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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 ·  4,115 ratings  ·  671 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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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,115 ratings  ·  671 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: adventure, comedy
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
Circus Hufflepuff Unicycle Pig
This book was an amazingly funny book by John Boyne about a boy called Barnaby Brocket born into a very ordinary house with ordinary parents but the second he is born, he defies the laws of gravity by floating to the ceiling! (the spoiler is sort of quite spoilerish) (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really good and funny book about what is "normal". Barnaby Brocket is born into a perfectly normal family, with perfectly normal parents, which live in a perfectly normal house with their perfectly normal children, and perfectly normal dog. Until Barnaby is born, and he defies the law of gravity by floating to the ceiling. His parents can't seem to accept the fact that Barnaby is different to them by their standards, and eventually make a terrible decision, leading to a series of adventures that ...more
Nurhayati Ramlan
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-shelf, mg-love

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.
Lila Cyclist
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anybooks-app
What do you call as normal? Is being normal like any others? If so, how boring our life is. Compared to Barnaby, our life might be boring. But for Brocket family, Barnaby is not a normal child, he is a curse, he brings a shame to their family.

Husband and wife Brocket never thought that their life wouldn’t be the same as soon as Barnaby was born. For all their lives, they tried their best not to stand out. Unlike his siblings, Barnaby was against gravity. Wherever he went, even as soon as he was
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”.
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
Rachel S
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.
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who has ever felt different (i.e. for everyone. Except you, normal people. Except. You.)
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
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book,
at the end it inspires you to be who YOU want to be,
not what anyone else wants you to be.

It's telling you to go where life takes you, to have new adventures.

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket wasn't actually that bad, the journey life took him on made him realise that he wanted to be himself, not what his parents wanted him to be and definitely not what others wanted him to be.

This book is very inspiring and I would definitely recommend it if you are loo
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
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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  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.
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: reviewed, children-s, 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
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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

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