Did anyone else here adore The Borrowers as a child? It's probably no surprise that I hunted them and don't know how many I read from the series since that kind of information wasn't a few computer clicks away back in the dark ages. What was available in my school library, I read, the end. I know none ever lived up to the first which is bargain priced in ebook for $1.59 right now on Amazon so I had get it although I still have a paper edition, too.
Anyway, a new movie based on the book is being released here after its original release in Japan, so yes, there is an anime influence. Now it's The Secret World of Arrietty which I am not so sure is more magical that The Borrowers, but that's me. I am not the target audience anyway.
Jerry Griswold, recent presenter at Grimm Legacies, has an article in the Los Angeles Times to go along with the movie, 'Arrietty,' 'The Borrowers' and the appeal of all things small. Thumbelina and other fairy tale tinies are mentioned, so it fits here, right? Right?
Kids understand how size correlates with power. Adults talk over their heads. At McDonald's, they can't see over the counter to order and they can't pay for a meal with their own credit card. Indeed, restaurants kindly provide high chairs and booster seats in the same way they provide wheelchair access. When Tom Hanks magically changes from a kid into an adult and gets his own apartment and a job on Madison Avenue, the movie is called "Big." Likewise linking size and power, billionaire Leona Helmsley famously said, "Only the little people pay taxes."
That's not to say small fry can't take advantage of their size. That rascal Peter Rabbit goes places where the portly Mr. McGregor can never pursue him. The diminutive Stuart Little does a favor by slipping into a sink drain to recover a lost wedding ring. And Tom Thumb and Jack (once he climbs the beanstalk) are tricksters who have their way with the humongous.
This is the world the Borrowers inhabit: where a drop of water is a pending threat to those below, where a ticking clock causes the floor to vibrate and where tissue paper is stiff and loud. It is the same world where Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina is "pelted" by a snowflake and where E.B. White's mouse-sized Stuart Little must manhandle a straw when proffered a drink. A change of scale makes us see the ordinary with different eyes.
Oh, children and a few of us adults do love to read about things smaller than us, don't we? If anything, Griswold's article reminded me of some beloved books from my youth.
And while we are here, in case you haven't seen it, here's the movie trailer: