Rereading: THE BORROWERS AFIELD by Mary Norton

The second book in this charming series, published in 1955, opens with Kate and Mrs. May, from the framing sequence of the first book, traveling to the town where the Borrowers Pod, Homily and Arriety, tiny people who live in the walls and under the floors, had been seen many years earlier. They visit the house, but it’s a school now, and little remains of what had been there in Mrs. May’s youth when she had lasted visited. They’re in town because Mrs. May has been offered a cottage nearby, and she wants to see it. As it turns out, the elderly man living there, who is going to be moved to an almshouse, is Tom Goodenough, who was in the first book as the boy with the ferret. Kate makes friends with him, and he tells her what happened next to the Clock family of Borrowers.

Pod, Homily and Arriety have fled from their home under the kitchen floor of the big house, through the fields, following a path they know of along a gas line put in not many years before. It’s a world Arriety finds wonderful, but Homily, her mother, is full of fear, and Pod, her father, knows that fear is justified. Many wild animals might be happy to catch and eat them. At last they find an abandoned old boot, and decide to try living there. It’s summer, so there are fruits and grains to live on, and they do well enough at first. They meet a “wild” Borrower named Spiller who will tell them little about himself, but after some trouble with Homily, Spiller becomes a provider for them, and a friend to Arriety, and they have some adventures.

Fall turns to winter, and things look grim for the Clock family, as supplies dwindle and snow begins. Then the worst thing of all happens: a human finds their boot home and carries them off.

Just as much fun to read as the first book, and now it’s clearly a series. I also love the illustrations by Beth and Joe Krush. Highly recommended.

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