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1001 Stories Collection

The Borrowers

Added on 25th June 2020

Author Mary Norton
First published 1952
Publisher J.M. Dent and Sons, London, UK

A delightful classic children's story about little people living under the floorboards and the adventures they have in the world of the 'human beans'.

Story

Meet the Borrowers, tiny people living in the secret places of houses – behind the mantelpiece, under the kitchen clock. They furnish their homes with things that they ‘borrow’ from the humans, stamps as picture and cotton reels as stools. Arriety Clock longs to go out borrowing with her father, Pod, who finally agrees to take her. While on a borrowing expedition she is seen by a human boy.

Why we chose it

A classic children’s story. Children love the idea of a tiny, hidden world.

Author and illustrator Ted Dewan chose to be photographed as Pod for our 26 Characters exhibition. He loved The Borrowers because it seemed to him entirely feasible that there could be these people living in the walls and under the floors.

Where it came from

Kathleen Mary Norton (1983-1992) grew up in a Georgian house at the end of the High Street in Leighton Buzzard. After working in the United States during the Second World War, she returned to England where she wrote The Borrowers. Her childhood home inspired the setting for the novel.

Where it went next

The Borrowers is the first in a series of five books and has been adapted for both film and television. It won the Carnegie Medal in 1952, and in 2007 the CILIP Carnegie Medal judges listed it in the top 10 most important children’s novels in the past 70 years.

Associated stories

Norton also wrote The Magic Bed Knob and Bonfires and Broomsticks which were later jointly adapted into the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Find The Borrowers miniature world in the Enchanted Library.

Added on 25th June 2020

Author Mary Norton
First published 1952
Publisher J.M. Dent and Sons, London, UK