Book Review: The Borrowers Aloft

The Borrowers Aloft (The Borrowers #4)The Borrowers Aloft by Mary Norton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Description:

Life in the miniature village at Little Fordham seemed ideal for “the Borrowers,” the family of pencil-sized people, especially for Homily, who had always longed for a proper house with proper furnishings. Then Arrietty committed the indiscretion of making friends with a human being, Miss Menzies, telling her all about their secret world. Before Pod or Homily was aware of what was happening, the three of them were kidnaped by a greedy couple, Mr and Mrs Platter, who owned a rival miniature village in which they were going to exhibit the tiny trio as a live attraction the following spring. Imprisoned in the Platters’ attic through the winter, the Borrowers’ initial despair gave way to plans for escape. There was not much hope of success until Arrietty, poring over old issues of the Illustrated London News, discovered the article of ballooning.

Review:

The fourth book in the series.

Honestly, while the story was fine, I did not enjoy this one as much as the others. The main reason is because we did not join the borrowers until Chapter 10.

Nine chapters to set up the scenario? Nine chapters without the main characters? *shakes head*

I didn’t care about the ‘big people’ or how the two small villages came about. The nine chapters could have been condensed considerably. I began reading the series for the borrowers and expect to read ‘their’ story. I felt cheated.

Once we finally got back to the borrowers, there was an excessive amount of time describing exactly how they were going to escape. No, I didn’t enjoy this book. It felt like a filler; apart from the kidnapping, nothing exciting really happened until the escape.

I can’t say you shouldn’t read it because I haven’t finished the last book yet. I really have nothing else to say.

Book Review: The Borrowers Afloat

The Borrowers Afloat (The Borrowers #3)The Borrowers Afloat by Mary Norton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description:

Pod, Homily, and Arrietty are off on new adventures when the threat of famine drives them from their home in the wall of an old cottage. Their escape down the drain of the washhouse, under the guidance of the wild Borrower boy Spiller, is harrowing enough. But when the leaky teakettle in which they are resting on the riverbank is swept away downstream, then their peril is even greater. This is the story of their strange voyage in search of a home.

Review:

This is the third book in the series. The biggest let down was that the beginning of the second chapter was almost word for word of the last chapter of the previous book. I found it distracting and a bit annoying…and even alarming, to some degree, as I don’t agree that an author should do this. It’s fine to ‘remind’ the reader of what’s gone before, but to literally copy and paste such a large section of text is not acceptable (in my opinion). However, once I got passed that bit I was happy to settle back into the story of the Borrower family.

Spiller has become a main character now. He is only young but he is worldly and knows how to survive out of doors. The Clock family learn a lot from him. And he saves them time and time again—from one thing or another.

The point of view jumps from one person to another, which I’ve gotten used to, but I did notice in this book that the point of view was mainly with the mother, Homily. She can be a bit annoying, but we were also shown the strong side of her, which I found endearing so I didn’t mind seeing things through her eyes.

The adventures continue. The story and the characters are delightful. And I’m still enjoying the books.

Book Review: The Borrowers Afield

The Borrowers Afield (The Borrowers #2)The Borrowers Afield by Mary Norton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Borrowers series. Although I enjoyed the story immensely I have given only four stars simply because there is a flaw in the story, which cannot be overlooked.

The first book is narrated by Mrs May, who is telling Kate (her young niece) about her brother’s claims of borrowers living in an old house he stayed in when he was recovering from an illness as a child. The second book brings us back to Mrs May and Kate one year later, but the story of Pod, Homily and Arrietty continues from where it left off. But suddenly Arrietty is a year older too. Suddenly the pillowcase that Mrs May left in the field a year after the borrowers had fled the house turns up a few months later.

This is a flaw that distracted me for a while. I had to let it go, however, so that I could enjoy the rest of the story.

Description:

Driven out of their cosy house by the rat catcher, the Borrowers find themselves homeless. Worse, they are lost and alone in a frightening new world: the outdoors. Nearly everything outside—cows, moths, field mice, cold weather—is a life threatening danger for the tiny Borrowers. But as they bravely journey across country in search of a new home and learn how to survive in the wild, Pod, Homily, and their daughter, Arrietty, discover that the world beyond their old home has more joy, drama, and people than they’d imagined.

Review:

I found the timing of this book compared to the first one distracting, because of the obvious flaw in the timeline. (For the narrator, Mrs May, and her niece, Kate, a year has passed, but for the Clock family the story picks up where it left off. However, suddenly Arrietty is a year older and the pillowcase shows up a couple of months after the family flee the house, instead of a year as mentioned by Mrs May in the first book.)

But once I was able to put that aside, I was quickly drawn back into the world of the little people. Arrietty and her parents must venture out into the great unknown. Everything is big and scary, but also refreshing and exciting. Arrietty is happier despite the dangers because there’s so much to see and experience. Her parents, on the other hand, fear the dangers and haven’t a clue how they will get on.

It’s interesting to see the family find a home for themselves—an old boot. Then they must learn new skills to survive. There’s no more borrowing, so they have to forage for food. And what will they do in the winter?

The second book had the same effect on me as the first. I was unable to put the book down and literally read for hours on end…and at regular interviews. Any book that does that is certainly one worth reading.

And I will mention the ending of this book as well, without going into specifics. The ending was appropriate, but I felt as disappointed as Arrietty. And, in this case, that means the author has done a fine job with her writing because it also means that the reader is attuned with the character and that’s exactly how the reader should feel.

There is a flaw, but that doesn’t mean the book isn’t worth reading because it is. Again, I highly recommend this book to everyone who has an imagination.

Book Review: The Borrowers

The Borrowers (The Borrowers, #1)The Borrowers by Mary Norton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I must live a very sheltered life because I had never heard of this set of books…until recently. I vaguely remember seeing the advertisements for the movie with John Goodman in it, but I don’t think I actually watched the movie. And now I am told by a very reliable source that there was a TV series too!

*shrugs*

Honestly, I don’t know how this happened. However, one of my Christmas presents was a DVD called The Secret World of Arrietty. I love animated movies. They feed my inner love for fantastical themes. What can I say, I’m a child at heart who really wants to believe in magical things, and little people living in my house is right up there, so the premise of the story is perfect for me.

Anyway, after watching and enjoying the movie I set about finding out if there were others planned and to my pleasure discovered the book set. I brought myself a late Christmas present or early birthday present or whatever else sounds acceptable and started reading immediately.

Description:

Underneath the kitchen floor is the world of the Borrowers—Pod and Homily Clock and their daughter, Arrietty. In their tiny home, matchboxes double as roomy dressers and postage stamps hang on the walls like paintings. Whatever the Clocks need they simply “borrow” from the “human beans” who live above them. It’s a comfortable life. Comfortable but boring if you are a kid. Only Pod is allowed to venture into the house above, because the danger of being seen by a human is too great. Borrowers who are seen by humans are never seen again. Yet Arrietty won’t listen. There is a human boy up there, and Arrietty is desperate for a friend…but then Arrietty is seen. Suddenly it seems everyone in the house-hold is after the Borrowers—except the one person who can help them. And so the desperate Clocks must trust their fates to the most dreaded of creatures…a human bean.

Review:

I want to believe in magic. It’s a life line out of a sometimes dreary life. But sometimes it’s hard to grasp and I find myself saying that I have to ‘grow up’ at some stage. But then The Borrowers came along and I can easily believe that little people exist who ‘borrow’ things. How often have you put something down and a moment later it’s gone? And what about all those times when you’ve gone to retrieve something, and you know exactly where you put it, only to find it isn’t there? This happens to me all the time.

It’s not hard to imagine how a story like this could create a world of imagination and excitement for children—the age group the story was written for. I’m not a child but I found the story and the characters delightful.

I literally couldn’t put it down. I would tell myself, “just one more chapter,” but would read three more instead. I wanted to know what would happen next. I didn’t want to leave their world. I was enjoying it too much.

The book was first published in 1952, so the wording is a little old-fashioned, but that doesn’t distract from the reading. It enhances it to some degree. I’m not a lover of long descriptions but in this book the descriptions are different because they are showing us the uses of the items that have been borrowed and used by the Clock family. It’s brilliant. The author plants scenes in your mind and allows you to live the life of the borrowers. And I see this as a talent because children will want to keep reading, and isn’t that a good thing?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s recommended to all readers—young and old, and everyone in between.