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Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne

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Children's Book of the Month

Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne

Published by David Fickling Books, 2010

Written from the child’s point of view Noah Barleywater Runs Away seems very different from John Boyne’s overnight success and now blockbuster film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Picking up the book without any prior knowledge of what it’s about will turn out major surprises and become a captivating read for children and indeed adults who enjoy a good story. Readers will definitely see similarities between this book and several others including Alice in Wonderland and the Chronicles of Narnia and for those who’ve read neither, this work of fiction will stand on its own as an excellent read.

Eight year old Noah runs away from home and enters a realm of fantasy as he passes through two villages on his way to the third, where he meets an old toymaker in the most amazing toyshop imaginable. The old man’s friends are Alexander, the tightly-wound clock and the multi-functioning, talking door called Henry. A wooden box contains an array of puppets that were made by the old man’s father introducing a cast of the most unusual and amazing characters.

Much is left to the imagination in this story. Only near the end do we find out why Noah has run away and who the old puppet maker is and to even hint about the resolution of these mysteries would spoil the story.

Once again Boyne has produced a memorable tale that contains a whole range of human emotions. You will laugh, you may even cry and you will be sorry when you come to the end of this strangely true-to-life story full of magic and fairytale.

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