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The Borrowers (1952)

by Mary Norton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Borrowers (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,6911101,110 (3.89)171
Miniature people who live in an old country house by borrowing things from the humans are forced to emigrate from their home under the clock.
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» See also 171 mentions

English (107)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (110)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
Mary Norton was one of my all time favorite authors as a child and I am pleased to say that her books stand the test of time as I still enjoy them as an adult. I find her premise to be super creative and well thought out and I really like her characters. I think the books are wonderful and I also think you should never watch the movie as it's awful and shouldn't even share a name with the novels. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |

“...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!”

Well that's a wonderful, fun book. Tiny people that live under the floor and steal Borrow whatever they need to survive/thrive from the 'human beans' that live in the house above.

It's a cute story. I love the characters, especially the Borrowers (a tiny teen is still a teen, and the mother's fear for her daughter and father's providing for the family hit home), although the full sized people are great to love and hate and get in the way as well.

The writing and world building is solid as well. There are constant mentions of things being reused in ways we'd never intend by people far far smaller than us. It really does feel like a real giant tiny world.

I think my favorite moment in the entire book was when Arietty meets the boy for the first time. Two children, living at once in the same and far far different worlds.

Well worth the read. I look forward to the sequels.

“Mrs. May looked back at her. "Kate," she said after a moment, "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.” ( )
  jpv0 | Jul 21, 2021 |
On a boring afternoon in a big old English house, Mrs. May tells a story to a girl called Kate - a story about the Borrowers, little people who live around humans and "borrow" what they need. Mrs. May's younger brother saw them when he was younger, and Mrs. May tells Kate the story of the Clock family: Pod, Homily, and Arietty. When Pod is "seen," the family contemplates a move, though Homily doesn't want to "emigrate." Arietty, however, makes friends with the human boy, and he delivers a letter to (and a reply from) some other Borrowers two fields away.

The language is old-fashioned but the story retains its charm. Audio version has an English accent, appropriately. ( )
  JennyArch | May 20, 2021 |
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
There's an old house where a little family of little people live under the kitchen floor: Pod and Homily Clock, and their daughter Arrietty. At thirteen, Arrietty longs to see what the world is like outside of her home, but Pod is the only one who ever ventures out to "borrow" what they need from the house. The danger of being "seen" by a "human bean" is too great—but a human boy who comes to stay at the house changes everything in The Borrowers by Mary Norton.

My, what a cozy and delightful adventure this classic children's fantasy story is! I first discovered and read it nearly thirty years ago, then I found the sequel, and then I saw two movies based on the books. Of course, that means the books' and movies' dialogue and happenings got a little jumbled in my memory...

So it was great to go back and reread the first novel. Even as much as I loved the story as a kid, it resonates with me on an even deeper level now, especially the differences between the two generations under the floor, the nature of Arrietty's longings, Pod's uneasiness with his wife's excited doings, and the impending need for greater change.

The climax is poignant and incredible, and goodness—now I wish I could remember just how well I understood the book's last line those decades ago. I don't recall its irony, its mystery, hitting me quite like this!

I'm looking forward to revisiting the sequel sooner than later. ( )
1 vote NadineC.Keels | Jan 16, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Norton, Maryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hague, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krush, BethIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krush, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stanley, DianaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Sharon Rhodes
For Orlena [1st U.S. Edition, Harcourt 1953]
First words
It was Mrs. May who first told me about them.
Mrs. May lived in two rooms in Kate's parents' house in London; she was, I think, some kind of relation. [First U.S. Edition (Harcourt 1953)]
Last words
Disambiguation notice
There are several film adaptations of The Borrowers, various book adaptations, and the original book itself by Mary Norton. This work consists of copies with the title The Borrowers but for which the medium (e.g. book or movie) isn't specified, and for which the author or director isn't specified. It should not be combined with the original work or with any specific adaptation.

If you have a copy of this work, please consider specifying the medium (e.g. video recording or book), and if it is a book, please consider specifying the author (or if it is a film, the director).
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Miniature people who live in an old country house by borrowing things from the humans are forced to emigrate from their home under the clock.

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AR 5.3, 5 Pts
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Average: (3.89)
1 7
1.5 3
2 43
2.5 7
3 231
3.5 53
4 331
4.5 26
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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