The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket

Written by John Boyne
Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

In an entertaining adventure that is also full of charm and whimsy, best-selling author John Boyne champions the right of children to be different. Barnaby Brocket’s parents want only thing – to lead an utterly normal life. But when Barnaby, their third child is born, they know at once that he is very far from normal. The problem is, Barnaby cannot stay on the ground; he floats ever upwards unless weighted down or restrained. Embarrassed by their problem son and the attention he may attract, Barnaby’s parents let him go…Now a free spirit and travelling in many different ways, Barnaby’s adventures take him across the world where he meets all kinds of people who, just because they are not exactly what their parents want them to be, have been similarly disowned by their parents.


The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne

There's nothing unusual about the Brockets. Normal, respectable, and proud of it, they turn up their noses at anyone strange or different. But from the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, it's clear he's anything but ordinary. To his parents' horror, Barnaby defies the laws of gravity - and floats. Desperate to please his parents, Barnaby does his best to keep both feet on the ground - but he just can't do it. One fateful day, the Brockets decide enough is enough. They never asked for a weird, abnormal, floating child. Barnaby has to go ...Betrayed, frightened and alone, Barnaby floats into the path of a very special hot air balloon - and so begins a magical journey around the world, with a cast of extraordinary new friends.


Mr and Mrs Brocket live an obsessively normal life in Sydney - until their third child, Barnaby, is born. Because Barnaby floats, like a helium-filled balloon, unless he is weighted down. Embarrassed and frustrated by their son's inability to be normal, they cut him loose at the age of eight, and Barnaby floats away on a series of adventures ... Boyne's previous children's novels (The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, Noah Barleywater Runs Away) have dealt with serious, life-changing themes and his deftness of touch is equally evident in this uplifting celebration of otherness -- Sally Morris Daily Mail Delightfully quirky ... with a delightful cast of characters, this books celebrates and acknowledges difference -- Vanessa Lewis The Bookseller 20120525 It's unashamedly and often delightfully whimsical. It's lovely to look at ... It has much of the pell-mell what-the-hell-happens-nextness of Dahl and Ibbotson -- Mal Peet Guardian A whimsical, warm-hearted adventure ... beautifully illustrated by Oliver Jeffers -- Fiona Noble The Bookseller 20120525 This funny, warm, but poignant story has a thought-provoking message about the importance of accepting difference and being true to yourself. Barnaby makes for a hugely likeable hero, and this story is full of fantastic characters, from eccentric contemporary artists to a villainous ringmaster to Barnaby's beloved dog, Captain W E Johns. Booklovers will enjoy spotting the numerous references to books from Heidi to Around the World in 80 Days in a book which is in part a tribute to the power of the imagination. Surreal and quirky in the tradition of children's writers like Roald Dahl, there are some moments of darkness here too, but although the final resolution is bittersweet, this is ultimately a deeply uplifting story. Oliver Jeffers

About the Author

John Boyne

John Boyne was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1971, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize.

His 2006 novel, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, was made into an award-winning Miramax film. The novel itself won 2 Irish Book Awards, the Bisto Book of the Year, and was shortlisted or won a host of international awards. Amongst other accolades, it spent more than 80 weeks at no.1 in Ireland, topped the New York Times Bestseller List, and was the bestselling book in Spain in both 2007 and 2008. Worldwide, it has sold more than 5 million copies.

His most recent novel was a children’s book, The Terrible Thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket, which was published in the UK in August 2012.
A new novel for adults, This House is Haunted, will be published in July 2013.

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Book Info


288 pages
Interest Age: from 9 to 11


John Boyne
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Doubleday Children's Books an imprint of Random House Children's Publishers UK

Publication date

2nd August 2012




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