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The Borrowers (Puffin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Judith Elkin , Mary Norton , Sian Bailey
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Mar 2003 Puffin Modern Classics
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...

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Classics; New Ed edition (6 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014036451X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140364514
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 294,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon 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 fit out their subterranean quarters with the titbits 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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Beautifully written, poetic and almost always alarming, the Borrowers have something very mysterious, sad and exciting about them (Sunday Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It was Mrs May who first told me about them. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting 27 Oct 2003
Unknown to the humans who seem to rule the Earth, they actually share the world with a race of little people, the Borrowers. Living beneath the floorboards, and anywhere else they can remain unseen, the Borrowers live by "borrowing" what they need from the "human beans." This is the story of one family (Pod, Homily and Arrietty Clock), their life in a spacious home, their borrowing, and their efforts to stay unseen. But Arrietty wants to see what else there is to life, and she is going to see it!
This is such a wonderful book. The story is charming, with the illustrations showing a realistic (if tiny) family. My children loved this story, and even have developed some games based on the story. If you have children, then please consider buying this book for them.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute! 30 Aug 2006
I never read the Borrowers as a kid, but I do remember seeing them on telly. When I came across an old copy at a fleamarket the other week, I decided to read it. Being an adult I still enjoy children's books, as so many of them now are "cross overs" that works well for both adults and kids. This one however, is made only for children. Though I did enjoy the story, and it's witts, it moves forward in a pace PERFECT for youngsters (7-9yrs). But it gets boring for us "grown-ups" after a while. Never the less, the book is a classic, and it is not a classic for nought. It IS good, funny and charming. And I am planning to read the next installment as well.

It tells the story of a family of borrowers, little people, just like you and me, that lives under the floor of an old house. They are the size of mice, and get by from things "borrowed" from the big people. Of course being out on a hunt for things to borrow is very very dangerous. You might be seen by the "giants" (us) or get cought by cats and many other dangers that lurk. It aint easy being safe when a doormat looks like a big field with high grass!!!

M. Norton is very good at describing just that, how things would feel and look when you're the size of a teaspoon!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I cannot believe that no-one has reviewed this classic! I adored it as a child (it was a wonderful explanation of the mystery disappearance of household objects)- the idea is very appealing, plus the style of the narrative is down to earth and so keeps away from the potentially cloying 'fairy' idea (the borrowers themselves are scornful of the subject). It is a great addition to the children's bookcase- an enjoyable discovery or re-discovery depending on the age of the 'child'.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would they "borrow" from your home? 18 Aug 2007
Have you ever pondered where your hairclips, bobby pins and thimbles have gotten to? Do you wonder why small quantities of your father's tobacco and Madeira seem to smoke themselves or evaporate? Did your wooden knight ever ride off the chessboard never to be seen again?

You don't even know what I'm talking about, do you? OK, so have you ever lost your iPod Nano? Maybe the Borrowers needed a stereo for their home entertainment system. The same thing happened to your Nintendo Gameboy.

Mary Norton's "The Borrowers" published in 1952 is about a race of little people living beside a rain pipe, over the mantel, behind the harpsichord and in all the nooks and crannies of the house. These little people "borrow" from us, the big people. They use blotting paper for their carpets, a single onion ring for their cooking and postage stamps for wall portraits.

In the book, Pod, Homily and Arriety are the last Borrowers left in Aunt Sophy's house. They lived in the floorboards under the kitchen ad entered and exited their home from a hole behind the grandfather clock. They weren't rich but they had everything they needed - potatoes for their supper, a gas pipe leak for their cooking, a foie gras dish for their bath. Pod, the father, ventures into the house every now and then for supplies.

This is the story of how Arriety, after being allowed to go borrowing with her father, befriended a nine-year old boy who was a visitor in the house. Then their lives change forever: They discover news about their Borrower relatives, gain new riches and then lose everything they own.

This is a good story to read in a big house on a rainy afternoon. Perhaps you can explore the house for little corners where a Borrower may be living.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More wonderful Borrowers 29 Oct 2003
In this sequel to The Borrowers, the Clocks, having lost their home, must now set up a new life in a lost boot. Arrietty finds the outdoors exhilarating, while Homily finds it dangerous and extremely dirty. The Clocks know that there must be other Borrowers somewhere, but where are they, and how will they find them in such a big, wide world?
As with the last book, this one contains a charming story that is well accompanied by illustrations that add a lot to the simple words. These books are considered children's classics, and it's easy to see why. My children loved this book, and yours will, too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative 28 Feb 2008
By kehs TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The Borrowers is about Pod and Homily and the thirteen-year-old Arrietty, a family of tiny people, just a few inches high, who live under the floorboards of an old country house in England. They exist and furnish their tiny home by "borrowing" scraps and oddments from the house above. To do this they have to go on daring raids to gather the items they need. The author makes it quite clear that this is not stealing, as the Borrowers only take items that would otherwise be neglected or thrown away. Mary Norton invented a wonderfully imaginative world with these books and they can still be read and enjoyed by children today.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good purchase! Great product and highly recommended
Published 1 month ago by Stephen Ball
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought for lil bro
Bought this for my lil bro. He loves it and read it all within a week. A great buy as a gift.
Published 3 months ago by Ms. C. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Borrowers Afield
I loved these books as a child. I was missing this one from my collection and wanted to have the same edition and with the same drawings and was very happy when I found this. Read more
Published 3 months ago by EW84
5.0 out of 5 stars Easter Present for Grandaughter
I bought this book for my seven year old Granddaughter as we had watched the film together and she loved it. I then told her I had read the Mary Norton books when I was young. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Christine Newton
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it
My son loved the first book but this one slightly less as he felt the " borrowing" theme was a bit lost now they have moved outside. Read more
Published 3 months ago by mcah
5.0 out of 5 stars Get the Audio Version Read by Samantha Bond if You Can!

Samantha Bond has dome something I did not think possible - raised this simple story up to fabulous... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Glenn Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Received
I got this for a friends daughter as she enjoyed the TV series. Was,by all accounts, very well received (a good bed time book to share was her mums reaction) and then her daughter... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ruth Buttery
5.0 out of 5 stars The Borrowers
This was a very smooth transaction.The book arrived very quickly and was exactly as expected, all borrower believers should buy this for their grandchildren.thanks.
Published 8 months ago by katharine Tracey
5.0 out of 5 stars Borrowers magic
This book was in good condition and the story is as magic now reading it to my child as when it was read to me 40 years ago.
Published 16 months ago by Ilkley Izzi
5.0 out of 5 stars Al clev
The Borrowers is a book that would really make people want to read more. Arietty is the one
who would want to go on the most exciting adventures. Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2012 by Aly C
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