A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The relationship between Arriety and the human boy is an inspiring one that encourages readers to look past differences. Those who are able to do so grow and develop into more mature characters that don’t live their lives guided by prejudices.
Positive Role Models
Arriety’s natural curiosity and hunger for freedom are often considered negative characteristics in a Borrower’s eyes – especially for her father. Trapped in a world that is seemingly too small for Arriety, her fearless character dares to dream and think outside the box. Her father, Pod, is a lot more skeptical when it comes to the idea of freedom but it is revealed that this fear of uninhibited exploration is for good measure. Pod makes risky sacrifices every day to provide for his family. Homily, Arriety’s mother, makes similar sacrifices but her fixation on material things often puts her family in precarious positions.
Violence & Scariness
When the Borrower’s presence is made known, Mrs. Driver calls the rat catcher to exterminate them. She also tells the boy to watch as Arriety and her parents are about to be forced out of their home by smoke.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this classic tale retains its appeal, but some children may find it slow. Fear of capture makes the borrowing expeditions tense. The occasional black-and-white line art helps to make the tiny Borrowers more real for the young reader. Detailed descriptions of how the Borrowers use everyday objects bring the reader's imagination to life.
Is It Any Good?
While Mrs. May is recounting the wondrous tale of her brother's encounter with the Clock family to young Kate, your child will be equally enthralled. The descriptions of how the family uses our everyday trinkets fascinate children and often inspire them to create their own Borrower homes. Don't be surprised if, after the book is finished, you find your children crawling around the house looking for their own Borrowers.
Though it's often imitated in both books and movies, no one has ever managed to duplicate the appeal of Norton's infusion of magic into the everyday. Something about her cleverness and matter-of-fact style, and the humdrum lives to which the Borrowers aspire, makes the whole thing seem so plausible that it's hard to believe there aren't Borrowers scuttling through the walls and floors of your own home.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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