The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket: Book summary and reviews of The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket

By John Boyne, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket

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Book Summary

Barnaby Brocket is an ordinary 8-year-old boy in most ways, but he was born different in one important way: he floats. Unlike everyone else, Barnaby does not obey the law of gravity. His parents, who have a horror of being noticed, want desperately for Barnaby to be normal, but he can't help who he is. And when the unthinkable happens, Barnaby finds himself on a journey that takes him all over the world. From Brazil to New York, Canada to Ireland, and even to space, the floating boy meets all sorts of different people—and discovers who he really is along the way.

This whimsical novel will delight middle graders, and make readers of all ages question the meaning of normal. 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. It's a fun and thought-provoking story of self-discovery, and the humor and gentleness with which Boyne delivers his message make it both unforgettable and delightful. Ages 8–12." - Publishers Weekly

"All of his experiences ultimately prove to be character-building, if repetitive in their themes. A story of self-empowerment told with wry humor and purpose. Fable. 8-12." - Kirkus

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Author Information

John Boyne, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers Author Biography

Photo: John Boyne

I was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1971, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where I was awarded the Curtis Brown prize.

My early writing consisted mostly of short stories, and I published a number of them. My first story, The Entertainments Jar, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award in Ireland. In total, I've published about 70 short stories.

My 2006 novel, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, was made into an award-winning Miramax film. The novel itself won 2 Irish Book Awards, the Bisto Book of the Year, and was shortlisted or won a host of international awards. Amongst other accolades, it spent more than 80 weeks at no.1 in Ireland, topped the New York Times Bestseller List, and was the ...

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Name Pronunciation
John Boyne, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers: BOYn

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