Wednesday 29 September 2010

ARC Review: Noah Barleywater Runs Away - John Boyne

Noah Barleywater left home in the early morning, before the sun rose, before the dogs woke, before the dew stopped falling on the fields.

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; it's a toyshop, full of the most amazing toys, and brimming with the most wonderful magic.  And here Noah meets a very unusual old man.

The old man takes Noah on a journey.  A journey that will change his life.  And it could change yours too.

Noah Barleywater Runs Away releases in the UK on September 30th 2010 in hardback.

Visit John Boyne's website for more information

Eight year old Noah has decided to run away from home, there are things happening in his life that he is struggling to understand and doesn't know how to deal with so he decides to go out into the world and have a great adventure.  Following a path through the forest he comes across a magical toy shop and the mysterious toy maker.  The toy maker takes Noah on a journey sharing the tales of his past adventures and helping Noah to make sense of the present.

Noah Barleywater Runs Away is a beautiful tale full of mystery and wonder, you never know what to expect next and that was one of the things I loved about the book.  Although the ARC I read isn't illustrated I understand that the final hardcover version has been beautifully illustrated by Oliver Jeffers and I'm definitely planning on buying a finished copy.

The story is suitable for all ages but I think it will particularly appeal to a younger audience or anyone who would like to re-connect to their inner child.  Reading it took me back to my childhood laying in bed and listening to one of my parents reading fairytales to me & I think this will quickly become a favorite story for both parents and children.

I loved the characters, John Boyne has perfectly captured an eight year old childs logic and thought processes in Noah and he is a character you can't help but fall in love with.  I laughed out loud at the antics of the donkey and the dachshund but you're going to have to read the book to find out more about them.  Although the toy maker shares his life story he is quite a mysterious character and we don't get to find out who he is until nearly the end of the book - I have to say it was a fabulous twist at the end and I'm surprised I didn't work it out for myself as I was reading.  The toy shop itself is a wonderful setting to the story and it really is a whimsical place where anything could happen.

This is a beautiful tale that covers topics such as love, loss and disappointment but it does so in a gentle way that a child can understand.  It includes plenty of humor so it isn't at all heavy to read but it did bring tears to my eyes in a couple of places.  Having said that I found the book also offered hope and left me feeling quite uplifted by the end. 

This really is a wonderful story and something to be enjoyed by all ages or together as a family for bed time reading.  I would highly recommend Noah Barleywater Runs Away so make sure you pick up your copy soon!

Source: Received from RHCB in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
Wondrous Reads
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


  1. Aww. This one sounds sweet and sad. I adore Oliver Jeffers as an illustrator - his picture books are loved by my two boys.

  2. I love stories that made you work the mind and if it's with illustrations it's much better. Not only for kids^^

  3. Sounds interesting.

    Odd thing to focus on, but I love the choice of font on the ARC cover...

  4. Thanks for the fantastic review! I'm loving the idea of this being illustrated- it sounds so beautiful already and the pictures will give it that extra magical-ness :)

  5. This sounds like such a lovely story. I would love to see these illustrations because it sounds like such a magical story.
    Great review!

  6. this book would definitely bring back childhood memories.

    great review btw.


  7. I've accidentally filled in another form for the giveaway of this book. sry


  8. this looks like a fabulous read, I don't think I've read something like this ever. I'd love to see the illustrations! I do have a feeling it will surely make me reconnect with my inner child. :)

  9. The book sounds great! Thanks for the review

  10. Mmm..with Noah's young age, he acts like a mature one. He sounds brave. I'd love to read this book!

  11. this sounds like a book i'd love to read to my godkids or my cousin-in-law! great review!

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

  12. @ Clover - I saw a finished copy in Waterstone's yesterday & I really liked the illustrations in it. I'll have to look out for some of Oliver Jeffers' picture books :o)

    @ sRy - I'm glad you like the sound of this one

    @ Lanta - I notice things like that too LOL :o) I really like that font though

    @ Iffath - It really is a magical story & I'm glad you liked my review.

    @ Kulsuma - Thanks, I'm glad you liked it :o)

    @ Png - It really took me back to my childhood, I think this is a fab book for bedtime stories!

    @ FairyWhispers - I'm glad you liked it & don't worry about filling in the form twice, I'll delete one of the entries for you :o)

    @ Kai - I'm sure this would help you reconnect with your inner child, it definitely brought mine out to play LOL

    @ Misha1989 - I'm glad you like the sound of it

    @ Jenilee - Noah is brave, I think he has that fearlessness of many children his age :o)

    @ k_sunshine1977 - This is a great book to read to children, I'm sure your godkids & cousin would love it

  13. Sounds like a lovely story!

  14. @ Wanda - It's a very sweet read, I'd definitely recommend it :o)

  15. This is a lovely review!
    I just love how Noah makes a special journey.. The pictures and the images the writer creates with his words must be really powerful!!

    Sounds like something Tim Burton would love to direct!! lol

  16. @ yllektra - I'm glad you like the sound of this one :o) I hadn't thought about it before but as soon as you mentioned Tim Burton making it into a film I could almost picture it in my head - it's definitely sureal enough for him!



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