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Noah Barleywater Runs Away Paperback – 1 Sep 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: David Fickling Books (PB) (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849920400
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849920407
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 331,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. The winner of two Irish Book Awards, he is the author of eight novels for adults and four for younger readers, including the international bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which was made into a Miramax feature film and has sold more than six million copies worldwide. His novels are published in over forty-five languages. He lives in Dublin.

Product Description


"With goodly dollops of magic and wonderful surrealism, it has a fable-like quality. If they like magical stories, and if they like to deal with serious issues in a metaphorical way, they will love this sweet, funny and kindly book. I certainly did" (Jill Murphy The Bookbag)

"This delightful, bittersweet 'fairytale' is a flight of fantasy with playful use of language and a joy from start to finish. Noah's heartbreaking emotional journey is lightened by a rich vein of absurd humour and eccentric characters" (Sally Morris Daily Mail)

"Destined to become something of a children's classic" (Charlie Higson Mail On Sunday)

"It's inventive, wily, twisty . . . Noah Barleywater Runs Away is a carefully crafted whimsical gem, a story to share with others and to discuss at book clubs, a true publishing event" (Irish Independent)

"Boyne has interesting things to say about identity, self knowledge and how we cope with life's travails and the book really does benefit from a second reading. Oliver Jeffers has produced beautiful cover artwork and his line drawings are suitably enigmatic helping to make this both an attractive and desirable package" (John Newman The School Librarian)

Book Description

From the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; a magical story about the choices we make.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jenny, Wondrous Reads TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've been waiting for a new children's book by John Boyne ever since I first read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which is one of my all-time favourites. The wait was so worth it, because Noah Barleywater Runs Away is fantastic. It's unpredictable and beautifully written, with a main character you will fall in love with. It also includes fantastic illustrations by Oliver Jeffers, which compliment the story really well.

8-year-old Noah Barleywater, an innocent and determined young boy, runs away from home because he wants to experience the world and have adventures. At first I thought this was the whole point of the story, and I wasn't expecting the journey I was taken on, or the conclusion Noah's tale reached. On his travels through the villages, he meets talking animals (I loved this aspect of the story, it was very Narnian), a beautiful tree and an enigmatic old man who lives in an amazing toy shop. During his day with the old man, Noah learns some valuable life lessons, and gains a new friend in the process.

The old man's story unravels chapter by chapter, as he delves deeper into his memories to show Noah that not everything in life is as it seems. He subtly imparts wisdom and advice, while talking fondly of his father and relaying his own childhood as a famous Olympic runner. Interspersed with the old man's story is Noah's account of his own life as an 8-year-old, complete with revelations and admittances that are sure to make many a reader find tears in their eyes.

Noah Barleywater Runs Away is a lovely story wrapped in magic and fairytale, and has reminded me how much I love John Boyne's writing. Readers of all ages will find something charming about this story, and it'll make you think about your own actions and how time moves a lot quicker than we think. I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you're old, young or just an 8-year-old boy looking for an adventure.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L on 9 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Reading Noah Barleywater Runs Away is an unusual experience. Quite unlike anything else I've read, it's a work of art. Part coming-of-age story, part fable, the second children's book from John Boyne will also be of interest to older readers.

Eight-year-old Noah is our protagonist. He's a boy running away from home for the first time - away from something he doesn't even want to think about. As he runs, Noah enters a world that's straight out of the pages of a child's storybook. On the surface, it's a vivid and enchanting land where anything can happen; where animals talk and trees object to a presumptuous boy swiping their fruits for a snack. But when Noah's journey brings him to a mysterious toyshop, and we meet the old man who lives there, it becomes clear that there is far more to this adventure than pure whimsy. Noah's acquaintance is strangely familiar, and we gradually realise that he's not just any toymaker. His story is in some ways the flipside of Noah's, and the young runaway needs to hear what he has to say.

Sensitively drawn, Noah possesses all the widsom of a real eight-year-old boy. The further we get from our own childhoods, the easier it is to forget how aware we were of the complexities of our lives in those days; this book reminds us. While I would usually hesitate to read a book about a protagonist this young, particularly a boy (having never been one), I found Noah astute and inquisitive and impossible not to relate to. In some ways Noah Barleywater Runs Away is a coming-of-age story, as it deals with a chapter in his life when he has to face essential truths about the human condition a little earlier than most. The magic realism of the world he enters may be spellbinding, but he's also a character bidding farewell to part of his childhood.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S on 15 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
So we all know I'm prone to shedding a few tears now and then. In fact, I'm starting to think Random House actually hate me, which is why they keep releasing books that make me cry buckets. We had Trash, we had Half Brother, Boys Don't Cry (boys may not but Carly certainly does cry) and Tall Story - to name a very small selection. Well, Noah Barleywater really takes the biscuit when it comes to reducing me to a blubbering wreck. I finished this book in the bath, surrounding by bubbles, weeping for all I was worth. In fact, I was wailing to the extent that my boyfriend and puppy had to comfort me while I sat covered in tears and bubbles. And snot. Still in the bath.

I think Noah Barleywater Runs Away is a book best enjoyed if you go in blind, like I did. I'd heard a couple of people raving about it but I didn't know any of the details. I think that's best. This book is such a delicious treat that you should experience it for yourself so I'm not going to give away any of the specifics.

Noah runs away from home early one morning to escape the problems in his life and the story we read is of his adventures and the people he meets on his journey. Enter a talking Dachshund, a very hungry donkey, an overemotional apple tree and a magical toy shop. To be honest, that's all you need to know.

You may (or may not) know that John Boyne is the writer of the utterly brilliant The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Well, as much as I love that story, I honestly think Noah Barleywater trumps it. Absolutely everything I want from a book is included in this novel - we have genuinely funny instances, fantastic writing, characters I will never forget and some of the most heartbreaking moments I've ever read in a book. Perfect.
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