When I selected “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton as a bedtime read-aloud with Miss M, I had no idea that I was actually making a timely choice of sorts. I added it to my list of potential read-alouds at the beginning of the year. We picked it up at the library a couple weeks ago because I didn’t have any other read-alouds on our own shelves I was excited about that day, and I hadn’t planned ahead and requested or ordered anything else. The Borrowers happened to be on the shelf at the library.
Miss M and I were then very surprised over the weekend to see a preview for a movie based on The Borrowers called “The Secret World of Arrietty” opens in theaters tomorrow (February 17th)!
Back to the book — “The Borrowers” is the story of a family of very tiny people (only a few inches tall) that live under the kitchen of an English country house. Homily, Pod, and their teenage daughter Arrietty are the only remaining Borrowers in a house that once supported many. Although her parents (like all Borrowers before them) go to great lengths to not be seen by “human beans” as they call them, Arrietty is willing to break the status quo to befriend a human boy.
I had mixed feelings about the book. I have vague memories of reading this as a child and it is a fun and exciting story. On the other hand, I had a sense of dread on behalf of the characters as I read the book, knowing the fate that befalls them at the end of the book (both just from an educated guess as to the plot arc and also from reading the description on the back of the sequel!). It’s nothing too awful (small spoiler here) — they end up being forced to leave their home — but I did feel bad for them knowing what was going to happen.
I was also able to put some new knowledge from “Uncovering The Logic of English” to work. The word “draught” has always puzzled me though, I must confess, not enough to have looked it up in the dictionary (I know, terrible for a homeschool mom and a former English major). I thought it rhymed with “taught” and I really couldn’t quite figure out what it had to do with beer (this being the context in which I had seen it). In “Uncovering the Logic of English,” the word “draught” is used as an example of another word like “laugh” where -augh makes an “af” sound with a short “a”. All of a sudden, the word “draught” makes so much more sense as the British spelling of the American English word “draft” — a word used for beer and for a breeze across a room (the context in which it is used in “The Borrowers”.
Miss M enjoyed The Borrowers quite a bit — enough to pick up the first sequel and start reading it as soon as we finished the original as a read aloud (we already had this book, “The Borrowers Afield” on our shelves from a library book sale last year). She’s also very eager to see the Arrietty movie as well. We don’t go to many theater movies, but perhaps we’ll make our way to this one. While I am sure they took artistic liberty with the story, it has to be better than the movie adaption of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which had almost nothing to do with the original book (and much to my dismay, Miss M liked the movie version better!).
I’m linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!