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Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne

Noah Barleywater Runs Away

by John Boyne

Other authors: oliver jeffers (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Eight-year-old Noah Barleywater is leaving home. Although he tries to convince himself that it is only because he's ready for the adventure of being on his own, it quickly becomes apparent that he is running away from circumstances at home: circumstances about his mother and an illness that he can't quite face. As he travels from village to village, he tells himself that his leaving is all for the best, but it's not until he meets a kindly woodcarver in a strange toyshop that he realizes how much he has left behind. A thought-provoking and fanciful tale. ( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
magical craft of storytelling :) ( )
  KristiSiimon | Apr 5, 2013 |
This review first appeared on my blog:


Noah Barleywater is 8 years old. He lives at the edge of the forest, and one morning, while everyone is asleep, he slips out of the house and runs away to find a great adventure. At the first village he comes to, he meets an apple tree that seems to actually shy away from him. By the time he reaches the second village, his encounter with the apple tree that morning has made the papers, and his accidental encounter with a very short man has him quickly moving on.

In the third village, he comes across a strange-shaped building with an odd tree beside it. A talking dachshund and a talking (and very hungry) donkey tell him that the building is a toy shop, and that the tree is indeed an unusual one. Noah walks into the shop, where the toys are all made of wood and painted with extraordinary colors, with one wall full of nothing but puppets. As Noah turns, the door seems to disappear and the puppets seem to surround him and talk to him. When the toymaker comes up from the basement, he and Noah end up taking a meal together and talking. A wooden box full of puppets, each with it's own story, make up the tale of the toymaker's life. As the magical toymaker talks of each one, Noah comes to realize that adventure may not be all it's cracked up to be.

This is a magical tale which will bring smiles to the reader's face. A modern fable with hints of an older fairy tale, this is a tale that can be enjoyed by younger readers at face value, but can also be appreciated by older readers for its nuance and deeper meanings. If you have middle readers, this should be on their shelves.

QUOTES (from an ARC; may be different in final copy)

He stared at it, trying to use his X-ray vision to see through the branches until he remembered that he didn't have X-ray vision - that was a boy in one of his books.

'You're interested in the stars then?' I asked.
'Very,' admitted the Prince. 'I'd like to be an astronomer, if I'm honest, but my parents won't let me. They say I have to be King.' He pulled a face, as if they had told him he had to go to bed early because they had a long journey ahead of them in the morning.

'I've never really trusted people who live at the edge of the forest,' remarked the donkey. 'They seem like a very unsavory lot. I've gone there myselfa few times, just to see what it was like, and I've noticed that they do the most extraordinary things. Do you know, I once saw a young woman holding a Labrador on a lead as they walked along together, as if she owned him or something.'

Writing: 5 out of 5 stars
Plot: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Characters: 5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion: 4 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars ( )
  jewelknits | Jul 9, 2011 |
Fairytale tradition. Children's book. ( )
  elaine-pearson | Jul 3, 2011 |
I received an ARC of this book from the Amazon Vine program, in return for an honest review.

From the back of the book:

Eight-year-old Noah's problems seem easier to deal with if he doesn't think about them. So he runs away, taking an untrodden path through the forest. Before long he comes across a shop. But this is no ordinary shop. It is a toy shop, full of the most amazing toys and brimming with the most wonderful magic. And here Noah meets a very unusual toymaker. The toymaker has a story to tell and it's a a story of adventure and wonder, and broken promises. He takes Noah on a journey. A journey that will change his life. And it could change yours too.

I had a rather strange reaction to this book. I both liked and disliked this book. When I first started reading it I decided it was not my cup of tea, but I as I kept reading I found myself drawn into the story. There are a lot of hints at just what Noah is running away from and just who the toymaker really is. I kept reading to see if my guesses were right. They were. But I'm still not sure I liked this book.

What I liked about the book: The writing is very colorful and imaginative. Boyne paints some wonderful word pictures. I enjoyed revisiting an old childhood favorite. (If you want to know what fairy tale reappears in this book, you will need to read it for yourself, I don't want to spoil it for you.)

What I didn't like about the book: Though the writing was imaginative, it was also rather strange. It's a truly fractured retelling of a childhood favorite. It's also gloomy. Amazon lists the reading level as 9-12, but I'm not convinced this is really a kids book. Even though the story is about an eight year old boy, it really feels more like an adult novel.

Mrs. Archer's rating: 3 of 5. ( )
  Booklady123 | Jun 16, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Boyneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
jeffers, oliverIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sachs, AndrewNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Katie Lynch
First words
Noah Barleywater left home in the early morning, before the sun rose, before the dogs woke, before the dew stopped falling on the fields.
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Noah Barleywater verliet zijn huis vroeg in de ochtend, voordat de zon opkwam, voordat de honden wakker werden, voordat de ochtendnevel optrok.

De achtjarige Noah lijkt beter met zijn problemen om te kunnen gaan als hij ze zo veel mogelijk vermijdt. Dus gaat hij er op een dag vandoor, weg van huis, over een moeilijk begaanbaar paadje door het bos.Na enige tijd komt hij bij een winkel. Maar het is geen gewone winkel; het is een speelgoedzaak, vol bijzonder, prachtig, wonderlijk en magisch speelgoed. En de eigenaar is een heel bijzondere speelgoedmaker.

De speelgoedmaker vertelt Noah een verhaal over avonturen, wonderen en verbroken beloftes. Hij neemt Noah mee op reis. Een reis die zijn leven zal veranderen. En dat van de lezer...
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When life at home becomes too difficult, eight-year-old Noah sets out to see the world and have an adventure, and in the forest he meets a toymaker who has a story and some advice to share.

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