"[Mary] Norton's sense of theater includes not only drama and characterization, but props and setting. The incongruity of her tiny characters and their use of human-sized jetsam is never lost sight of. She makes us look at the most mundane object with fresh and speculative eye. It is her capacity for 'making do' and improvisation that captures the charm of childhood, when play is serious business. Clifton Fadiman, in an article in Holiday magazine, claims the spirit of play as explanation for the British preoccupation with the small, the snug, the understated. English folklore and literature abound with little people: fairies, pixies, goblins, elves, dwarfs, sprites, spriggins, Lilliputians, Hobbits, Borrowers. There must be something about an island nation that engenders a genius for the miniature: the Japanese can make a landscape in a dish; the British excel in literary microtomy. It is almost as though everyone on 'this little isle' has a private world into which he can withdraw and explore - himself perhaps? Surely his relationship to others."