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The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket

by John Boyne

Other authors: Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)

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Showing 5 of 5
This book is such a good little thing! It's for younger readers; but I love John Boyne's style and I'd gladly take a bullet for Oliver Jeffers, so there was no way I was going to miss reading this book.
Barnaby Brocket is a nine year old boy that defies the laws of gravity. From the moment he was born he has been ably to float. This particular trait is frowned upon in his home, were all his parents wish is to Iead a normal life. When Barnaby's mother does the unthinkable, Barnaby is set out to have the adventure of his life and meet the most extraordinary people out there in the world.
Written with such ease, this book harbors pearls of wisdom strewn all around it. Illustrations are fabulous and makes you wish they were done in full color. Really recommend this one: it flies by -or should I say floats by?- ( )
  AleAleta | Sep 25, 2013 |
This is quite a sad book.

To read it as an adult had me close to tears. That Barnaby's parents could be so awful, could resent him so much...

But if I'd read this as a child I think it would have been a wonderful adventure. To float, to go anywhere, to inadvertently travel the world and meet so many different characters, it would have been wonderful.

This book teaches some great lessons - the most important are that it's not wrong to be different and that everyone has their own definition of normal. It's OK to be gay, to have a crappy job, to be horrifically scarred, to be a freak.

I won this via Goodreads First Reads. ( )
  Corazie | Jul 25, 2013 |
The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket is a sweet tale of betrayal, friendship and embracing people's differences. When Barnaby is born his parents are horrified that he has his head in the clouds...literally. Barnaby defies gravity and is unable to keep his feet on the ground without the aid of weights or being tethered to an object. His siblings, Melanie and Henry are accepting of their brother but their parents can't deal with a child who is anything but normal. This book does a wonderful job of exploring people's differences and sending the message that everyone is special in their own way. I also loved the fact that although Barnaby faced adversity in his life he never became bitter or disheartened. Even after everything he went through he still had a kind soul and a beautiful.spirit. 4 stars. I highly recommend this book to fans of Roald Dahl ( )
  68papyrus | Jul 24, 2013 |
The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne (2013) is a funny, at first heart-breaking story about Barnaby Brocket, a boy who was born into a completely normal family with a completely not-nomal gift. Luckily, he meets lots of wonderful people who love him for who he is, warming our hearts by the end of the story.

In the classroom, I would use this in a unit about fantasy books, as well as in a lesson about describing character traits: Boyne does a great job showing us how his characters behave, making us believe we must know them. Grades 4-8 ( )
  jennycheckers | May 8, 2013 |
This review first appeared on The Book Zone(For Boys) blog

Is there no end to the talent of John Boyne?

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas = incredible!

Noah Barleywater Runs Away = amazing!

If you have read either of Boyne's previous books for younger readers then you will know what to expect from Barnaby Brocket - a heart warming and uplifting tale that will tug mercilessly at your heartstrings, with some pretty heavy themes that are woven into the story with humour and deftness of touch that make the book suitable for the both younger audience at which it is aimed, and every age group onwards. You would also know to expect the unexpected.

If Alistair and Eleanor Brocket have on goal in life it is to be normal. To have normal jobs, live in a normal house and have normal children. They certainly do not want to do anything that makes them stand out from the crowd. They are mightily happy as the first two children born into the family prove to be normal to the core, but it is when the third comes along, the titular Barnaby, that the foundations of their world of normality are well and truly shaken. Unlike that of his siblings, Barnaby's birth is not an easy one for his mother, and then when he is born the doctor and nurses step back in amazement as he floats up to the ceiling. From this moment on we begin to see just how terrifyingly ghastly his parents can be in pursuit of their goal, as they try to deal with having a child who is as far from normal as can be. And their comes their ultimate act of betrayal as parents - abandonment. At this point, Barnaby embarks on a journey that sees him travelling around the world, encountering a host of other "different" people along the way.

Although the premise of a boy who somehow defies the law of gravity seems somewhat fantastical, at the root of the story is the concept of being normal, and what happens to those who don't necessarily conform to society's ideals of exactly what constitutes normality. Barnaby's "difference" is that he floats, but for many others it could be a disability, a desire to follow an unusual dream, or simply wanting to do something different from the wishes of a parent. As Barnaby meets person after person who at some point have dared to be different, and are proud of the decisions they have made in life, his own feelings regarding his 'affliction' are shaped, even though all he really wants is to get back to his parents back in Australia. Yes, the thoroughly nasty parents who abandoned him.

To describe Barnaby Brocket as Dahl-esqe is I feel very appropriate. John Boyne has again created a protagonist and host of supporting characters, both good and bad, that will enthral readers, young and old alike. As this book is written for younger readers then the bad characters are very obviously very bad, just as the good characters that Barnaby encounters are obviously very good. There is also a very strong moral running through the story, that may possibly seen exaggerated to the more older and cynical reader, but are an essential part of this as a story for kids (does anybody criticise the morals behind the likes of Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I think not).

This is a perfect story for 8 children, although it will be enjoyed just as much by those younger if read to them by an adult as a bedtime story. I wouldn't be surprised if, in thirty years time, people talk about this book as fondly as they do now about Roald Dahl's various masterpieces of children's fiction. The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket is destined to be a classic. ( )
  book_zone | Apr 1, 2013 |
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John Boyneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jeffers, OliverIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Dit is het verhaal van Barnaby Brocket, en als je Barnaby wilt begrijpen, dan moet je eerst zijn ouders begrijpen ; twee mensen die zo bang waren voor iedereen die anders was dat ze iets vreselijks deden, met afschuwelijke gevolgen voor al hun dierbaren.
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Born with an ability to float in the air, Barnaby Brocket is entreated by his parents to hide his unusual trait until a fateful day when he finds himself on a journey that takes him all over the world and into outer space.

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