A race of tiny people who live beneath the floor of a proper human kitchen make friends with a young boy, and begin to learn about the world above their heads, from which they have borrowed the furniture and tools.
Pod, Homily, and daughter Arrietty of the diminutive Clock family outfit their subterranean quarters with the tidbits 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.
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.
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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.
It's about a type of people, Borrowers, that are very tiny. They live in houses and 'borrow' things, like food, paper, and basically anything that they can get their hands on. They picture people as giants that are put on this earth to make things for them to 'borrow'... They live under floor-boards, behind pictures, over mantles; basically anywhere. That's how Arrietty's mother and father tell it.
But, in all reality, there is only herself, her mother, and her father left in that one particular house. Every other Borrower family had emigrated to somewhere else... and Arrietty accepts that until one day she is seen by a boy that puts the thought into her head that maybe her family is the last of the Borrowers.
And that's really how it all starts. Arrietty and the Boy form a sort of friendship, where the boy takes a letter to the place where Arrietty's Uncle is supposed to live, and Arrietty reads to him. (The Boy says that he's bilingual, and that's the reason that he can't read well.) And taking the mail isn't the only thing that the Boy does- he also brings the Clocks furniture, food, and other things.
Things which are discovered missing later.
And that brings in the cat and the rat-catchers...
One of my favorite childrens' books; I think the reason I like it so much is that it doesn't take for granted that kids wouldn't be able to understand a longer book... I think that's also what I love about the Harry Potter books, as well.
Anyway, read this. Very sweet, very family friendly. Altogether enjoyable.