bad.

Maybe it was because I was a small person, but I always liked stories of tiny creatures in very big places: A Cricket in Times Square, The Mouse and The Motorcycle, pretty much any cartoon with chipmunks in it (though here I am thinking "Chip 'n Dale" more than "Alvin and the..." Plus I just figured out that Rescue Rangers basically lifted its production design from this book).

Anyway, that it. The shortest book I have read. What a stupid freaking question.

Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 17: Shortest book you have read.
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
580 reviews4,063 followers
May 2, 2022
De esos clásicos infantiles encantadores, para pasar una tarde entrañable y ligerita. Es una historia sencilla pero contada con mucha habilidad, mostrándonos los objetos y lugares más comunes de una manera totalmente nueva. Tiene un punto bastante refrescante y para nada ñoño (lo que me sorprendió gratamente).
De las dos historias que vienen en este volumen me gustó más la primera, pero ambas merecen la pena si te gustan este tipo de clásicos.
Ahora a volver a ver Arrietty :3
Profile Image for John.
439 reviews32 followers
March 9, 2017
When I was in third grade, I was at the library with my dad and little sister. My dad asked me if I had a book to report on for summer reading, since we were there and everything.

The question blindsided me, so I said, "Yes."

I had not read the Borrowers, which I had checked out the week before. But I took the book and walked over to the library lady who was shelving books. I told her I wanted to report on this book I read for summer reading.

Now in those days, library summer reading was based on WHOLE books. Not just minutes one read or any such things. And there were no stickers. None that I recall.

Anyway, the library lady started to ask me to tell her about the book. So I started to tell her things I could figure out from the front cover of the Borrowers.

It became readily apparent that I did not read this book, so the library lady, looked up from her papers, since in those days, children's librarians did not make eye contact with children and mostly just SHHHushed everyone, loudly and rudely.

"Can you tell me ANYTHING that is NOT on the front cover?" she asked.

I stared at her.

"Come back when you have actually READ this book," she said, then looked down in the most viciously dismissive way possible.

I never did go back that summer. Nor did I ever read the Borrowers, that is, until yesterday. I read it, Ann Douglas, you cranky old library lady. And I can tell you all sorts of things that happened in it.

But I am not going to. You want to know why?


No Stickers, no Summary.

Profile Image for Jennifer.
926 reviews19 followers
March 19, 2009
More than just loving the story in this book I liked the idea of it. You had people that were smaller than a child being intelligent and resourceful and they were taken seriously. What child wouldn't love that? Plus little people who make furniture out of buttons and thimbles - it's just too cute.
Profile Image for Allison Tebo.
Author 19 books350 followers
July 13, 2019
Since I was very young, I have been enamored with miniatures. Bugs Life, Tinkerbell, dollhouses – anything tiny has always tickled my fancy and the idea of something like, say, a leaf being used as a hammock is altogether magical to me. This method of shrinking our known world makes the most ordinary surroundings and implements truly magical.

And while the characters and dialogue are so British to the point of being (occasionally) stilted with the dialogue can even be a tad incomprehensible at times, the adventures this little family goes through are something that anyone can appreciate and their yearning for a home is a classic theme that is completely relatable. A delicately written and imaginative little adventure that is not to be missed.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,206 reviews104 followers
December 26, 2022
The Borrowers (which won Mary Norton the 1952 Carnegie Medal) tells the story of a family of "little people" (simply depicted and presented by Norton as being diminutive humans and not ever approached or seen as the traditional dwarves, fairies, elves, brownies of folklore) who reside beneath the kitchen floor of a deteriorating English country home, and with the parents, with Pod and Homily Clock caring for their adventurous and also quite educated daughter Arrietty by borrowing what they need (and sometimes also a little more than this) from the human “beans” who live up above, but to not arouse suspicion, the Clock Family members, they tend to borrow only things that will generally not be missed, such as sheets of blotting paper and old cigar boxes (and from these items make a life and a comfortable, livable and loving home for themselves).

And the storyline of The Borrowers, it actually begins with a frame narrative of young Kate sewing a quilt with her aunt Mrs May, and Mrs. May telling her niece the (reputedly true) story of The Borrowers, how her younger brother (known in the story as simply the boy) once befriended a young Borrower named Arrietty Clock whilst visiting the house from India (to recuperate after an illness) and how this ended up creating a lot of chaos. For while the boy's (for while Mrs. May's brother's) friendship with Arrietty and her family is wonderfully described by Mary Norton as indeed and definitely being totally genuine, there is also in The Borrowers an ever-present and constant threat and fear, as suspicious and totally horrid housekeeper Mrs. Driver (and yes, as an adult reader, I do think that Mrs. Driver might be a direct link by Mary Norton to creepy housekeeper Mrs. Danvers from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca) both despises the boy, keeps snooping and is totally freaked out and creeped out by the "Borrowers" when she discovers them and their home beneath he floor boards, and like an absolute fairy tale villain then locks up the boy and hires a fumigator to exterminate the Clocks (whom Mrs. Driver basically considers as rodents and disgusting thieves). And while the boy does finally manage to escape and to break open the grating in hopes of providing his friends with an escape route, we never really know in The Borrowers whether the Clocks have in fact managed to save themselves, since the boy is dragged by Mrs. Driver to a waiting taxicab and taken away (and that even Mrs. May as a girl trying later on to prove the existence of the Borrowers, this still leaves everything rather open-ended, with there being at the end of The Borrowers quite a bit of hope that Arrietty and her family might have managed to escape from Mrs. Drivers' clutches but also there not really being any rock-solid proof and lots of unanswered questions).

Now aside from the obvious themes of friendship permeating Mary Norton's text for The Borrowers (and the realisation that friendship is sadly not always sufficient in a world of adult animosity, lack of understanding, acceptance and often downright nastiness), there is also a sense of smallness and vulnerability present, (and not just for the Borrowers, not just for the Clocks, but also for the boy, for basically anyone who is small, like of course children). And while my adult reading self is kind of a bit annoyed and impatient at times regarding how frightened and how timid in The Borrowers Pod and even more so Homily Clock are generally described as being (and probably mostly because I am often rather impatient with myself) my childhood reading self (who was indeed really shy, timid, always afraid of strangers and of anything new), she really appreciates and adores that Mary Norton obviously never forgets with and by her words for The Borrowers just how vulnerable children can feel, what it is like to be small, timid and scared (and that The Borrowers totally gives voice to this and are a delightful and wonderful kindred spirit reading experience for children and also respectful of their fears and questions).

Five stars, highly recommended, and I am actually also really quite annoyed that I did not experience The Borrowers during my childhood (and I am of course now also planning on reading the sequels). And yes, Mary Norton's story and her textual understanding and appreciation of childhood and of how much there is or can be that is potentially frightening, how this is brilliantly and empathetically presented in The Borrowers, this would have been appreciated bibliotherapy when I was young and often felt really quite at odds with and scared of the world around me.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,062 reviews31.3k followers
October 3, 2017
Charming! This story is charming and a lot of fun too. Little people living in a big English house. Sadly they are discovered. I enjoy how the story is told. Two woman are knitting a quilt together and the older begins to tell a tale that her brother told her. The brother was part of the story. This is the beginning and the end. Mary only gives us a hint of what really happened at the end. It makes for a sly story. This book brought me much joy. I will be reading more of this series.

The story is from the 50s and I think it can still be enjoyed by everyone today. It is timeless.
Profile Image for Magdalith.
352 reviews109 followers
March 23, 2022
Miałam 10 lat gdy cykl o Pożyczalskich zrył mi mózg. Ale tak serio. Następny raz tak mocno książka zawładnęła mną chyba dopiero jakieś 15 lat później (i był to Harry Potter).
Nie wiem, czy potrafię to obiektywnie ocenić, bo teraz podczas lektury wszystko wróciło, jestem cała w emocjach (tych samych, co dawno dawno temu). Cały ten fantastyczny pomysł na pewno rozpala wyobraźnię dzieci, ale myślę, że to jest bardziej powieść obyczajowa i psychologiczna, niż literatura fantastyczna czy nawet przygodowa. Pokusiłabym się też o stwierdzenie, że autorka przemyca tu wiedzę o społeczeństwach, uczy, że na świat można patrzeć z różnych perspektyw (i że nasza nie jest jedyną słuszną), pokazuje różnice między konserwatystami a postępowcami oraz mówi, że wybór między wolnością a bezpieczeństwem jest bardzo trudny. No i napisała postać odważnej, niezależnej, głodnej wiedzy dziewczynki, która chce czegoś więcej, niż życie w ciemnej dziurze pod podłogą. Uwielbiałam Ariettę! Jedyne, co mnie zupełnie nie obeszło w dzieciństwie, a teraz poruszyło, to smutna postać chłopca, który spotkał (już chciałam napisać "odkrył", ale nie! Precz z perspektywą dużego człowieka! O tym też jest ta książka) i pomagał Pożyczalskim. Tak naprawdę dramat samotnego dziecka. Nagle zrozumiałam, dlaczego tak mocno wierzyłam w ich istnienie i dlaczego najbardziej na świecie chciałam ich spotkać.
Profile Image for Tisha.
367 reviews904 followers
April 3, 2017
ছোট্ট এক মেয়ে আরিয়েত্তি থাকে তার বাবা-মায়ের সাথে। তারাও ছোট্ট! সত্যিকার অর্থেই ছোট্ট মানুষ তারা সবাই, পিঁপড়ের চেয়ে একটু বড় হবে হয়তো! তারা থাকে তাদের চেয়ে আকারে অনেক বড় মানুষদের বাড়ির মেঝের নিচে। সেই বাড়ি থেকে এটা-সেটা সংগ্রহ করে জীবন চলে তাদের। এজন্যই তাদের নাম ‘The Borrowers!’ কিন্তু সবসময় তাদের খুব সাবধানে থাকতে হয় যেন বড় মানুষরা তাদের দেখে না ফেলে!

আরিয়েত্তি তার বাবার সাথে জিনিস সংগ্রহের অভিযানে যায় একদিন। আর সেই সময়ই সেই বাড়ির একজনের চোখে পড়ে যায় সে! এরপর ঘটে নানা রকম ঘটনা, যার মধ্যে কিছু ছিল আনন্দের, আর কিছু বিপদ ডেকে এনেছিল আরিয়েত্তির পরিবারের জন্য!
এসব নিয়েই বইয়ের কাহিনী। এই কাহিনীর ভিত্তিতে মুভিও তৈরি হয়েছে অনেকগুলো।

সুন্দর বই এবং ছোটবেলা থেকেই খুউউউব প্রিয় বই। প্রত্যেক অধ্যায়ের শুরুতে আবার সুন্দর সুন্দর স্কেচও আছে! ছোটবেলায় লেখা���ুলো ঠিকঠাক বুঝতাম না, কিন্তু ছবিগুলো দেখেই খুশি হয়ে যেতাম! :')
1,132 reviews84 followers
April 7, 2020
I read this book years ago and loved it then. It was so nice to re read it and remember the story of The Borrowers. Although it’s a short book it didn’t spoil it at all. As I was reading it I remembered the tv series from awhile ago so the characters became more lifelike to me.
This is a timeless book and whether you are young or old it’s a story for all ages.
Profile Image for bex 🌱.
194 reviews15 followers
September 10, 2019
I do absolutely love the premise of this book, but the actual reading experience I found rather boring. The idea of ‘the borrowers’ is so fun, however the plot and writing were much less engaging for me.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,335 reviews
February 3, 2012

I feel quite certain my mom read this to me when I was little, and that it made a big impression on me. I even remember naming one of my Barbies Egglatina! The story has has many wonderful aspects that many children will enjoy, such as the Borrowers being little people that live, hidden away, in our homes and "borrow" (steal? that is open to interpretation) things from us. If you miss a pencil, or postage stamp, and you feel quite sure you really *did* leave it *right there*--well, perhaps a Borrower has been visiting? (I sure like that idea better than just being plain forgetful, haha!) There is adventure and daring, and so many darling descriptions of the the wee objects the Borrowers use to make their home (I was obsessed with all such things when I was little--doll houses, fairy houses--and since I didn't have a "real" doll house, much like the Borrowers, I used what I could to make doll furniture and things)

This is the version I read:

I love that cover because it really highlights all the lovely things the Borrowers have and seems so illustrative of their life, what they do, very close to how it's written in the book. (And Arrietty is writing in her journal--it's perfect!)

However, reading it as an adult, I feel like I got even more from the story. I was really impressed with the writing style and the wit, the insights into character foibles... Some of the passages are just so beautifully written (the garden, sigh!) and I thought Arrietty's dreams and determination to make that happen (without being completely unfair to her parents) was very poignant. As was what happened to the Boy. (Actually, there was a lot more peril in the story than I expected, some unsettling aspects, that some children may not like. I obviously elected to give Egglatina a happy fate through my own imaginative play!)

I am not so sure how much I loved the beginning and ending, with young Kate talking to the Boy's sister (now an old lady) who is telling the story of the time her brother met the Borrowers. It lends a hint of melancholy to the story, knowing the fate the boy met. And I was so wrapped up in the story of the boy and the Borrowers that when it ended (and we switch back to the old woman telling Kate that was "the last time my brother saw the Borrowers") it was so jarring. I can't quite decide if this was brilliance or a shortcoming on Norton's part. I think I was satisfied with how it all ended, and really liked one aspect, but I'm not entirely sure how I feel about all of it. I won't say more because it will be a spoiler. But, if you have read the story you and if have thoughts about the very end (something to do with PENMANSHIP), please drop a line in the comments! ;-)

All in all, I really did love this book and I am so excited to see the Studio Ghibli film soon. I didn't realize that there is a whole series about the Borrowers, so I may have to read more and wonder if the film will incorporate more or just this first book? I look forward to finding out.

Profile Image for J. Aleksandr Wootton.
Author 8 books147 followers
July 21, 2021
I suspect, to experience its magic, one must either read it aloud to a small child, or else be that small child being read to.

For by the time one reads a story so successfully ubiquitous as an adult, one is reading a trope; and even though it is original, well-devised, and charming, and has a coy frame story which leaves it up to the reader what to believe (and, therefore, what to see), it fails to make a strong impression.

I probably owe this book another go... perhaps after watching the anime adaptation from Studio Ghibli.
Profile Image for Sophie Crane.
3,902 reviews122 followers
March 31, 2021
I love the twists and myths of the Borrowers, often coming into actual life conversations, usually as an excuse for something going missing... which may not be far from reality after all. Seriously, whilst we may no longer be losing our thimbles, the remote control and the odd sock are still a mystery and may not be far away at all...
Profile Image for Kandice.
1,561 reviews249 followers
August 17, 2020
This was so nostalgic! I devoured these tales over and over as a young girl. My RL (Zoom in the time of COVID) book club decided to read this and watch three versions of the movie adaptations to compare. I forgot how truly charming these were!

I intended to read this a bit at a time over three days or so, but I finished it all in one sitting. I love the Borrowers and little Arietty most of all. Norton fabricates the sweetest notion of why things end up missing. Why is there always need for more pens, pins, safety pins, needles, etc? They are manufactured by the 100s of thousands and yet you can never find one when needed. It's because the small people who live in the walls of our homes make use of them when we leave them lying around!

Norton describes this little family's home is such a charming way. The illustrations are fantastic, but I can see everything we don't get in illustrated form. Everything she describes makes such perfect sense and seems so logical.

I'm pretty sure I will reading the rest of this series before too long. I can't wait to encounter Cousin Dinky again!
Profile Image for DeB.
999 reviews252 followers
August 20, 2016
I was the bane of my teachers in elementary school, because at that time there was so little fiction available for a speed reading ten year old who had finished every Nancy Drew (no Junior editions) written, any L.M. Montgomery books the little local library owned plus the ones from my GR.3 teacher's daughter's shelves, every series I could find... So my teachers ended up scrounging whatever fiction they thought might be appropriate from any grade. I was transfixed by The Borrowers. Still am!
Profile Image for Sara.
564 reviews177 followers
March 29, 2015
This is a childhood must. Must. Absolute must. Something about the incredible creativity and wholesomeness of this book puts it on my most dear classics shelf next to Narnia, Pooh, Paddington, Betsy Tacy, Stuart Little, Five Children and It and Cowboy Small. The Borrowers is magical and creative and full of wonder and awe.

In many stories we talk about the power or genius coming from specific characters, events or actions. In Narnia we love Aslan and the story arc and values the inspire greatness in the characters. In Pooh we revel in the simple wholesome attitudes of friendship and love that permeate all of the decisions. In the Borrowers, we do not look to the book for the genius but the author. A bit like Tolkien in Middle Earth, we celebrate not what happens in the book but the actual landscape that Norton has created. It isn't that we particularly love Homily or Pod or that we can really relate to Arrietty that prompts us to keep reading. It is more of our own curiosity about HOW they live that propels us forward. Before there is any doll furniture in the house, these little people "borrow" everyday items from the rest of us that they use in totally different ways for their everyday existence... postage stamps as wall art... blotting paper as rugs... carpet fibers turned into brushes. These little Borrowers teach us much about creative ingenuity and stewardship of resources all while we are having incredible fun!

I am so very glad that this is only the first in a series of books and that many have said that the others are equally good.

Profile Image for The Dusty Jacket.
288 reviews26 followers
August 30, 2022
It is said that there are people who were so frightened, that each generation grew smaller and smaller and became more and more hidden. They’re often found in quiet, old houses that are deep in the country. They became known as the “little people” and one nine-year-old boy actually met some of these people who he came to know as the Clocks: Pod, Homily, and Arrietty. They were real. Absolutely real. He swears by it, but he is just a little boy and quite prone to fantasy and make believe. Or is he?

Buckle up because Mary Norton gives readers plenty of action, adventure, and danger along with some rather devious villains (isn’t Crampfurl just the perfect name for a baddy?) and one unassuming and unsuspecting hero. For underneath the kitchen floor is a world that captures the imagination and delights the senses. A world where matchboxes are dressers, postage stamps are works of art, and blotting paper makes for a rather smart rug. It’s the world of the Borrowers and it’s been captivating readers since its publication in 1952.

It’s easy to see how The Borrowers has become a classic and why Norton followed this book with four successors. Although I liked its themes of family, friendship, and trust, I truly appreciated that Norton didn’t shy away from making her main characters flawed and, at times, unlikeable. Afterall, it was not their discovery by the “human beans” that led to their ultimate downfall, but rather it was their own pride and greed. Albert Einstein once said, “Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear, and greed.” Perhaps Homily Clock could have benefitted from these words.

The Borrowers has everything that a young reader would enjoy…except for the ambiguous ending. Just when you think Norton has everything buttoned up, she throws in one final sentence—just four little words—that turns the entire story on its ear. Now, if I had been a reader in 1952 and had just read the last page of this wonderful story, I might be a little miffed at our Mrs. Mary Norton for leaving me high and dry. Thankfully, this isn’t 1952 and I know that not one but FOUR sequels await me, which means that the dear Clocks were not only real, but that they did in fact survive their hopeless fate. But perhaps Norton predicted what her readers’ reaction would be and tried to offer them some bit of solace and hope when she had Mrs. Kay say to young Kate, “…stories never really end. They can go on and on and on. It’s just that sometimes, at a certain point, one stops telling them.” Thankfully, the Clocks’ story does go on and it will continue to go on as long as there are readers who keep telling and sharing it.
Profile Image for Amy.
390 reviews40 followers
February 7, 2017
My favorite parts are the description of the Borrowers' home and the possibility of discovery at the end. :)
Profile Image for Laura Waxman.
94 reviews2 followers
December 24, 2022
I read this in a couple hours' time. Absolutely delightful story. Wish I'd grown up reading it
Profile Image for Theresa.
33 reviews9 followers
June 17, 2008
I regarded The Borrowers with merciless scorn when I was actually at the age where reading The Borrowers was appropriate--I found it boring. However, I have since come to love the adventures of Homily, Pod, Arriety, Spiller, and the Hendrearies. There are several Borrower books I believe--The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, the Borrowers Aloft, and the Borrowers Avenged. The stories are as whimsical as can be, but Norton writes with Victorian edge and can make the mood dark and foreboding as well--when we first learn of the Borrowers they are not described as fairies, but rather uncanny little beings who are proud and delusional about their place in life and the prevalence of their kind. The descriptions and the illustrations make it what it is and for the sort of Victorian/children/fantasy genre that this is, I was surprised by Norton's ability and much appreciated choice to bring this unexpected depth to the characters--each one has a great deal of humanity about him/her. For example, Homily is painted as an illiterate wife and mother. She loses calm in emergencies, she is poor now but she remembers a time when they lived in great splendor and she clings to that. She is proud and materialistic, foolish and obsessed with the comforts of living and showing up the neighbors and relatives. For anyone who still loves simplistic yet brilliantly painted fantasy saturated in detail.
Profile Image for George Ilsley.
Author 12 books237 followers
November 1, 2022
A family of little people, who live unseen is the house, and survive by borrowing what they need from the oblivious humans.

This was a book I reread often as a child, although was never that captured by the subsequent series. There was a satirical element I enjoyed, how the Borrowers held up a mirror to themselves and the family they lived with, exposing them all and their relationship to a critical view.

The Borrowers are very much into recycling and re-purposing. It’s amazing how useful a matchbox can be! Also, all those lost items in our lives?—their puzzling disappearance can be explained by the crafty Borrowers.

It’s funny how some books will shape a childhood. This is one of mine. And I’d read it again right now if a copy fell into my hands.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,204 reviews1,329 followers
April 2, 2022
There's been a few noticeable movie adaptations of Norton's classic tale, but it's the BBC version of the early 90's that I so fondly remember.
Penelope Wilton and Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins!!) will always be Homily and Pod to me.

I love the notion of little people making use of such mundane items that us 'human beans' take for granted.
It's so true that we seem to buy an endless supply of items like pins and paper clips but always seem to lose them...
Norton taps into that idea that perfectly.

The threat of the clock family being discovered really adds a sense of danger as teenage Arrietty wishes to explore the outside world - but at what cost?

Such a fun sweet story that sparks the imagination of where does our misplaced items really end up.
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