The Borrowers

The Borrowers


By (author) Mary Norton, Illustrated by Sian Bailey, Illustrated by Judith Elkin, Introduction by Julia Eccleshare

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  • Publisher: Puffin Classics
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 19mm | 233g
  • Publication date: 28 October 1993
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 014036451X
  • ISBN 13: 9780140364514
  • Illustrations note: b&w illustrations
  • Sales rank: 88,145

Product description

The Borrowers live in the secret places of quiet old houses; behind the mantelpiece, inside the harpsichord, under the kitchen clock. They own nothing, borrow everything, and think that human beings were invented just to do the dirty work. Arrietty's father, Pod, was an expert Borrower. He could scale curtains using a hatpin, and bring back a doll's teacup without breaking it. Girls weren't supposed to go borrowing but as Arrietty was an only child her father broke the rule, and then something happened which changed their lives. She made friends with the human boy living in the house...

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Author information

Mary Norton was born in 1903 and brought up in a house in Bedfordshire, which was to become the setting for The Borrowers. First published in 1952, The Borrowers was an imediate success, winning the Library Association's Carnegie Medal. There followed four more Borrowers books: The Borrowers Afield (1955), The Borrowers Afloat (1959), The Borrowers Aloft (1961) and The Borrowers Avenged (1982). Poor Stainless was the last Borrowers story Mary Norton wrote. She died in 1992.

Editorial reviews

This perfectly grand fairy story- an English import that won the Carnegie Medal for being the most outstanding children's book in 1952- has the qualities of imaginativeness and the breath of life itself that will endear it to the hearts of all-perhaps in the same way as the Mary Poppins stories. It is about the borrowers, a species of small people who are dying out because of the disappearing conditions under which they can thrive. For their "Borrowing" they need quiet old houses whose inmates live in such a way that they will let a family like Pod, Homily and Arrietty Clock, about the size of a pair of scissors, bo about collecting their needs without being seen. Kate, a modern girl, learns about them from old Mrs. May whose brother went to the country when he was a boy, met Pod, Homily and Arrietty and tried his best to save their home behind the old grandfather clock from the ruinous clutches of the housekeeper. Ultimately the best he can do is to help them escape to the fields- a precarious but not hopeless fate for them. A delightful land of maybe and the richness of detail and character study in Beth, and Joe Krush's drawings will have even the most doubtful hunting high and low. (Kirkus Reviews)