The Complete Borrowers

Look what I just found in our delightful local secondhand bookshop:

The Complete Borrowers by Mary Norton Puffin edition

More Borrowers than I even knew existed! The first tale – The Borrowers – was published in 1952, followed by The Borrowers Afield (1955), Afloat (1959), Aloft (1961). No wonder I never caught up with The Borrowers Avenged (sounds a bit violent?!) as it did not surface until 1982. By then I was more into Virago Modern Classics than classic children’s literature. There is also a Borrowers fragment called Poor Stainless, only a few pages long.

The Complete Borrowers by Mary Norton (Puffin) back cover

The introduction is a letter from Mary Norton herself, describing how the Borrowers came to be.

There are lots of lovely atmospheric black-and-white illustrations by Diana Stanley.

Diana Stanley illustration for The Borrowers

Illustration by Diana Stanley

Those accompanying The Borrowers remind me of Maurice Sendak’s style: chunky figures and normal, non-beautiful faces. And they remind me a bit of gargoyles and other faces carved around old churches, based on the stone-carvers themselves or people in the local community which were probably quite recognisable to those in the know.

Diana Stanley died in 1975 and the final book is illustrated by Pauline Baynes, whose work is inseparable in my mind from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books.

I blogged about the perennial attraction of Borrower-sized people and other tiny things here at Girls Heart Books.

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