Rereading: THE BORROWERS AFLOAT by Mary Norton

Cover illustration by Beth and Joe Krush

The third book of the charming Borrowers series, first published in 1959, begins like the first two with a framing sequence featuring Kate and Mrs. May, still visiting the cottage Mrs. May is buying, where Kate has been hearing about the Borrower family, father Pod, mother Homily and daughter Arrietty from old Tom Goodenough. Tom was the boy with the ferret in the first book, and lived in this cottage since his boyhood. At the end of The Borrowers Afield, Tom rescued the three tiny people from the gypsy Mild Eye, and brought them to this cottage, where their relatives, the Hendreary family, was already living in the wall.

Pod, Homily and Arrietty are at first warmly welcomed by their relatives, there are six of them, and given two sparse “rooms” to live in above the Hendreary home, but tensions soon rise, as Pod finds his borrowing curtailed, Homily’s old dislike of Hendreary’s wife Lupy returns, and Arrietty misses being outdoors. Arrietty once again turns to talking to the human Tom, something Borrowers are not supposed to do. In the end, their wild Borrower friend Spiller gives them a way to escape, and takes them to his home in an old teakettle at the edge of the nearby stream. For a while things go well until there’s a flood.

Just as much fun as the previous books, recommended. The illustrations are great, too.

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