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The Borrowers (1952)

by Mary Norton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Borrowers (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,4021251,018 (3.91)192
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 192 mentions

English (121)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
AR: 5.3
  ASSG.Library | Mar 15, 2024 |
I'm going to start my review with a digression. Often parents will ask children's librarians some form of this question: "Can you help me find books for my second grader who reads at an eighth grade level?" What they want is something challenging, but not too mature. Most times, I point these parents towards classics. Children's books written before, say, 1960 (if they're still in print) tend to be wholesome and full of unfamiliar words and complex sentence structures. So, bingo! There you have it. (I will also tell parents that just because their kid reads at an eighth level, doesn't mean they shouldn't be reading good books for second graders.)

The Borrowers definitely falls into this wholesome/challenging classics genre. I chose it for my middle grade book club this summer because it matches our theme (Dig Into Reading!) and because I have some smart cookies in the group and I want to see if they enjoy a book with a very different kind of appeal than most of the books I pick (our other books this summer were [b:Holes|38709|Holes (Holes, #1)|Louis Sachar|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327781893s/38709.jpg|1679789] and [b:Gregor the Overlander|262430|Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1)|Suzanne Collins|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1173234171s/262430.jpg|524491]).

Though I shouldn't have been, I was surprised at how deep this book was. I especially liked this exchange (from page 84 of my copy):

"...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!"

This is an amazing lesson on perspective. Still, I only gave the book three stars because I didn't fall in love with it. I enjoyed it, and was impressed by it, but it didn't have the magic for me. Maybe because I'm a grown-up and I never read it as a child. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
The Clock family--Homily, Pod, and their fourteen-year-old daughter, Arrietty--are tiny people who live underneath the kitchen floor of an English manor. All their minuscule home furnishings, from postage stamp paintings to champagne cork chairs, are "borrowed" from the "human beans" who tromp around loudly above them. All is well until Pod is spotted upstairs by a human boy! Can the Clocks stay nested safely in their beloved hidden home, or will they be forced to flee?
  PlumfieldCH | Dec 7, 2023 |
Although I have no specific memories of it, I know that I read The Borrowers when I was younger. I'm certain my younger self enjoyed this whimsical tale of miniature people living within the walls and under the floorboards of an English estate, borrowing food and clothing and brick-a-brac from the humans above. The people who exist for the Borrowers' convenience. What's interesting in rereading it as an adult is to see adult themes subtly introduced and know that many of the novel's finer points were probably lost on me. That the mild feminism displayed in Homily's admonition of her husband, Pod, that if he had a son he would have already taken him borrowing (after he refuses to consider taking his daughter) was lost on my adolescent innocence. That the personalities introduced, the shrewish Mrs Driver, the not-so-dotty Great Aunt Sophy, the Boy and especially the narrator's unnamed brother entertained me without necessarily causing me to think too hard about the way the world works.

Seventy-plus years afters its publication, The Borrowers is still a great book both for children to read and adults to revisit (or read for the first time, if you've never had the pleasure). ( )
  skavlanj | Sep 24, 2023 |
What fun to revisit a childhood favorite!! ( )
  Fish_Witch | Jul 4, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (74 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Norton, Maryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bailey, SianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hague, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krush, BethIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krush, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stanley, DianaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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: (3.91)
1 7
1.5 3
2 44
2.5 7
3 256
3.5 54
4 375
4.5 29
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