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The Borrowers

Borrowers: Book 1

Mary Norton

The Borrowers--the Clock family: Homily, Pod, and their fourteen-year-old daughter, Arrietty, to be precise--are tiny people who live underneath the kitchen floor of an old English country manor. All their minuscule home furnishings, from postage stamp paintings to champagne cork chairs, are "borrowed" from the "human beans" who tromp around loudly above them. All is well until Pod is spotted upstairs by a human boy! Can the Clocks stay nested safely in their beloved hidden home, or will they be forced to flee?

The British author Mary Norton won the Carnegie Medal for The Borrowers in 1952, the year it was first published in England.

Awards: 1952 Carnegie Medal, a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award Book

The Borrowers Afield

Borrowers: Book 2

Mary Norton

Kate, looking at a cottage with her friend Mrs May, learns that the present tenant, Tom Goodenough, knows Arrietty Clock, a tiny "Borrower" also known to Mrs May's brother. Tom relates the troubles of Arrietty and her parents. Driven from their old English house, unable to find their relatives home, they live in an old boot.

Spiller, a mysterious wild borrower, brings meat, and saves Arrietty from a dog attack. Although everything outdoors - cows, moths, field mice, cold weather - endangers their lives, they learn to survive in the wild. One night, gypsy Mild Eye finds his lost boot, and brings the Clocks back to his caravan. Tom and Spiller rescue the Clocks. In their new home with Tom, they find their long-lost relatives. In Tom, Arrietty finds a good friend and ally.

The Borrowers Afloat

Borrowers: Book 3

Mary Norton

In this third of the Borrowers series, the Clock family begins living in the house of a human boy named Tom. The borrowers find that they will starve because Tom and his uncle are moving away. They need to leave but Tom's pet weasel or ferret is outside the door. Luckily, the animal still has the bell that Tom put on it, but they know they cannot outrun such a swift animal. Just when things are looking grim, Spiller returns via a secret passage: he has come through the drains underneath the house. Spiller says that he has not told the rest of the borrowers about the drains because they never asked.

While deciding where to go, Spiller tells them that they might go to Little Fordham which is actually a replica village. The place has been a bit of a legend with all Borrowers: a whole village made for Borrower size residents with plenty of food from the visiting big people.

Spiller lets them stay in one of his hide out places, a tea kettle, while he goes and investigates the matter for them. During the waiting period, the rain comes down and causes the kettle to be put adrift downstream. The Clocks decide that their best chances are to hope that Spiller will realize what has happened and find them. For the most part there aren't many frightening adventures, but they lose the kettle some time after it gets stuck in some trash.

But while still on the river, Mild Eye, the gypsy who nearly caught them before, discovers them. The Clock family is trapped; as none of them can swim.

The Borrowers Aloft

Borrowers: Book 4

Mary Norton

With the help of their friend Spiller, the Clock family have relocated to the miniature village of Little Fordham, where everything is perfectly scaled to Borrower size. However, they are soon discovered by Miss Menzies, a kind but eccentric human woman, who reveals their existence to the village's creator, Mr Pott. Miss Menzies and Mr Pott agree between themselves to keep the Borrowers a secret, while they also prepare a special, functioning miniature cottage for them.

Meanwhile, the Platters, a married couple who own a rival model village, learn of the Borrowers' existence. Fearing their own model village will be ruined, as they cannot compete with a model village with live occupants, the Platters kidnap the Clock family and keep them in an attic, planning to show them after building a see-through, escape-proof miniature house in which to display the tiny family. The Clocks are horrified at their fate, but escape seems impossible.

Imprisoned through the winter, Arrietty amuses herself by reading old newspapers. After Arrietty discovers a series of articles on hot-air balloons, she and her father race the clock to build a functional Borrower-size balloon before they are trapped forever. With their balloon, the family escapes the attic, but, realizing they cannot return to Little Fordham, they again strike out in search of a new, safe home.

The Borrowers Avenged

Borrowers: Book 5

Mary Norton

The Borrowers Avenged details the events following the escape of the tiny Clock family from the attic of the scheming humans Mr and Mrs Platter and their search for a new home. After returning to the Little Fordham model village, the Clocks set out in Spiller's boat for their new home, the rectory of the local church. They make a night journey down the river, barely missing the Platters who are looking for them. When they arrive at the rectory they discover that their relatives Lupy, Hendreary and Timmus are living in the church next door. Arrietty also meets another borrower named Peagreen Overmantel who shows them a place to live under a window seat.

The Clocks settle in comfortably and Arrietty is allowed to go outside and do all of the borrowing for the two borrower families. She discovers that her human friend Miss Menzies goes to the church to arrange flowers, but she is forbidden to speak to her. The Platters, having severely damaged the model village in their hunt for the borrowers, decide to use one of Homily's old aprons to help the local "finder" Lady Mullings locate the borrowers. Miss Menzies recognizes the apron and becomes suspicious. Meanwhile, the Platters spot Timmus in the church and break in after hours to catch him, but they accidentally ring the church bells and are caught by the humans in suspicious circumstances.