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The Borrowers Kindle Edition

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Length: 196 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Age Level: 7 - 10 Grade Level: 2 - 5

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Editorial Reviews Review

Anyone who has ever entertained the notion of "little people" living furtively among us will adore this artfully spun classic. The Borrowers--a Carnegie Medal winner, a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award book, and an ALA Distinguished Book--has stolen the hearts of thousands of readers since its 1953 publication. Mary Norton (1903-1993) creates a make-believe world in which tiny people live hidden from humankind beneath the floorboards of a quiet country house in England.

Pod, Homily, and daughter Arrietty of the diminutive Clock family outfit their subterranean quarters with the tidbits and trinkets they've "borrowed" from "human beans," employing matchboxes for storage and postage stamps for paintings. Readers will delight in the resourceful way the Borrowers recycle household objects. For example, "Homily had made her a small pair of Turkish bloomers from two glove fingers for 'knocking about in the mornings.'"

The persistent pilfering goes undetected until a boy (with a ferret!) comes to live in the country house. Curiosity drives Arrietty to commit the worst mistake a Borrower can make: she allows herself to be seen. This engaging, sometimes hair-raisingly suspenseful adventure is recounted in the kind, eloquent voice of narrator Mrs. May, whose brother might--just might--have seen an actual Borrower in the country house many years ago. (Ages 9 to 12)


Praise for Mary Norton's The Borrowers:
"A book that begs to be shared."--The Horn Book

"The magic and charm of the writing convince children and grown-ups, too, that Borrowers really do exist."--School Library Journal

Product Details

  • File Size: 7146 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2003
  • Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,216 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

227 of 237 people found the following review helpful By Nana Annie on June 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I was a child of 12 or 13, I loved the Borrowers books. The idea of a family of tiny people, living in my own house and taking, for the most practical of purposes, things we'd thought we'd lost was quite enjoyable. The best part of the books, for me, were the descriptions of what they did with the buttons and baubles they risked their lives to 'borrow' - (imagine bumping into our family cat late one night while you're trying to lug a teacup back home).
Because I was a young girl who thought girls could do anything, I didn't really appreciate Arrietty's spunkiness. As the only child of the last Borrowers in this household, she's allowed to do many things her own mother hadn't done as a child. And perhaps because she can do some things her mother couldn't, she moves a step further and does whatever any boy could do.
I thought I could read these books to my 8 year old, who loves the Harry Potter series and The Wrinkle in Time books, but these books are too difficult for little kids (even those reading at an advanced level).
The language is very British and there are side explanations that are much too lengthy. Evidently I missed, as a pre-teen reader, the notion that the Borrowers might have been fabricated by the boy who was narrating the stories. (It is rather absurd to think that they were made up - I've lost too many socks and earrings in my lifetime, so I know Borrowers exist.)
Before the John Goodman version of the movie, we watched British video of The Borrowers and The Return of the Borrowers (great for younger kids). It was excellent, even though the special effects aren't where they were in the American version, the British version was excellent.
For those 11 and up (to 111) this is a great series to read.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By jyosefin on July 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book 10 years ago when I was still in Primary School and I instantly became a fan. I still remember that it was my home tutor , Ms Sim, who introduced me to this book. Now 10 years later, I re-read this book and still love it. I feel that anyone and everyone can enjoy this book, not only the kids.
The Borrowers are actually a race of little people. They believed that the human 'beans' lived to provide for them. The Borrowers loved houses that were very organised. The residents of the house must always follow a pattern of behavior so that the Borrowers could 'borrow' things from the house without being 'seen'.
"The Borrowers" tells the story of a Borrower family - the Clocks. They were Pod and Homily Clock and their 13 years old daughter, Arrietty. Why were they called the Clocks? The reason was simple enough. It's because this particular Borrower family lived under the kitchen floor but the entrance to their home was behind the old grandfather clock. So the last name of a Borrower could be anything, depending on where they lived. There were the Overmantels, the Rain-Barrels, the Bell-Pulls, the John Studdingtons (they lived behind the picture of John Studdington), the Boot-Racks and so on... The Borrowers loved to live a long way off from the entrance to their home.
Arrietty was a curious girl who had dreamed of going out to see the world other than the world under the kitchen. One day, her father agreed to let her go 'borrowing' with him. One that day, she was 'seen' by a boy (a human 'bean' boy) who had gone to lived in that house because he was unwell and needed time to recover. The boy has assisted the Clocks with their 'borrowings' later on. But good things are always not meant to be forever...
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By z higgie ( on March 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The Borrowers is a book for losers. Not the modern kind of loser, but people like me who are always losing stamps and pins and pens. The book tells the story of Arrietty Clock and her parents, 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. A postage stamp becomes a painting for their wall, pins become knitting needles. Even Arrietty's parents' names - Pod and Homily - are borrowed.
Life has never been easy for the borrowers, but now times are changing for the worse. The Sink family in the scullery, the Broom Cupboards, the Rain-Pipes and even Uncle Hendreary and his family have emigrated. Only the Clock family remain, living in fear of Mrs Driver, the housekeeper upstairs. When Pod comes home and says that a boy is living upstairs and that the boy has `seen' him, Pod's wife, Homily, is thrown into panic.

Arrietty, however, is intrigued. While her parents cling to the dubious safety of the life they know, Arrietty wonders about the world outside and dreams of adventure. She persuades her reluctant parents to let her accompany her father on his borrowing expeditions. On her first venture out, she meets the boy upstairs. A dangerous friendship develops. Meanwhile, Mrs Driver stalks the borrowers, full of the sort of cruelty Roald Dahl would have been proud to create. It is only with the boy's help that Arrietty and her parents narrowly escape Mrs Driver's attempts to destroy them. At the end of the book, Arrietty faces the dangerous adventure of emigration.

Like all great books for the young, The Borrowers can be read as an enthralling story of adventure, but also contains many layers of meaning.
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Topic From this Discussion
Borrower type books for younger readers
Check out The Nezovats in Despair. It's a bit darker, but it's for YA, and along the same theme. (
Dec 17, 2008 by Michael Zyskind |  See all 2 posts
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