The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket – John Boyne

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket


Doubleday Children’s Books

Source – Amzon Vine

My Rating – 5 stars (for children and anyone who needs reminding of what it feels to be a child)

Barnaby Brocket is no ordinary boy as he defies the laws of gravity, floating off  if he isn’t physically restrained.   His parents cannot accept his differences and go to extreme lengths to keep him grounded, physically and mentally.  One day, Barnaby floats away and you hope he will experience better examples of humanity once freed from the suffocating normality of his earth-bound family.

Before I got the opportunity to “meet” Barnaby he was kidnapped by my two children, aged 8 and 12, and both were engaged by this extraordinary boy and equally enraged by the pompous, creativity-quashing attitudes of  his parents.  “He should have rung Childline” was the general viewpoint!  Having received such a positive reaction from the target audience I was delighted to find my own way into Barnaby’s world.   It’s whimsical, charming with a fantastical story which flows so smoothly you can’t help but be carried along.  There are touches of Dahl and Walliams with quirky characters and dark humour – this feels very much like a modern children’s classic.  Oliver Jeffers’ beautiful cover is the perfect complement to Boyne’s excellent storytelling – highly recommended for children age 8+.

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  1. Ellie says:

    I really need to read one of his children’s books I think. I was really put off by Crippen but I guess that’s quite different from his others. Everyone else seems to love him!

  2. Annabel says:

    Sounds wonderful. I’ve only read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which was heart-breaking. Nice to know he can write more fanciful stuff for children too.

  3. Lindsay says:

    Great to hear that all three of you enjoyed this one. I have liked everything I have read by this author thus far, both for younger readers and adult books.

  4. Teresa says:

    Ellie, his books are all very different. I really enjoyed this and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas but less so, The House of Special Purpose. I have Crippen on TBR pile.

    Annabel, my son was amazed how different this was to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas but he really liked both of them. His class novel was TBITSP and he was very moved by it.

    Lindsay, it’s rare that we have a book which appeals to all of us at once, considering our ages range from 8 to 47! I think I’ll let Eva read Wonder next and see if she likes it as much as Luke and I did.

  5. I’ve never heard of this book, but it sounds wonderful. I’ll definitely check it out.

    I’m reading WONDER right now and really enjoying it. It’s heartbreaking, but also touching without being overly sentimental.

    Thanks for the review!

  6. Teresa says:

    I think your children would enjoy this, Susan. Thank you for taking the time to comment.Tx

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