WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

The Borrowers Afloat by Mary Norton has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the third book in the “The Borrowers” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Pod and Homily Clock, along with their daughter, Arrietty, belong to a race of tiny people called Borrowers. They lived under the kitchen floor in an old country house “borrowing” food to eat and trinkets to furnish their little burrow. When the housekeeper discovers them, however, they flee their home to avoid extermination. After a long search and several misadventures, the Clocks arrive safely at the cottage where their extended family lives.

The Clocks and their relatives — Heandreary, Lupy and Eggletina Clock — are initially overjoyed to see one another. In such a small cottage, there is not enough borrowing to occupy all of the men, so Pod is left feeling rather listless and unnecessary. Homily worries because she has insufficient supplies to furnish a home, and Arrietty misses the freedom of living outside. The Clocks do their best to contribute to the household, helping their relatives with cooking, cleaning and mending, but no one is convinced that this is a sustainable arrangement.

One night, Arrietty is out late, and Homily begins to worry. Arrietty is supposed to be telling a bedtime story to one of her young cousins and should have returned. Homily ventures down to the lower rooms where their relatives live and notices that the ladder leading from the Borrowers’ home has not been pulled up for the night. Walking closer, Homily sees Arrietty climbing it.

Once Homily and Arrietty make it back up to their rooms, Arrietty confesses to Pod and Homily that she has been sneaking down to talk to the human boy, Tom. Tonight Tom told her that he and his grandfather would be moving out of the cottage in three days. This news worries Pod and Homily because Borrowers need humans in order to survive. In an empty house, they are unable to find sufficient food and supplies.

The next morning the two families discuss their options. Uncle Hendreary’s family decides to stay, living on whatever food they currently have saved until a new tenant comes to the cottage. The Clocks, however, decide to move on. They worry that the food stored wouldn’t be able to support both families. Arrietty asks Tom to leave a board loose at the base of the door when he leaves, so the Clocks can escape.

A few days later, after the humans are gone, the Clocks prepare to leave. When they lift up the loose board, however, they see a ferret. The ferret belonged to Tom but was left behind in the move. Pod realizes that the ferret is unlikely to leave anytime soon, and that the animal would have no trouble catching and killing a Borrower. The Clocks fear that they will have to try to wait out the famine with their relatives.

Suddenly they see their old friend Spiller come out of the shadows. He explains that there is a drain in the washhouse, which is how he comes and goes from the cottage. He agrees to help the Clocks escape and even offers to take them to a nearby village where they can find a house.

The Clocks gratefully accept, and Spiller helps them down the drain. The drain comes out near a creek by an old teakettle where Spiller sometimes sleeps. He tells the Clocks that they can stay in the teakettle for a few days while he travels upstream. He wants to fill his boat with supplies to trade to other Borrowers in the village.

The Clocks live there quite comfortably for a couple of days, but one night while they are sleeping, there is a terrible thunderstorm. The creek floods and the teakettle, Borrowers and all, are washed downstream. The Clocks wake to find themselves afloat on the creek and decide there’s nothing they can do other than wait for the kettle to wash ashore. Later that day, they become lodged on an island of intertwined sticks in the middle of the stream. They hold on to the hope that Spiller will soon sail by and rescue them.

While they are waiting, Pod notices a fisherman hiding in the weeds. The fisherman casts his line, which catches in Homily’s skirt. After a brief struggle, Pod and Arrietty are able to rescue Homily by removing her skirt. At this point, however, Pod recognizes the fisherman as Mild Eye, a gypsy who has attempted to capture them before.

Mild Eye has also recognized the Clocks and is determined not to let them escape this time. Mild Eye tries to wade to the center of the stream to grab them, but the water is too deep and he cannot swim. Mild Eye attaches a rope to a nearby tree, so that he can steady himself as he once again attempts to reach the Clocks.

Just as he is about to grab the Clocks, Mild Eye falls, pushing the island of sticks to the other shore. Spiller greets the Clocks, who explains that he cut Mild Eye’s rope, causing him to fall. Spiller had hidden his boat in the shadows, planning to pick up the Clocks under the cover of darkness.

Spiller often travels up and down the river, and if humans see him, they might try to capture him when he comes through again. When he saw how close Mild Eye was getting to the Clocks, however, he intervened despite the risk of being seen. The Clocks board Spiller’s boat, and they all continue their journey downstream.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

When the Clocks leave the cottage, Hendreary wishes them good luck and good borrowing.

Authority Roles

Lupy and Hendreary are pleased when the Clocks arrive and willingly share their food and home. Lupy, however, appears a bit selfish. She offers to lend the Clocks furniture, but despite having plenty of her own, gives them only one bed and corks to use for stools.

When the Borrowers learn that Tom and his grandfather are moving out, Hendreary offers to share the remaining food with the Clocks. Lupy, however, tells Homily that everyone must look out for himself or herself. She hides the extra food as if afraid that the Clocks will steal it, giving them only a few dried peas for their journey. When Lupy is in a bad mood, she blames the Clocks for everything that goes wrong.

Pod does his best to protect and provide for his family. He recognizes that Homily, Arrietty and he must leave the cottage, and though he is aware of the dangers of venturing outside in early spring, both from animals and the weather, he is not deterred. Nevertheless he isn’t reckless and refuses to take Homily and Arrietty outside when he sees the ferret waiting. When Spiller offers to help the Clocks escape, Pod offers suggestions but defers to Spiller’s leadership. Pod does his best to encourage Homily and urges her to be brave and remain optimistic.

Homily often worries and is easily frightened, but she lovingly cares for her family. She is skeptical about riding on Spiller’s boat but eventually comes around. When Arrietty falls asleep while riding a soapbox lid down the drain, Homily carefully wraps a coat around her. Homily admits that she’s never been one for living outside but bravely says she feels all right with it.

When the Clocks are stuck in the middle of the stream, she remains positive. One night, Pod says he will stay up to keep watch, but Homily protests that he needs sleep too, offering to take turns with him. She thanks Pod for being so good to her.

Profanity/Violence

Homily calls Arrietty a wicked, thoughtless girl. Pod says dang. The Clocks are often said to snap at one another. Pod scolds Homily and Arrietty for not thinking like Borrowers. He calls them human-like, which Homily takes as an insult.

When Hendreary is trying to decide whether to move his family away from the cottage, he runs through a list of all the animals that could eat a Borrower, worrying that the animals will multiply rapidly without the humans around to hunt them. After Pod sees the ferret, he comments that the creature is probably very hungry and would have no difficulty catching a Borrower. Homily worries that a cow will tread on and kill them. Mild Eye’s fishing hook gets stuck in Homily’s skirt and she is roughly dragged into the water. She is not hurt, however.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Lying: Arrietty tells her parents she is going downstairs to tell her cousin a story when she is really sneaking down to talk to Tom. She says she was going to tell her parents everything eventually.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

8 to 12

Author

Mary Norton

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Originally published by J.M. Dent and Sons; the version reviewed was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company in 2003.

Released

On Video

Year Published

1959

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!