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The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket
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The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,606 ratings  ·  613 reviews
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
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Doubleday Childrens
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Georgia Shawver My 10 yo old son just finished it and loved it. It sounds like it has lots of really positive themes and a very good message.

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3.98  · 
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 ·  3,606 ratings  ·  613 reviews

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Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I got this book through a goodreads giveaway and hoped that it might spark a renewed interest in reading in my maths/science obsessed daughter. After reading the blurb and flicking through it she asked if we could read it together so we spent the weekend doing just that.
Barnaby Brocket is a boy who can float and goes on some adventures all around the world. It's a typical kids book, however it also has a hidden depth to it that perhaps not all younger readers will appreciate. It makes you quest
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was definitely interesting; meant for children but highly packed with valuable morals people of all ages need to be reminded of. The main moral: its perfectly fine to be different.

I've read Boyne's Noah Barleywater Runs Away, so I wasn't surprised with certain fantasy and illogical elements being written about. Being very used to YA and adult books though, I had to keep reminding myself that it's a children's book so its perfectly okay to read about a boy who can float and travels arou
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comedy, adventure
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 th
Cora Tea Party Princess
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
Serendipity Reviews
The terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket, wasn't really a terrible thing in my eyes, because it made him see how truly special he was. OK, his mother went against any scrap of maternal instinct she might have had and didn't really lose any sleep over what she did, but to be honest, Barnaby was much better off with out his parents.
Barnaby was exceptional, clever, mature and thoughtful; the kind of child you would love and adore. The only thing that made him different from other childr
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Barnaby Brocket is no ordinary boy as he defies the laws of gravity, floating off if he isn't physically restrained. His parents cannot accept his differences and go to extreme lengths to keep him grounded, physically and mentally. One day, Barnaby floats away and you hope he will experience better examples of humanity once freed from the suffocating normality of his earth-bound family.

Before I got the opportunity to "meet" Barnaby he was kidnapped by my two children, aged 8 and 12, and both wer
Vicky N.
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 - A book by an author from a country you've never visited. 6/52

What a beautiful book and a beautiful story!
Barnaby Brocket is a very special boy from the moment he is born. Barnaby Brocket floats, much to the great horror of his parents. And then the terrible happens and he floats away toward adventure.

I really enjoyed this book. It was quirky and strange and it's about acceptance of one's weirdness. It had beautiful illustrations that mirrored the mood of the bo
Nurhayati Ramlan
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-love, owned-shelf

I like how the author see 'normal' as a subjective term. What normal for you might not be normal for me and that doesn't make me or you any less normal. All of us is different from one another, be it our appearances, our mind set, our principles and life styles. Nobody is the exact copy of the other, so how much 'normal' can something be for it to be called as 'normal'?

Instead of being too quick to judge or punish those who are different than us, why can't we embrace it? That's the colours of li
Nur Raihan
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After more than a month reading this, (not that its boring or anything, I was just busy) I'm glad that I have finished it!

Damn Barnaby, all those adventures that you have and you're just 8 years old! I'm totally on your side kid, who would wanna be normal when you can be different and have a lot of adventures right? RIGHT?
Hizatul Akmah
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.6/5 bc of how magnificent the whole story is. i really fond of reading children book like this which makes me thinking not as a grown up but as a human being.
May 25, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I’m disappointed with this book. It’s inappropriate for a 40 year old man to discuss porn with an 8 year old boy no matter how playfully worded it may be. But perhaps I’m too obscenely “normal”.
Rachel Sh
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't really know what else to say apart from, I LOVE this book! It's just one of those rare novels that's heart-warming and sweet in every way possible. You really shouldn't be put off by the almost childish cover (in my opinion, it's so cute!) because this book shouldn't be missed by anybody! It's definitely a book that can be enjoyed by all ages!

One thing I adored about this book, is that it reminded me so much of Roald Dahl's books! And who doesn't love Roald Dahl?! Yet again just let me s
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I was drawn to this book because I like quirky stories, and I'm a huge fan of Oliver Jeffers (the illustrator). And this book started out great! Poor Barnaby Brockett, born to terrible parents, sibling to two very ordinary kids, and master to one devoted dog. The book reads much as a classic Roald Dahl book might (complete with TERRIBLE parents!), and Jeffers's illustrations add a similar touch as Quentin Blake's might.

And yet, the book gets both more absurd and a trifle more boring in the secon
Ana Carolina Maciel

It was wonderful to read about Barnaby's journey and to see how the people who crossed his path led him to gradually develop something he did not have before (view spoiler).

We all want to be valued and cherished by the people we love, but that should never require changing our essence.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
It’s such fun to be a kid again, and I loved my vicarious world vacay traveling with Barnaby Brocket in Boyne’s “The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket.” Barnaby is born with an inability to obey the laws of gravity. This, of course, leads to terrible consequences. His father attaches mattresses to the ceilings of their house, but, of course, venturing out of doors is exceedingly risky. Without giving away too much, Barnaby finds himself in innumerable pickles as he floats throughou ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Joanne Neill
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Eleven to thirteen year old children
The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is a beaut story for around eleven to thirteen year olds, about being different. Simply written by John Boyne, from a child's perspective.
Patrícia Braz
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
3.5 stars
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It’s more like 2.5 stars. I didn’t like this book. It isn’t like I hated it but I just didn’t like it. First of all (and this happens with a lot of books, but it was specially noticeable in this one) none of the characters act their age. Our main character is 8 years old and he acts like he’s a mix of teenager and old wise man who lives in a cavern. The brother, supposedly 15, acts more like 10, and the sister, around 12, acts like she could be a teenager. Also the dog is incredibly humanized, b ...more
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars

Reading The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne was a bit of a stretch for me, even as an avid Middle Grade fan, perhaps because the book skews toward the younger end of that spectrum (around age 8). While it was adventurous, charming, and wonderfully written, it was also too heavy handed for my tastes. I believe it will be an ideal book for many children (or adults) who need to feel as if it is okay to be something other than “normal”, but complete lack of sub
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
Barnaby Brocket was born in Sydney, Australia to a very normal family and in fact, up to the moment of his birth, the Brockets prided themselves on just how normal they were. But then Barnaby was born and first thing he did was float and their whole normal existence was turned upside down. Because Barnaby didn't stop floating and pretty soon there were mattresses nailed to the ceilings so that Barnaby wouldn't hurt himself.

Now if his parents were ashamed of Barnaby, his older brother Henry and
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book is about Barnaby Brocket who is a boy born into a 'normal' family... floating. The book is very abstract and doesn't have many relations to reality. The story to me is very weird and wasn't to my liking. The book is not suited to teenagers, and I think should be aimed at around ten-year-olds. I although did like the creativity that John Boyne uses. I would not recommend it.
Anna Kendig
Aug 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-gave-up
I stuck with this book well past the halfway point, despite the fact that I found the writing dull and wooden. Normally, I enjoy reading children's literature, but haven't read from that area of the bookstore in a while so I though "am I just rusty?"

This would make a better read-aloud book than silent, but the tone is dry, preachy, and flat. I was, frankly, bored at several junctures. Barnaby is precocious in a fairly insufferable way, and if he wasn't so innocent about it, I'd downright dislike
Claire Russell
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket is a great read. It tells the story of a little boy who is born into a family who are obsessive about normality, who don't wish to stand out at all in anyway, ever! Unfortunately for them when Barnaby, their third child is born, he can float! This is a terrible inconvenience for the Brocket's who like to have an ordered life. Barnaby is not let out of the family house for the first years of his life. His parents put a mattress on the ceiling to ...more
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s, reviewed, 2015
A sweet, whimsical little story about a boy who floats. Totally my sort of thing! I think I would have very much adored it when I was younger, despite how there were a lot of references and nods to things I don't think children would even have noticed. The supporting cast of characters was diverse and interesting, each with different voices and stories, and I loved how each place felt different and new, but it was a shame that Barnaby himself (and his family) were so flat and boring in compariso ...more
Kerry Bridges
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Brockets are a completely normal Australian family. They have 2 children and a dog and they definitely don't want people to look at them differently. When Barnaby is born he floats. Mr and Mrs Brocket really don't want to deal with that so one day, they let Barnaby go and, before he comes home again he goes on many exciting adventures.

This is a lovely book for children. I have been reading some quite heavy going, serious books for some time and I just wanted something for light relief so I p
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I will definitely be adding this to my collection. I noted before that adults could get a lot out of this book, as well. You can't help but love little Barnaby and how he grows throughout the story, even with such a short time passing within the storytelling . This is an important read about acceptance (or lack thereof throughout majority of the book), how to treat others who are unlike yourself, travel (even if it is accidental!), how to think for yourself and be a separate entity from your par ...more
4.5 stars actually to be precise.

Fun, fun story about a boy, Barnbaby Brocket, who floats, which he's done since he was 3 minutes old, This is super embarrassing to his parents who order him to stop, but of course, he can't. His parents just can't tolerate this flaw because they just want to live 'normal' lives and draw no attention to themselves. And so one day, his mother sends him up in the air ... But what is normal really? Some wonderfully dark humorous moments.

1/2 star off because I didn'
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-fiction
While I was reading this, I finally put my finger on what it is that I like so much about John Boyne and Oliver Jeffers: their stories (and author/illustrator partnerships) are full of magical realism. It isn't exactly like the magical realism I've enjoyed so much in Latin American literature, though—it's Irish magical realism, which is different some how. There is a lot of sadness, but it's too odd and interesting to get lost in the sadness the whole time. I'm sure there has been plenty of far ...more
Maria Carmo
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Indeed, this book could as well be called "the wonderful life of Barnaby Brocket", because his life is told by the Author as a modern day tale of wonder and discovery, as a novel "explorer" of sorts, whose difference propels him to a life of adventure. The tale is, in fact, all about the incapacity of Barnaby's family to accept him as he is, and the courageous way in which he faces his strange but wonderful destiny and still wants to return and give his family a chance to learn to value him for ...more
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John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist.

He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA.

John Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories.

His novel
“(J)ust because your version of normal isn't the same as someone else's version doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with you.” 55 likes
“It is possible, you know, to drift off to an unknown world and find happiness there. Maybe even more happiness than you've ever known before.” 32 likes
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