What’s so cool about being NORMAL anyway!?

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

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 ;).

Love Always
Vanessa Xo
Synopsis (from the Random House of Canada Limited website)
A tale of acceptance from the bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Barnaby Brocket is an ordinary eight-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 fear 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. Drifting from Brazil to New York, from 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, while readers of all ages will find themselves questioning what it means to be “normal.”

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