“And, under this clock, below the wainscot, there was a hole…” -From The Borrowers, page 8-
Enchanting and full of the unrestrained joy of a child’s imagination, Mary Norton’s award winning book The Borrowers ranks among my favorites of childhood. In this lovely 50th Anniversary Edition, Norton explains the process which led her to write the story.
Looking back, the idea seems to be part of an early fantasy in the life of a very short-sighted child, before it was known that she needed glasses. -From the Introduction of The Borrowers, page xv-
When one cannot see panoramas or stars in the vast sea of sky, it is natural to look more closely at the tiny details concealed within the shrubs or along creek beds, or beneath the floorboards hidden among the dust motes. And this was what Norton did as a child. Her splendid imagination created entire worlds…and later, just before war broke out in Europe, her mind returned to these little people of her childhood…and The Borrowers was born.
Norton’s endearing story centers around the Clocks – a family of tiny people who live beneath the floor of an old English country home. Arrietty, the Clocks only daughter, longs to go with her father on his borrowing escapades in the big house. And one day, he takes her with him. But, the unimaginable and most frightening thing occurs. Arrietty is “seen” by a boy and life for the Clocks is never again quite the same. Told in accessible language which draws the reader in, The Borrowers is classic children’s literature which will be enjoyed by “kids” of all ages.
Norton wrote an entire series of Borrowers books which continue to capture the adventures of the Clock family. As a child, I read them all – over and over again. If you have not experienced the joy of a Norton story, you are missing something wonderful.
The 50th Anniversary edition of The Borrowers (published in 2003 by Harcourt Inc) contains the original British illustrations, never before published in the United States, and is recommended as a beautiful edition for the library.
This book is highly recommended.