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The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket Hardcover – 2 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Childrens (2 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857531468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857531469
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.8 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 141,949 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. www.johnboyne.com.

Product Description

Review

"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 2012-05-25)

"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 2012-05-25)

"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' beautiful illustrations add the perfect finishing touch" (Booktrust)

Book Description

A warm, moving and imaginative tale of an unusual little boy struggling to be accepted for his differences, by the bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By SJH @ A Dream of Books on 22 Aug 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a charming and heartwarming story about a young boy who dares to be different. I wouldn't normally have picked this one up because it is predominantly aimed at younger readers but I'm so glad that I got the opportunity to read it because it was simply lovely. The perfect book to put a smile on your face at all the exciting and wonderful adventures that our hero Barnaby gets up to along the way.

I should mention that there are also some wonderful illustrations throughout the book by Oliver Jeffers which show Barnaby on his extraordinary journey.

The story is about embracing the things that make you different rather than always trying to change and fit in with everyone else. This is an important message to convey to children reading the book and one which we should all remember.

The book reminded me quite a lot of some of the best Roald Dahl stories where the adults are far from perfect and could actually learn a thing or two from their children. Mr and Mrs Brocket are desperate for their whole family to be seen as normal and one of their mistakes is to value this more highly than the things which make each of them special in their own right and which should be celebrated rather than hidden away.

A pocket sized book with a pocket sized hero, Barnaby Brocket is one of those characters that you'll remember long after reading the final page. He has a whole host of amazing experiences and sees some incredible sights as he travels around the world. He also meets lots of interesting people who teach him some valuable life lessons. He's an inspiring figure who we could all learn a thing or two from.

This is a great book for both children and adults. It is a unique story which is sad in places but ultimately an uplifting tale of daring to dream.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Walker VINE VOICE on 28 Jun 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In our society there is always strong pressure to conform, to be the same, to be "normal".
Barnaby's parente want their family to be "normal", so imagine their consternation, then, when their third child floats - and I mean, floats.
Barnaby can't help it, but unless he's tethered down, he'll just float away. His parents hide him away. People will find out he's not "normal". When Barnaby's eight, his mother takes him out wearing the weighted rucksack they use to keep him on the ground. Whilst he's distracted she slits the rucksack, the sand ballast trickes out and that's it - off Barnaby floats over Sydney.
For the rest of the book he encounters a series of people who have "dared to be different" and each teaches him a valuable lesson.
This is a great, fun book. Suspend your disbelief and enter Barnaby's wonderful world.
And dare to be different!
P>S give my regards to Capt. W E Johns, Barnaby's dog!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Wright VINE VOICE on 15 Sep 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Barnaby Brocket lives in a normal house, in a normal city with his normal parents and normal siblings and his normal dog. However, Barnaby Brocket is not normal. Although he is a perfectly healthy boy in every other way there is one thing that makes him stand out. He floats. Barnaby's parents despise their son's unusual characteristic so one day a terrible thing happens when his mother cuts a slit in the sand-filled rucksack that is holding Barnaby to the Earth. Barnaby's travels take him all over the world where he meets various people who have also been judged for not being `normal'.

John Boyne's latest novel reminded me a lot of Roald Dahl's work, particularly the parents who have similar selfish ways to the Wormwood's and the school (The Graveling Academy for Unwanted Children) in Matilda. Whilst the book is aimed at children (around age 8-12) there is plenty there for it to appeal to adults too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NRCM on 28 Mar 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a charming book about a boy who floats. This isn't flying or anything intentional - literally if he isn't held down, he floats around, about and away.

Unfortunately, he comes from a family who don't embrace difference. In fact, quite the opposite. They just want to be normal. They are frightened of anything that is outside of the socially accepted norms. Barnaby's parents can't cope with him and can't stop him floating.

The story follows Barnaby as he is cast free from his family and his adventures as he meets different people and situations.

A lovely story for children. I would recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By techpuppy TOP 50 REVIEWER on 20 Feb 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Am I the only person that remembers the Zenzible Family from the TV sketch show Absolutely? They were the family that only did zenzible things while wearing zenzible clothes and never, ever, ever ran with scissors? Well, that's basically the family Barnaby Brocket gets born into and that would all be fine except Barnaby floats like he's full of helium and that's just too much for his family to bear and so they set him free - quite literally. As he floats his way around the world Barnaby meets all sorts of (representatively selected and politically corrected) people and learns that being different is not the disadvantage his parents think it is, actually quite the opposite.

The book is written with real wit and humour and moves along at a nice pace, but the book's underlying message does get slightly repetitive because Barnaby doesn't just learn his lesson once, he gets to learn it over and over again and so, therefore, do we. Of course learning to accept and even to cherish diversity is a lesson well worth learning, especially for the young, but you occasionally wish the book would move on to deeper, or even just different, mantras as Barnaby drifts through his various encounters and adventures. However, in the end it's a completely charming and captivating book, with its substantial and very human heart in exactly the right place.
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