Mary Norton’s birthday

9 December, 2016

Mary Norton's birthday

The series is named after the books’ central characters, tiny people living in secret amongst humans.

10 December is the birthday of Mary Norton, the celebrated author of The Borrowers.

The series is named after the central characters in the books: the tiny people who live in secret amongst humans (known in the books as “the human beans”).

Norton won the 1952 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising The Borrowers as the year’s outstanding children’s book by a British author.

The first book in the series is a firm favourite of Kumon students, as it features on our Recommended Reading List, and so we are going to explore the books in this much-loved series.

The Borrowers (1952)

The Clock family, father Pod, mother Homily, and daughter Arrietty are “Borrowers”,  who live under the kitchen floor in a “human bean” house. Whatever they need they “borrow” from the big people who live upstairs, and it is Pod’s responsibility to visit the house, for it is dangerous to be seen by a human.

However Arrietty, desperate to have a friend, sees a human boy in the house and decides to ignore her parents’ warnings.

The Borrowers Afield (1955)
Driven out of their home by a nasty rat catcher, the Borrowers find themselves homeless, lost and alone in the outdoors. When they set off on a journey to find a new home, the Clock family discover a world full of joy, drama, and people, which is much more exciting than their old home.

The Borrowers Afloat (1959)
When the Clock family discover that their humans are moving out of their cottage, they are forced to find a new home and a new family to borrow from. With the help of Spiller, a wild Borrower, they make a dangerous journey in a soap dish down the cottage drain and are moved into a teakettle by the river. They are barely settled in before a flood, and their old nemesis, force them to look for a new place to live once again.

The Borrowers Aloft (1961)
The Clock family have finally found the perfect home: a house in a miniature village. Their new, easy life makes Arrietty careless. After she befriends a human bean, the Borrowers are kidnapped by the Platters, a greedy married couple who have big plans for the Clock family: they have created their own miniature village and intend on displaying the Borrowers in a glass case for the rest of their lives.

The Borrowers Avenged (1982)
Following an escape from the clutches of Mr and Mrs Platter, the Clock family set out for their new home, the rectory of the local church. On arrival they discover that their relatives are living in the church next door. Arrietty meets another borrower, Peagreen Overmantel, who shows them a place to live under a window seat.

Once settled Arrietty is allowed to go outside and do all of the borrowing. 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 spot one of the relatives, Timmus, in the church and break in after hours to catch him; they accidentally ring the church bells and are caught.

Reading a series of books is a wonderful way to capture your child’s attention, spark their imagination, and encourage a love of reading. To celebrate Mary Norton’s birthday, why not pick up a copy of The Borrowers and join the Clock family on the first of many adventures!