The Borrowers great fun for big and little human beans

The Borrowers is the first novel in Mary Norton’s series of children’s books about a race of little people who live by borrowing whatever they need from “human beans.”

Pod and Homily Clock and their 14-year-old daughter, Arrietty, live beneath the floor boards in a an English country house. Arrietty is a typical teenager, longing for friends, freedom, and excitement. She aims for nothing less than saving her race.

Since her father has no son, he begins teaching Arrietty to borrow. When Arrietty commits the worst mistake a Borrower can make—allowing herself to be seen by a human—the result is disasterous. As Pod says, “No good never really came to no one from any human bean.”

The Clocks have to flee for for their lives into a world full of what Pod and Homily regard as hazards and Arrietty regards as adventures.

Like all good children’s books, The Borrowers is a pleasure for adults to read to, with, or without children. The descriptions and humor are too subtle for kids, but if you give them a place where they can cuddle up and see the delightful illustrations as you read to them, you’ll both have a wonderful few hours.

The Borrowers
By Mary Norton
First published 1952
Published in 1953 with illustrations by Beth and Joe Krush

This is another in our reviews of novels that were not bestsellers when they were first published, but have lasting value and continue to remain steady sellers.

© 2012 Linda Gorton Aragoni


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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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