03 March 2011

Noah Barleycorn Runs Away; John Boyne

Noah Barleywater Runs AwayNoah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a surprise this book was: when I first started, my thought was that Noah did not sound like an 8-year-old (unlike Jack in Room, who very much sounds like a 5-year-old). Then, as his journey continued I realized that this was a special journey, where the actual age of the character didn't matter quite as much.

Noah runs away for reasons that become clear by the end of the book, but that seem a little odd at first. As he sets out, like any journey, distances appear both farther and nearer than they are. He hasn't brought food, so by the time he reaches the first village, he's pretty hungry. And that's when things start being a little odd: the apple tree isn't like any normal apple tree. It moves. Things get weirder from there... newspapers that get written virtually instantaneously, trees that grow back overnight, towns with talking donkeys, and more.

Part Phantom Tollbooth, part Oz and Wonderland, Noah's visit to the Toy Shop and its toymaker will delight younger readers and amuse older ones.

ARC provided by publisher.

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