This morning I finished reading an ARC of John Boyne’s The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket, and I’m left wondering what is so cool about being normal anyway?!
Barnaby Brocket was born into a very normal family, with a very normal mother, father, sister, brother, and dog. The only thing that isn’t quite normal is that Barnaby…well he kind of floats. He can’t keep his feet on the ground, only a knapsack filled with sand can keep them firmly planted. One day the most terrible thing happens – Barnaby finds himself floating higher and higher into the clouds, drifting far away from home. Ironically this terrible incident leads him on the most wonderful adventure of his young life.
Barnaby travels to many different places and meets many people who are just as special as he is. Barnaby learns many lessons on his travels – my favourite one goes something like this;
“…just because your version of normal isn’t the same as someone else’s version doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.” (92)
He also learns that life has so many wonderful sights and experiences to offer that there’s no point in paying attention to horrible people or rude comments. I find that lesson to be terribly important. Bullying is such a huge problem these days and its roots are found in not accepting people because they are different. Although this book isn’t on sale until January 8th, I highly recommend it as a gift for any youngster in your life. The earlier children are taught how amazing it is to be different, the better chance we have of accepting these differences, as well as ourselves.
Barnaby’s story truly warmed my heart (thanks for sending it over Lindsey :)). The illustrations in this book are wonderful and give it a very Rohald Dahl-like feel. The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is a great book for kids and adults alike – it’s a sweet read with a terrific message AND it’s funny! What a fantastic combo ;).