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Noah Barleywater Runs Away

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  3,160 ratings  ·  457 reviews
In Noah Barleywater Runs Away, bestselling author John Boyne explores the world of childhood and the adventures that we can all have there. Noah is running away from his problems, or at least that's what he thinks, the day he takes the untrodden path through the forest. When he comes across a very unusual toyshop and meets the even more unusual toymaker he's not sure what ...more
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published September 30th 2010 by David Fickling Books
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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In my quest to read all of John Boyne's novels by the end of the year. I came across this whimsical, but sad work of children's fantasy....with multiple messages.

"Not Everyone Grows Old At All."

The storyline centers around 8 year old Noah who decides early one morning to run away from home leaving his problems and fears behind. Traveling through the forest from village to village, he meets strange characters, talking animals and an extraordinary tree...or two.

We soon discover his reasons for

May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc

Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne is a magical work of art. What appears superficially to be just another juvenile adventure book, is, in truth, the most beautiful and deeply touching fairy tale I've had the pleasure of reading in a long time.

Noah is an extremely vulnerable and bright young boy, who, at the age of 8, have decided to escape from his home and his parents, in hope of experiencing some great, life-changing adventures. Or, should I say, this is what Noah convinces himself to
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
For book reviews and more, please visit my book blog, The Book Stop

I thought this book was a bit too random for starts. It was very imaginative, but sometimes a bit over the top. It's not very descriptive at all and sometimes the storyline became a bit boring, but the characters are interesting and kept me going throughout the book. Not a page turner for me but the characters and their personalities made up for that.

I fell in love with the innocence of Noah. The rest of the characters were a bi
“Do you think . . . ?"

'I do sometimes, my boy,'admitted the old man. 'When I can't avoid it.”

John Boyne, Noah Barleywater Runs Away: A Fairytale
Now and again people talk about a children's (under 8s) book destined to be a modern classic, well this is easily the closest I've seen. A book that completely and snuggly fits into the European fairy tale cannon. A smart, inquisitive boy decides to run away from home, from little troubles and one overbearing big trouble. Via an almost magical real jour
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne is a book that fits under many genres. Ultimately i would place it under Children/Middle-grade Fiction, but it can also fall under Fantasy and Fairy Tale. I picked it up from a booksale and when i posted a photo of it on instagram, somebody commented and said that they really wanted to read the book because somebody whom they looked up to told them that it was their favourite book. Knowing that, i had to find out why. And i did. I loved the overall story ...more
Crystal Marcos
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC copy of this book and it was definitely worth the read. I hadn't read anything by John Boyne before and found this story to be quite magical right from the very start. As the title gives away, it is about a boy who runs away from home. Noah is just 8 years old and dealing with something very hard for a young child to comprehend. It tugged at my heartstrings at times. Don't get me wrong though it really is far from a sad story. All I know is that I would have loved to visit a vi ...more
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Review to follow
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The book is described as a fairy tale and I would agree. When you reach the final pages, you will realize that the story is the sensitively, retold tale of a wonderful, imaginary character from our childhood. The story is told with subtle humor and simple truths and the ending will surprise you.
It is about Noah Barleywater, a child who has to face problems that may be beyond his years. To escape from his fears, Noah decides to run away and have some adventures. After all, he is already 8 and has
May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Noah Barleywater Runs Away is a beautifully crafted modern fairytale which both children and adults alike will adore. Brilliantly bizzare from the very first page, John Boyne's latest children's book tells the story of Noah Barleywater, an eight-year-old boy who sets off to see the world with the intention of leaving all his cares and worries behind. He quickly becomes swept up in a strange, magical adventure, but upon meeting a very special toymaker he learns an important lesson in dealing with ...more
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids

Have you ever wondered what happened next in fairy tales? like what happened to red riding hood after the wolf's head was chopped off? or to Pinocchio? or maybe Hansel and Gretel?

this book, i found was like a more kiddish version of A Monster Calls, but still magical. i honestly loved how Boyne dealt with the issue of death, regrets, making the best of the life given and love in such an unassuming manner but yet it still managed to hit home.

and as an added benefit thi
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars - some parts were just too long-winded. Anyway, this was a nice book :)
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ncbla
It took awhile for this story to draw me in, partly because I loved The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and couldn't see how any subsequent book by the author could measure up, partly because I wasn't sure why Noah was leaving home and what kind of world he might be venturing into. But once I realized his reasons for wanting to avoid what was happening at home--think A Monster Calls--and saw some of the parallels and regrets in the toymaker's own life, I settled down and enjoyed it. That said, I don' ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Noah Barleywater is 8 years old. His mum has been acting very strangely lately. Now he knows that she is seriously ill. Noah decided that the best thing to do is to run away to avoid facing what is to come. Fortunately Noah meets an old toy maker who, by sharing tales of his own experiences, helps Noah to see his future more clearly.
This story draws on the influence of many traditional tales, primarily Pinocchio, and is full of fantasy and magic. Through this medium, it considers the fullness o
3.5 stars
This was a nice read, with some funny but also some beautiful aspects in it.

I liked the main character, Noah. He is very intelligent for his age, but still in a funny-childish way, which makes him very likeable.

And, ohhh, at the very ending I realised this is actually a fairy-tale retelling! Oopss, can't believe I didn't notice this earlier...

This is a childrens book actually, so maybe this is why I found the pace of the story quite slow. I happened to be a little bit bored sometimes un
Virginia Squier
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really love the way Boyne writes. His imagery and characters are wonderful. As I was reading this book I kept trying to predict where Boyne was going with the plotline, and could not. When the ending was revealed I was impressed with how original the fable was.
Lone Matz
Oct 21, 2014 rated it liked it
A new perspective on the Pinocchio story. Well written as always from John Boyne and very enjoyable!
Is it a book for children? Or is it a fairytale for adults? I'm having a hard time deciding. It's certainly difficult to describe: creative, surreal, well-written and beautifully-crafted and with much more depth than is immediately visible. 4-and-a-bit stars. ...more
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked this book and didn't like it. To start with, it's supposedly geared for kids about 3rd grade and up. I listened to it on CD and feel that the reader has such a soft voice and talks in such measured tones that the first several chapters drag on. Gradually I got drawn into the story, but I think most 3rd and 4th graders won't have the patience to keep going. Secondly, the story has lots of layers to it and it will fly over the heads of most young readers. There are magic creatures, a few o ...more
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I love reading children's fiction. It's usually so creative, imaginative, and fantastic, with excellent morals and teachings. I like exploring kid's books for myself, but also imagining what a younger mind could take away from them. Although I don't do it often, I quite like to delve into a little fairy tale such as this one to keep me in touch with the better, more magical world of children's fiction.

This story is incredibly random. So random, in fact, I was surprised when the finale turned out
Melanie Williams
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
A really sweet book that felt much like an Enid Blyton. I was waiting for Mr Moonface from Folk of the Faraway Tree to pop in! However it is much better written and would really suit a read aloud text for grades 2-5 in primary school.
Shashi Martynova
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
that's a story-fable well told, quite poignant and gentle.
the morale goes along the lines "care for loved ones while you're alive, later can be too late", but it's neither soggy, nor too mentoring. nice read for young teenagers (emotional education of sorts) and for adults - as a reminder.
Britt Meter
Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it
The story line was similar to "A Monster Calls" by Patrick Ness, because it both revolves around children and how the interpret death especially a tragic death of a loved one in the family. But overall I liked it how Noah who is an eight year old boy running away from home until he he sees a old toy shop and the connection between Noah and the old man, they are both reflecting each other's life. I would have liked the story if I was in my teenage years I think this story isn't for me, but overal ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: l-like-library
John Boyne is a great author. I definitely enjoyed this book despite being older than the actual target group. Some bits appeared quite slow to me, but the ending was absolutely stunning and made me glad to have picked up this book. It's safe to say that it's a retelling of sorts - but you'll have to read it yourself to find out.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
3.75 magical stars ☄
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well this was all fantastical and adorable!

I knew that it would be good because John Boyne is the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (WHICH IS THE SINGLE MOST DEPRESSING THING YOU WILL EVER READ. DO NOT APPROACH IT), but I wasn't expecting to be swept away by the story and characters as quickly as I was.

This, without the twisty twist at the end, would still be a fantastic book about sadness and hardships but with a little whimsy thrown in, BUT THEN THERE WAS THE TWISTY TWIST and it just m
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-2019, 2019
This is an amazing, yet poignant tale. The story revolves around the title character – who has run away from home. He ends up in a simply magical place where he is able to unpack what has caused him to run away (no spoilers here). Boyne is a master of bringing you into the story and he delivers things in such an incredible way that you gasp as you take in the words. He is hands down my favorite writer – ever.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
So we all know I’m prone to shedding a few tears now and then. In fact, I’m starting to think Random House actually hate me, which is why they keep releasing books that make me cry buckets. We had Trash, we had Half Brother, Boys Don’t Cry (boys may not but Carly certainly does cry) and Tall Story – to name a very small selection. Well, Noah Barleywater really takes the biscuit when it comes to reducing me to a blubbering wreck. I finished this book in the bath, surrounding by bubbles, weeping f ...more
Nicola Carter
Sep 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nicola by: Won From Waterstones
i have never read A Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (I know, I know, I hate myself too)so i began this book not knowing how i would like Boyne's writing style. All i can say is , I'm in love.
We start with Noah Barleywater , he's currently running away from home, he's soon drawn to a rickety, odd looking toy shop where he meets an old toymaker. They share stories together about being young and growing up.
One thing I noticed while reading this , is that the detail of the toy shop is beautiful, you hone
Adele Broadbent
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Noah Barleywater leaves his home early in the morning before his parents wake up. The novel is set over the period of one day but also over another character’s lifetime.

Noah finds a strange village, and in that village, a toy shop. The toys are all made from wood and he soon meets the owner. This toy shop is like nothing he’s ever seen. The puppets seem alive!

Over the day the toy maker talks Noah into telling him why he ran away, and Noah also listens to the toymaker's story.

I loved this tale. I
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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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