The Borrowers by Mary Norton

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The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Published by Puffin

ISBN 9780140301106

Children may, in their imagination, create a miniature world with people taking part in adventures and battles. And grown-ups look for a button, a reel of thread or some other small item they have lost. They may wonder if it has dropped through a tiny gap between the floorboards, rolled into a dark corner behind a piece of furniture - or been moved by 'somebody else'.

In The Borrowers, the truth is revealed - all those little treasures have been "borrowed" by a family of tiny people like the Clocks - Pod, his wife Homily and their daughter Arrietty - who live beneath the floorboards in the kitchen of an old house.

The Clocks are ultimate recyclers. They use matchboxes for drawers, postage stamps for pictures and paper their rooms in stripes using pieces of handwritten letters that have been thrown away.

The borrowers are not thieves. They only borrow when they need to, and are aware that they may be hunted as rats by the "human beans" or mistaken for mice by the household cat.

Usually only men and boys go borrowing, but Arrietty is an only child and Pod is getting old. Gone are the days when he could scale the curtains using just a hat-pin, or bring home a teacup from a dolls' house without breaking it.

Arrietty persuades her father that she, too, can be a borrower, and her adventures in the world above begin.

But she is an inquisitive girl, and when a new human arrives in the house - a boy - her curiosity gets her into trouble.

A wonderfully imaginative story that appeals to children of all ages, this book encourages us to look at life from a different angle.

Imagine using a sheet of blotting paper as a carpet, or the bristles on the doormat is actually a forest. That is the world in which the Borrowers live - a place where our ordinary homes become a place of adventure and very real dangers. This story will suit youngsters of all ages.

Review by The BoB Committee