John Boyne is probably most famous for his book The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket is nothing like The Boy is Striped Pyjamas. The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket is a truly fictional book that has no basis in history, whatsoever.

The Brockets are a normal family, who do normal things. In fact Mr and Mrs Brocket pride themselves on being the most normal family out. That is, until Barnaby Brocket is born. Because Barnaby Brocket is not normal at all.

When Barnaby is born, an unusual thing happens. Barnaby floats up to the ceiling, and no amount of coaxing will bring him back down. And this is the abnormal thing about Barnaby, it doesn’t matter what they do, he floats.

The Brockets live with Barnaby’s deformity for a time, but when he makes a spectacle of himself and makes it into the local news, they can stand his shenanigans no longer.

Mr and Mrs Brocket decide that enough is enough and when Mrs Brocket takes Barnaby for one of his walks, on which he must either wear a lead, like a balloon, or a bag of sand on his back to weight him to the ground, she lets him go. Barnaby floats into the atmosphere and so begins his amazing adventure.

Whilst the thing that happened to Barnaby is considered “terrible” by those around him, Barnaby ultimately decides that the “terrible thing” is actually what makes him, him. He doesn’t want to be normal.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was light relief. I would recommend this book for ages 10 and up.

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