The Borrowers own nothing at all; they live in the secret places of quiet old houses – behind the mantelpiece, inside the harpsichord, under the kitchen clock. Everything they have is borrowed from the ‘human beans’, who don’t even know they exist. Arrietty’s father, Pod, is an expert Borrower – he can scale curtains using a hatpin and bring back a doll’s teacup without breaking it. Girls aren’t supposed to go borrowing but as Arrietty is an only child her father breaks the rule. But then Arrietty makes friends with a boy – a ‘human bean’ – and from that moment danger is never far away for, above all else, they must avoid the great disaster of ‘being seen’.