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The Borrowers (The Borrowers #1)

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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  56,189 ratings  ·  934 reviews
The Borrowers are tiny people hidden away in houses and safe places, living off what they borrow from human Beans. Pod and Homily want daughter Arriety to be safe, never seen, but she feels lonely and trapped. The Boy visiting Great Aunt Sophy brings doll furniture in exchange for Arriety reading, until mean housekeeper Mrs Driver calls the rat-catcher.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1952)
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Joel
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? Becau...more
Jennifer
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.
Kathryn
4.5 STARS

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, perh...more
Rainbow
I read this book to my 6 year old, which was a surreal experience because I remember reading it (or having it read to me) when i was his age.

I LOVED this book. Then and now. It's so sophisticated, especially the humor and vocabulary ... It made me realize how different children's books are now. Not that they're dumbed down -- but they're so conscious of their readers' limitations. You get the sense that all of the words have to come off grade-appropriate spelling lists.

Anyway, some of this book...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
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,...more
Theresa
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 dar...more
Jackie
These books SOOOO appealed to me as a young girl, especially the alternative uses for all of their "borrowed" objects. I was forever creating little towns with their own stories in the vacant lot next door and I think that in Norton I found a kindred spirit who fed the fire of my already very active imagination. I may just have to go back and read these again for old times sake.
Jess Michaelangelo
I read pretty much constantly as a child, so I'm not sure how I missed out on this one until now, but I'm seriously bumming about that. I would have loved this as a kid.

It was such an imaginative story, and I can imagine that it's led many children over the years to wonder what was living in their houses with them. I especially loved that the way Mrs. May told the story of the Borrowers left the fact of their existence up to the reader. Those were my favorite kinds of stories as a kid. I went t...more
Laura
FRom BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Adaptation of the children's classic following the adventures of the tiny Clock family. Stars Clare Corbett.


R.John
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 o...more
Drebbles
Arrietty Clock and her parents, Pod and Homily, are tiny people who live beneath the floor of an old house and `borrow' the things they need from the humans who live in the house above. At one point, many borrowers lived in the house, but the others emigrated for various reasons and only the Clocks live in the house. While her parents seem happy, Arrietty longs to see the world outside. Her mother finally persuades Pod to take her borrowing and her first time out, she meets the boy upstairs. The...more
Trish
The narrator was quite good. The kids loved imitating the English accent and the different silly inflections that Homily was given. They found her totally ridiculous. Hearing the story added a new dimension for me. I remember reading Borrower books as a kid, but I had no idea they were so British. Of course, I didn't know much about the UK when I was a kid. I liked the innovative world of little people living in hidden places of a house that no one really thinks about, and it's so true that some...more
Katelyn
1. Fantasy

2. The Clock family are borrowers, a rare and tiny people, that live at the bottom of a grandfather clock. They must borrow things from average size humans, which makes things difficult for them. The struggles they face are large and life threatening, but they are determined to persevere.

3. A- This is an accurate example of a fantasy, but the real life setting makes it relatable for readers.

B- I love this story because of the details and thought provoking setting. It forces readers t...more
Sajeda Assenjee
I remember reading this when I was younger and having read this again it does not disappoint.It is a must read.The Borrowers is the story about the Clock family-Pod,Homily and their daughter Arriety who live under the grandfather clock.They live by "borrowing" from "human beans" upstairs and their greatest fear is being discovered or eaten by the cat!
Pod goes borrowing -match boxes for chest of drawers,a sardine-can for a bed and crumbs for foods.His daughter is tired of living underground and w...more
Nishita Patel
As I love my classics, and I remember giving this book a read a few years ago, I thought it'd be quite repetitive and i'd know what would happen very well. But unfortunately, I missed out a few key points. And after reading the book again, I absolutely enjoyed reading the book. The idea of the 'little people' and how they 'borrow' just makes the book more exciting, and allows the reader to dissolve in the fantasy. The way the story unfolds of how the fear of the 'big people' and how they manage...more
Susan McNally
Just looking back at the cover of this wonderful book takes me back to the absolute joy of reading the Borrowers series as a child. Young female charcaters in those days were often slightly "pale" and unadventurous but not Arriety Clock! She was fantastic and drove her parents Homily and Pod to distraction, until the day she was seen by "them" upstairs...Unforgetable, unputtable downable and magical. If you have a child aged 9/10 or you love fantasy adventure stories this is a gem. Thank you Mar...more
Wealhtheow
Tiny people live in your house! A tiny little girl and her parents live out their daily lives under the baseboards of an old house. They furnish their home with items "borrowed" from the larger home (the girl sleeps in a bed made from a cigar box). Although years ago there were many "Borrowers," there is only one family left. This is an odd story, with that dark sort of whimsey that has fallen out of favor since the second world war.
Jackie "the Librarian"
I was fascinated by this book as a kid - I think I could relate to feeling small in a world dominated by giants. I liked the sneaking around through a secret passage under the clock, to come out and explore the house at night. My favorite part was the description of Arriety's room, with its accompanying illustration. I wasn't so pleased with the sulky boy, who ended up ruining everything for Arriety's family.
A quirky Victorian classic!
Lisa
I wish that I would have read this when I was a child, but somehow missed this one. A fun, little book that keeps moving and gets one to imagine a whole new world under the floorboards. Nice to think that this is where all my misplaced items go, must be a huge nest of socks somewhere in my house!
Kristen
Although I know I loved this book as a child, I'd kind of forgotten about it until a boy came up to me in the library the other day with the book in his hands. I said, "Oh, The Borrowers, I loved that book! Are you liking it?" He said yes and then looked around to make sure no one was close, leaned forward over the desk, lowered his voice, and said, "And I think there are borrowers in my house. I had a piece of paper and I know exactly where I left it and now it's gone." And all of a sudden, I w...more
Claire Conlon
The Borrowers written by Mary Norton is one of my all time favourite books. I remember reading it when I was in year 4 and I was still able to relate to the ‘clock’ family as I also felt like a mini person sometimes. The Clocks were a little family who lived under the floor of a normal family. The Clock’s borrowed items such as thimbles and buttons that the normal family never realised were gone but were very useful for them. Arrietty Clock is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clock and she wants to...more
Jeremy
This book is basically about little people "borrowing" things from human "beans" and MUST avoid being "seen" or else they are forced to emigrate. This book talks about one family in particular. The Clocks. The Clocks are your basic every day borrowers but when Pod has been "seen" by a boy who is a guest of the house, Homily persuades Pod into taking Arrietty borrowing but on her first day on the job, she has already been "seen" by the boy. After Arrietty has the boy send a letter to Uncle Hendre...more
Judy
This was absolutely one of my favorite books when I was growing up. I don't remember how old I was when I first read it but I do know I read it many times.

Borrowers are little, tiny people about the size of mice who live between the walls and under the floors of houses. They furnish their rooms and get their food and objects by "borrowing" from the house. The biggest danger is being "seen."

Arrietty Clock, the nine-year-old daughter of Pod and Homily, who sleeps in a cigar box bed and writes her...more
Dusty
I've heard it said that the mysteries inside our homes are far more interesting than those of the world outside our homes. Thus come Mary Norton's Borrowers, a "race" of little people who live under the floorboards of an old English house and "borrow" from the house's human owners their food, their furniture, even their books and blotting paper.

The Borrowers series is five-books long (I think), and when I was in elementary school, back in the early 1990s, I read them all. Even then the books we...more
SarahC
It looks like I must continue with the series now! I had read some of the series as a child -- I am pleased to see there are more of the books I didn't know of. I loved this first book in the series as much as when I was young. It is a captivating story of the Borrowers living close little lives just in the shadow of our own lives. They are inventive and industrious with a good bit of perseverance, but they are class-conscious and troubled and some believe they are just afraid of life so they ha...more
Rosemary
Before you get spirited away by movie versions of this book, read it! Mary Norton's miniature main characters live under a couple floorboards and scavenge from human 'beans' for a living, a circumstance that, as you may imagine, is ripe for adventure. A cutesy fairytale it is not; rather, like the best books written for young audiences, this narrative is genuine, uncondescending, and a skillful study of human nature. Get an edition with the Beth and Joe Krush illustrations if you can. And don't...more
Kanon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rickella Griffiths
I first read this book when I was in Primary School and then again whilst I was teaching a year 4 class, I liked reading this book as a child and as adult.
I love their alternative uses for all of their borrowed objects. It is fascinating and adventurous. This book tells a story of a borrower family called the Clocks. Pod and Homily Clock and their 13 years old daughter, Arrietty all live under the floorboards. The borrowers are a miniature-sized people who live under the floorboards. They survi...more
Catherine
I remember really enjoying this book as child. The idea that there were little people living in houses and 'borrowing' things to survive was a fascinating idea to a child.
I've just finished reading it aloud to my 6 year old son who thought it was great - and wanted to know if I thought we had borrowers in our house. I suggested that maybe they were the reason we had so many single socks! :-)
A lovely story, and really quite short, so a fairly quick read for a younger audience.
Amanda
I don't know how I missed this book as a child, but I am very glad that I read it. The writing is absolutely amazing! Reading this made me long for a time when children's stories were so well written. It seems that none of the newer children's books I have come across are particularly well written (nor are the stories themselves always interesting). Maybe I just haven't happened upon any good ones. If that's the case, please feel free to recommend some.
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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...more
More about Mary Norton...
The Borrowers Afield (The Borrowers #2) Bedknob and Broomstick The Borrowers Afloat (The Borrowers #3) The Borrowers Aloft (The Borrowers #4) The Borrowers Avenged (The Borrowers #5)

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“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.” 3 likes
“...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!”
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