Borrow ‘The Borrowers’

When you were a kid, did you ever wonder how come your chess set, one morning, had only 15 pawns instead of 16? Were your little green army men stealthily deserting? And why did your mother insist you took  her pack of needles, when you never touched them?

Mary Norton solved those mysteries in 1952 with the publication of her award-winning young readers’ novel, The Borrowers, following it up with four sequels. I mention it now because there’s a crying need for kid-lit that doesn’t corrupt its readers or pollute their minds.

I read all the Borrowers books not long ago and enjoyed them tremendously. I wish there were more. Kids will like them–I say “kids,” but I really mean all readers whose imaginations are not yet ossified–for the fantastic situations set out in the stories, the vivid characters, plots that are long on suspense, and pure fun.

Anyhow, it’s the Borrowers who cause small, common household objects to disappear. The Borrowers are these tiny people who live under your floor, or between your walls, or inside your piano–wherever they can remain safe from discovery–and live by “borrowing” your stuff. Their lives can be very snug and cozy, but can also be quite dangerous. Mary Norton’s books follow the hair-raising adventures of a family of Borrowers.

There are also two film versions. There’s one by the BBC from 1993, starring Ian Holm as the father in the Borrower family, and Sian Philips as the housekeeper who tries to exterminate them. We have it as a VHS that some bozos thought would be even better if they constantly interrupted it by comedy bits by an American comedian I never heard of, who isn’t funny. So we have to fast-forward those. Aside from that, it’s a good movie, lots of fun.

Another version, starring John Goodman, was made in 1997, but I’ve never seen that one.

If you’re looking for some high-quality entertainment for your kids (or for yourself), you can’t go wrong with The Borrowers. Borrow these books from your local library. Black-hearted knaves won’t enjoy them, but you will.

5 comments on “Borrow ‘The Borrowers’

  1. Oh, how I remember my little troop of little green rubber ( or were they plastic) soldiers? I was a girl, but my favorite toys were those little green soldiers–and my Dale Evans Queen of the West cowgirl suit. My Hopalong Cassidy lunch box with thermos came in I think as third…

    I also had a Davy Crockett plastic table cloth that was supposed to be my imaginary log cabin. I had everything I saw advertised on that huge first DuMont (not Dupont) TV set. Oh, Lee, what these kids today are missing!

    I even remember the first time of three that I saw the actor William Boyd strolling down Fifth Avenue with a gorgeous red-head on his arm. True to Hoppy form, he smiled graciously and said, “Howdy cowgirl!” I never was the same after that.

    1. Wow! a nice (if short) chat with Hopalong Cassidy! Can’t beat that.

      I remember the Davy Crockett fad. You know what? Davy is still one of my all-time heroes. He’s one of those rare historical figures who get even more admirable, the more you learn about him.

  2. Lee, I have the Sasquatch of all “borrowers”…I call her ” Honey”!! 🙂

  3. I remember “The Borrowers” very well. I found the stories enchanting, if only for the idea of how all the “borrowed” items could be used. I always tried to imagine what some of the other everyday objects around me might be used for in a “Borrowers'” home. A lot of the young-reader books back then not only entertained but stretched the imagination outside the books into our own lives.

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