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on June 14, 2000
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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on July 27, 2000
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... Things started to happen, creating chaos in the lives of the Clocks.
When I read this book last time, I was sad that the boy didn't see the Borrowers again and I wanted to know what happened after this book. I didn't know that there were sequels to this book then. A couple of days ago, I found the sequels to "The Borrowers" and I can't wait to read them. I really feel that "The Borrowers" has an interesting and orginal storyline that can be enjoyed by all.
0Comment55 of 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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. Mary Norton's creation of the tiny race of borrowers is an imaginative achievement in itself, but she does not stop there. She gives poignance to her tale by telling it through the voice of the boy's sister, now an old lady, who tells us at the start that her brother has long since grown up and died a `hero's de!ath' on the North-West frontier. The old lady seems to believe her brother's tale of the borrowers, and yet at the end of the book she provides evidence to suggest that the borrowers may have been nothing but a product of her brother's imagination. The reader is left wondering about reality and truth. On another level, in the relationship between the borrowers and the human world, parallels with the misunderstandings and confusions which occur between different cultures can be discerned. The uncertainties the borrowers face and their final exile mirror the plight of our world's increasing number of displaced people. Long after the book is finished, the characters and the questions their story raises reverberate around the mind. The Borrowers is a book which will fascinate, intrigue and entertain.
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on January 2, 2012
If I'm to pay $4.50 for this Kindle book -- no doubt about the same I'd pay for the paperback -- I would expect not to have to run into common OCR errors that take so much away from the reading enjoyment. Is it too much to ask to have the scan proofread? If it had been free I would not complain, but it bothers me to no end that a Kindle edition can be sold as an equivalent of the printed version, but not be subjected to the same scrutiny before publication. Shame.
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on March 10, 2004
This book is the second book in a series by Mary Norton about little people who borrow what they need to survive from humans.The borrowers from book one are Arrietty, Homily and Pod. They continue their story in this sequel. In this book other borrowers are introduced. These include Spiller, Uncle Hendreary, Eggletina(one of Arrietty's three cousins) and Aunt Lupy.
In the beginning, I found this book to somewhat boring. It was a narrative from a human called Kate. She was the girl who learned of this story in book one. She and her Great Aunt Sophie travel from their home in the city to the country where Great Aunt Sophie inherited a cottage. This cottage is near where the borrowers story started. There was a complication however. It seemed that someone else lived in that same cottage. This man was now old. He lived there in the cottage for 80 years. Kate and Great Aunt Sophie want to find out if the story of the borrowers is real or not. Old Tom Goodenough is the man who lived in the cottage. He was also the young man in the original story who was brought in to use his ferret to try to get the borrowers out of the house. He remembers the borrowers. He had Arrietty's diary and let Kate read it. The book then flashes back to the actual time when Arreitty, Homily and Pod are escaping from the big house and trying to survive in their new world.
They had to try to find the Badger Set where they think other family mambers are living. This is the story of their journey. Arrietty, Homily and Pod find an old boot and decide that it would be their sleeping area. They had to drag it with them during the day, while they looked for the badger set. You could say this was an early camping trailer. They had a hard time finding the badger set, and decided to secure the boot under a stumps root and use it as a permanent home. Arrietty met Spiller who helped them. He supplied them with meat, tea, candles and a lot of other things. Spiller would borrow these items from a number of souces. He used a tin soap box for a boat and floated up and down the stream. Things were going well and then the frost came and then the first snow. They ran out of food and had to rely only on some wine that Spiller gave them. They got drunk and forgot to cover their entrance and a gypsy who was the owner of the boot, found it and took it home. Arrietty, Homily and Pod were still in the boot!
This is where the book gets really good. I won't ruin the surprise of this books ending for you.
I found this book a little hard to get into at first. I wish Mary Norton could have gotten to the plot line quicker. I like to read about how they survived and what they used to survive. Once I got into the main part of the book, I could not stop easily. It was suspensful. I wonder if Mary Norton will allow us to be introduced to other borrowers and further the story line with Arrietty, Homily and Pod. I like these characters and want to find out what will happen to them. I guess I will have to continue and read the rest of this series. Maybe you will hear from me in a review of The Borrowers Afloat.
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on January 24, 2006
Long before there were Littles or anyone shrunk their children, Mary Norton had written this warm and wonderful series about a race of tiny people who live hidden in quiet country houses and "borrow" their livings from the human inhabitants. Their lives depend on remaining unseen and unsuspected.

But little Arietty Clock, who lives with her parents (Pod and Homily) is a naturally curious girl and lonely besides. When, on her very first trip out to Borrow ("The Borrowers," 1952), she is "seen" by a little human boy, she becomes friends with him and sets off a chain of events that will threaten her family's very existence -- and make staying in their home beneath the kitchen floorboards impossible.

In this second tale (1955), Pod, Homily, and Arietty set off across country, searching for long-lost relatives in the hopes of finding a new home and a new life. Despite the dangers (owls, badgers, insects, etc.), Arietty loves the freedom of living outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. They set up housekeeping in an old boot and soon meet Spiller, a half-wild huntsman Borrower, who has the knack of showing up in the very nick of time to provide food, news -- and help. But they are reminded of their vulnerability when the gypsy Mild Eye finds and traps them. Pod and Homily, having no other option, must go against all of their instincts in order to survive....

With her "Borrowers" series, Mary Norton accomplished what few writers are able to do: she created a group of characters that become real through her words; and a fantasy world that is so realistic that readers young and old will be lost in it, and will look at their own world differently forever after. Though each stands alone, the first four tales read as fluidly as if they are all parts of one larger book -- indeed, they have been published as a single volume in the past -- and can be read consecutively without excessive and tiresome rehashing of the previous plots.

The books are billed by booksellers as written for 8-10 year olds, but they are ideal for reading aloud to younger children; and adults too will enjoy the sheer fun they contain. I first read them when I was ten -- long before "Avenged" was written and answered my longstanding questions about the Borrowers' fate. All five books remain in my reading cycle, to be reread every few years in their entirety. By stages funny, thrilling, and poignant, these lovely books will capture your imagination and keep you turning pages all the way to the end.
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on March 21, 1998
This is a great tale of a tiny family living under the floor in a house. It shows how the father goes up into the house when everyone is asleep and "borrows" things his family needs or wants. He must only borrow things that will NOT be missed. They are not to be seen by the "big" people. Some of their relatives were seen and had to move from their home to stay safe. Once seen the "big" people will bring in exterminators and try to catch the tiny people (they think they're rats). In this story, the Borrower's daughter befriends the young boy of the house. He does NOT try to harm the family. Mater of fact, he befriends them and brings them things they need. Unfortunately, the Borrower then feels useless and their house gets cramped. It's a great book for young children (and even adults to read). It's easy to get lost in the story, even when you know people like this cannot exist. I won't tell you the ending, you need to read it for yourself. I highly recommend this book.
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on September 7, 2001
The first in a wonderful series that weaves a spell nothing short of Magical! This is the type of book that takes you to that place where anything is possible, even to the point of belief in "little people" living under the floors in your house. Buy it for your child, then read it to awaken the child within yourself. You'll see your world from a different perspective whether you're 6 feet or 6 inches tall, whether you're 8 or 80 years old the entire "Borrowers" series is truly Pure Magic!
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VINE VOICEon May 17, 2000
I first read this classic when I was in grade school and haverevisited it every five or so years -- I rare thing that I reread abook or short story at all! I was engaged in the lives of the "little people" in their Victorian lives, pleased by the strong characters who even for their day were not quite as stereotyped as I feared they might be. A wonderful book for children and parents to read together.
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on June 13, 2001
This Fantasy book by Mary Norton is a fabulous book, rich in details. The plot is simple and easy and for a kid, it's not too hard to follow. Kids will be intrigued by the unique lifestyle of The Borrowers, short people who live under houses and live strictly from borrowing from the humans who live in the house above.
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